Saturday, May 11, 2013

What's in a Name? The story of Connaught Lane

Now that Walter can be called what was referred to as in the 19th century as a "gentleman" (aka retired),  he has been able to do a little digging and who knows what he will uncover.  Here is a recent find that adds another piece to the puzzle of what we call the Acre

Everyone 'knows' that the nineteenth century Irish identified with their county of origin, if not also with the province in which that county was located.  This also carried over to Lowell in the early nineteenth century as shown in the 1849 riot wherein the men and women from southern Ireland, the “Corkonians” fought a vigorous battle with the “Far Downers” of Connaught.  This was occasioned by some old country rivalries which carried over to Lowell.  However, the story of that riot is for another occasion.  Today is a far different, 'fun' discovery.  

O'Dwyer in the Irish Catholic Genesis of Lowell (1920) states that there are two plans in the Registry of Deeds dated 1832 and 1838 showing two intersecting streets in the “Acre” named Cork and Dublin streets.  Later these would become Marion and Lagrange streets only to have the original names restored several years ago.  This section of the Acre was largely settled by people from those counties. 

Across the Western canal. In the area bounded by Lewis, Dutton and Lowell (today Market Street) streets, were people from some of the counties in Connaught, and Ulster provinces, the “Far-Downers”

No streets were named to mark their presence unless one counts Commiskey's Alley between Merrimack and Lowell (now Market) streets, but that is named for an individual, not a place.
Recently, however, in the course of researching something completely unrelated I came across this little 'gem' from The American Citizen, 09/25/1854.

This is the first (and only) such place name found other than Cork & Dublin streets.  It is also the only reference I have been able to find.  Connaught Lane was located at the first “E” in Street between the buildings of Barrett and Little.  Today it is the parking lot of the Olympia Restaurant, abutting the wall of the Green School property..

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