The Merrimack Valley is a region along the Merrimack River in the state of Massachusetts.
The Merrimack is one of the larger waterways in New England and has helped to define the livelihood and culture of those living along it for millennia. The Valley was a major center of the textile industry in the 19th century.
The original settlers of the Merrimack Valley were various tribes of the Pennacook Indians. The river provided an easy means of transportation, an exceptional source of salmon as well as other fish, and the land along the river banks was suitable for hunting and sometimes farming.
While the Merrimack had been used for small manufacturing concerns for decades, in the early 1820s, a group of investors from Boston founded the city of Lowell, to take advantage of the 32-foot drop of the Merrimack over the Pawtucket Falls. Lowell, the first large-scale planned textile center in America, remained the nation’s largest into the 1850s.