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Eastern Bank to host 150-year-old bell outside downtown Lowell office

Bank teams with Lowell Heritage Partnership on bell memorial project  

LOWELL, Oct. 6, 2009 – A historic, 19th century bell is getting a new home and a prominent location on land outside the Eastern Bank office in downtown Lowell, the bank announced today.

The bell was restored by the Lowell Heritage Partnership (LHP), which sought permission to display it at outside the bank’s office at the corner of Central and Prescott streets in Lowell. The 500-square-foot, triangular-shaped lot at 50 Central St. will be transformed into a memorial dedicated to the city’s millworkers.  A dedication ceremony is planned for later this year.

“Eastern Bank has a long history of teaming up with community organizations on a variety of initiatives, so working with an organization such as the LHP on a local historical preservation project is a natural fit for the bank,” said bank President Robert Rivers.  “Since the Lowell National Historical Park was created in 1978, the city has done an exceptional job preserving its history.  This is our modest contribution to that effort.”

The bell, believed to be made around 1859 by the Naylor Vickers Company of Sheffield, England, may have been used in a clock tower, church, mill building, fire station or police barracks. Lowell, known as the “Bell City” during much of the 19th century, used bells to toll the hours of the day; sing songs of worship; alert fire crews of fires; and summon millworkers.

“Bells from the 19th century played a vital role in Lowell’s rich history,” said Dick Lockhart, president, LHP. “It’s important to preserve and display them, so that people gain a better understanding of what life was like in the city many years ago.”

The bell memorial will be completed later this year with help from the Rotary Club of Lowell, the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation and others, added Lockhart.

“I want to thank Eastern Bank for its generosity,” said Joanne Souza, of the Rotary Club of Lowell. “This is another great example of how public and private organizations can work together on projects that benefit the entire community.”

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest independent and mutually owned bank in New England, with almost $7.0 billion in assets and more than 80 branches serving communities from the Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod.  Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way.  Eastern Bank includes Eastern Wealth Management, Eastern Insurance and Fantini & Gorga, a real estate advisory firm.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank, 781-598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens.