CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

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WITHIN THESE WALLS:
 
continued revision of designs and attempts to locate contractors to perform the work within the budget.  After several rounds of contractor bidding and a number of alterations to the designs to reduce constructions costs, the cornerstones of the two buildings were laid at a grand ceremony on October 11, 1890.  Three years later, the two buildings were open for use.

City Hall and the City Library

Yonder Memorial Building is not a soulless pile of granite; it is a monument to loyalty and valor; the library is a votive offering to education; the city hall is a temple of civil liberty.  Such influences as these should inspire a loftier standard of citizenship, making us realize that public affairs are a part of our daily life, not to be neglected or put aside, and that there are no more pressing duties or higher responsibilities or nobler privileges than the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of American citizen.

(Hon. Charles D. Palmer, City Hall Dedication 
Address, October 14, 1893.)

These monumental structures represented the highest hopes for municipal government and a new, independent and powerful identity for the citizens of Lowell.  City Hall's 360 foot clock tower was visible from all parts of the City.  Oak and marble interiors spoke of the importance of municipal activities, and the layout of offices and meeting rooms emphasized a new efficiency and cooperation among municipal agencies.  The stacks in the Library were of the most modern design, intending to hold a collection of over 20,000 volumes which would advance the intellectual and cultural awareness of a sophisticated urban population.  After fourteen years of planning, City Hall and the City Library stood as a crowning achievement of a city taking its place as a major urban center, separate from Boston and independent from the industrialists who had directed Lowell's past.

     As Lowell's government has changed, so has City Hall. When it was constructed, grand chambers for the Common Council and Board of Alderman were the focus of the building.  The Mayor's office and reception room were also furnished and decorated in a grand style, denoting the importance of these officials to the operations of the City.  In 1911, in response to rising taxes and political scandals, Lowell's residents voted to change the City Charter to create a governing body much like a corporation's board of directors.  Mayor and a four member commission, all elected at large, directed the workings of the government, with each commission being responsible for a separate department.  Thirteen years later, the City moved to a strong mayoral form of government and in, 1942, amid economic depression and political scandal, the City once again voted to alter its charter, this time to the Plan E form of 

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