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Virtual Presentation will Explore Arrival of Irish Immigrants in Lawrence 175 Years Ago

Submitted by on September 15, 2020 – 9:01 pm


man with mustache in front of photo and text posterboard display.

Rich Padova presents on the Irish immigrants, who arrived in Lawrence 175 years ago, on Sept 27.

In 1845, the Irish were the first of a long line of immigrants to settle in the city of Lawrence. Like many who came after them, they were fleeing strife in their home country—in their case the Irish Potato Famine—eager to start a new life.

On Sunday, Sept. 27 at 3 pm, the White Fund Lecture Series, brought in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, will present a free program, via zoom webinar, titled “Building the City of Lawrence: The 175th Anniversary of the Arrival of the First of the Irish Immigrants.”

The presenter, Richard Padova, M.Ed, M.A., teaches at Northern Essex and is also a historical tour interpreter at Lawrence Heritage State Park, where he provides museum tours of the visitors’ center, walking tours of the historic mill district, and narrated boat tours of the Merrimack River.

According to Padova, when they arrived, the Irish found employment in construction and built much of the infrastructure of Lawrence, including the Great Stone Dam and the mills. They also hand-dug the canals that were vital to developing the city of Lawrence into a great textile manufacturing center.

In his presentation, Padova will examine the role of the Irish in the early development of Lawrence and their progression from there.

B&W photo of dilapidated building.

Irish immigrants in Lawrence lived in shanties like this one.

In addition to his teaching and work as an historic interpreter, Padova has written three books: “First In The Nation: One Insider’s View of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary”; “Who Are They? A Look at Vice-Presidential Spouses From Abigail Adams to Karen Pence”; and due out this fall, “Concession Speech: Portraits of America’s Unsuccessful Presidential Candidates”. Padova is also a member of the Alumni Advisory Board at Northern Essex, Andover Center for History and Culture, Lawrence History Center, Friends of Lawrence Heritage State Park, Parish Pastoral Council of St. Augustine’s Church in Andover and the St. Alfio Society in Lawrence.

To register for the presentation, fill out this form or contact Analuz Garcia at

The White Fund’s purpose is to have a free series of interactive presentations for Lawrence area adults, youth, and children. The audience is encouraged to seek wisdom, cultural enrichment, and intellectual enhancement by attending and participating.

Funded by a generous financial gift from the Honorable Daniel Appleton White, the White Fund Lecture Series has provided cultural conversation featuring well-known lecturers in fields such as history, literature, travel, the arts, and politics. The White Fund is collaborating with Northern Essex on this series.

This presentation is also part of the Essex Heritage Area’s Trails and Sails Series.

The views expressed in the White Fund Enlightenment Series presentations are the views of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Northern Essex.

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.