Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts on the Merrimack River. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 72,043. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. It and Salem are the county seats of Essex County.GR6 Lawrence is also part of the Merrimack Valley.
Manufacturing products of the city include electronic equipment, textiles, footwear, paper products, computers, and foodstuffs. Lawrence was, for a while, the residence of Robert Frost, where he published his first poem.
Europeans first settled the area in 1640. The site of the city -- formerly parts of Andover and Methuen -- was purchased in 1845 by a group of Boston industrialists headed by the wealthy merchant and congressman Abbott Lawrence, the community's namesake. The city was incorporated in 1853.
The industrialists, most prominently Lawrence, established textile mills near sources of abundant waterpower. Working conditions in these mills were unsafe and in 1860 a factory collapsed, killing 88 workers. In 1912 the so-called Bread and Roses strike or the Lawrence textile strike, one of greatest labor actions in American history, began when mill owners increased the speed of factory looms, and subsequently lowered wages for thousands of women and child workers. The Massachusetts National Guard, private and city police countered 23,000 strikers for two months, resulting in numerous deaths and mass arrests. When police and militia assaulted a group of women and children, public outcry forced mill owners to capitulate. The striking workers won wage increases for themselves and thousands of workers in New England mills. One of the major companies involved was American Woolen Company
Lawrence was a great wool-processing center until that industry declined in the 1950s. The decline of industry in Lawrence and throughout the Northeast left Lawrence a struggling city. However, a sharp reduction in violent crime starting in 2004 and massive private investment in former mill buildings along the Merrimack River -- to be converted into commercial, residential and education uses -- have lent encouragement to boosters of the city. One of the final remaining mills in the city is Malden Mills.
The City of Lawrence has a public school system managed by Lawrence Public Schools.