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the north side of the river from Beaver Brook to the present entrance of Pawtucket Boulevard.  Portions of the original boundary ditch still exist.

     The settlement that developed on the north side of the river was first called Pawtucket Village.  The name Pawtucketville can be traced to the construction of the Merrimack-Middlesex Bridge at Pawtucket Falls in 1792, the first bridge that spanned the Merrimack River.  On the north side of the bridge, a small village began to develop.  This community was originally known as the Village at Pawtucket Falls or Pawtucket Village, and by the time of annexation in 1874, as Pawtucketville.

     The early communities of Chelmsford and Dracut were separated by the Merrimack River.  This geographical isolation required a great deal of self-sufficiency from those early English settlers on the north side of the river.  The significance of the Merrimack as an obstacle to settlement is clearly illustrated by the fact that Chelmsford was incorporated in 1655 and Dracut not until 1701.  This is one reason why Pawtucketville can claim so many firsts and oldests: Lowell's oldest schoolhouse, Coburn Schoolhouse, built in 1755; Webb-Durkee House, circa 1656; Varnum Garrison House, 1676; Edward Colburn Garrison House, 1676; Thomas Varnum House, 1745; Lowell's earliest burial ground, Clay Pit Cemetery; Lowell's first minister, Rev. Thomas Parker; and Lowell's earliest established church, Pawtucket Congregational, 1797.  During the Colonial period, the only method of crossing the river was by ferry.  Old Ferry Road, which once connected to the toll road and north into the interior of New Hampshire, still exists in Pawtucketville.

The Bridge Brings Change
The newly constructed Middlesex-Merrimack Bridge opened to traffic as a toll bridge on November 26,1792.  The Bridge Corporation was headed by prominent Pawtucketville citizens Squire Parker Varnum, Colonel James Varnum and Louis Ansart.  In conjunction with the building of the bridge, the Corporation also constructed Mammoth Road to Concord, New Hampshire, and beyond.  The result of the new bridge and road was a dramatic shift in the community.  The ferry was discontinued and West Pawtucketville fell into a rural isolation that lasted well into the 1950s.

     The Proprietors of Locks and Canal built its massive brick mills and absorbed the ancient community of East Chelmsford.  The citizens of Pawtucketville likely considered the establishment of Lowell as an economic opportunity, yet a negative impact was evident.  The construction of the Pawtucket Dam in 1822 resulted in the destruction of the ancient spawning cycle of 

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