Inside Stories

Christian Hill Deserves Neighborhood Status

In the current InsideLowell poll, seven neighborhoods were listed.  The Acre, Belvidere, Centralville, Downtown, Highlands, Pawtucketville and South Lowell.

As someone who “identifies” as a Christian Hill person, I find this a huge oversight and an insult. But not just to me and my Christian Hill heritage but also to a few other neighborhoods that should make the cut. To cull the city to just these seven neighborhoods is to deny denizens of Back Central, Lower Belvidere, the Lower Highlands, Sacred Heart and Christian Hill their rightful place as a “neighborhood”

I’m sure for the poll, Teddy had to cut a few out.  He did grow up in Dracut and comes from a town that claims to have a Navy Yard by a minor brook. But this poll brings up and ongoing oversight by the most and by the city. The omission of Christian Hill as its own neighborhood. Christian Hill is a distinct neighborhood in the city.

What is a neighborhood? Simply defined, it is a district, especially one forming and community within a town or city.  I prefer the more expansive National Geographic definition

“A neighborhood is an area where people live and interact with one another. Neighborhoods tend to have their own identity, or “feel” based on the people who live there and the places nearby. Residents may have similar types of families, incomes, and education level. Neighborhoods can include restaurants, bookstores, and parks. Neighborhoods often have fuzzy geographical boundaries, so sometimes it’s difficult to tell where one starts and another ends. Major streets often act as logical boundaries, but people usually define a neighborhood by its characteristics.”

If that doesn’t DEFINE Christian Hill, then I don’t know what does.

All you have to do is drive down Bridge Street. The two areas couldn’t be more distinct.  Bridge Street is that separator.  People clearly and strongly identify as being from Christian Hill  If you grew up on the Hill you have some strong distinct characteristics, one of them being insisting Christian Hill is its own neighborhood, and the other being that people that can’t live on the Hill move to Belvidere to so they can look at the Hill.  By the way, how much fun could we have describing each neighborhoods identifying traits?  Hello Belvie…

If you grew up on the Hill, you went to St Mikes.  If you were Centralville you went to St. Louis.  If you wanted air conditioned short masses in the summer, you went to the old St. Francis.

Christian Hill is very much meets the definition of a “neighborhood”.  It is not “part” of Centralville. It has a much different “feel” to it than Centralville, with fewer multi-unit houses, larger yards, well maintained homes, generally a working class/middle class family type neighborhood.

I’m only advocating for “Neighborhood Status” here.   I won’t get into why it’s truly the best neighborhood in the city.   Although if we are being honest, no neighborhood has better vistas than Christian Hill.  It has the highest point in the city atop the Old Reservoir.  It has the best views of the city from the “New” Reservoir and you can even see Boston on a clear day. And really, best folk come from the Hill…but I digress.

Look at the map of Lowell Neighborhoods from the city’s web page.  I think they are a decent source, no?

You have Belvie and Lower Belvie.  I won’t argue with that.  You have South Lowell and Sacred Heart.  Lower and Upper Highlands and Acre.  Oh and Dracut,  I mean Pawtucketville.  But you have C-ville as one big neighborhood with some kind of label there on the Hill.  It’s like they know, but they don’t want to admit it.

Check this article out

It describes the development of Lowell’s neighborhood.  It pretty clearly makes a case that Christian Hill should be its own neighborhood.  It was annexed separately, had and has separate characteristics from Centreville and has its own history.

Centralville by the way is a pretty great neighborhood.  Its’ pretty tight around the bridge street area and kind of poor, sure.  But it’s been a great place for new arrivals to live and all that stuff I’m supposed to say.  There’s a more residential feel as you get down near Beaver Brook and closer to Dracut with some great homes with yards as well.  If you look at Centralville though, you can see that lumping Christian Hill in doesn’t do it justice.  Centralville people probably don’t think of Christian Hill as part of their neighborhood either.  Although I don’t ask them…I don’t want to bother them while they are looking up at the beauty.

The article mentioned above by the way could be the basis for Ayers City being its own neighborhood if anyone actually cares about Ayers City or knows where it is.

In conclusion, It think what this map clearly illustrates is something that Christian Hill Families have known for years.  The rest of the city refuses to acknowledge our individuality.  I think it’s time for that to end. Redraw this map and give us our rightful spot as our own Neighborhood!!

Oh and I think we can clearly show, Teddy’s poll was crap!

13 responses to “Christian Hill Deserves Neighborhood Status”

  1. Dan from The Hill says:

    The Hill = Varnum School and Lower C-Ville the Greenhalge for K-4. Then we would become one at the H. J. Robinson for 5-8

  2. DA CALI LLAMA says:

    If Christian Hill is a neighborhood then I declare the South Lowell “Shaughnessy” area as a neighborhood as well. We shall name it “Llamatoria” with Jeff Thomas as it’s mayor (He’s already Mayor of Bowden St. anyways. 😂)

  3. Corey Robinson says:

    I definitely consider Christian Hill as part of the Centralville neighborhood.

  4. Bach says:

    You kinda have to Corey…I think you could handle two neighborhoods. It is distinct.

  5. Leebo says:

    Nice answer Corey. I would of never expected that answer. Lmao

  6. Gilly Mo Pena says:

    Ah, the Hill. Lived at (top of – have to put that in) 3rd St., Beacon St, Methuen St and finally East (not West) 6th St. Not sure if my father’s bench warrants had anything to do with that! Side note – I wonder if I would be considered homeless according to the LPS guidelines now? Gage Park, much > McPherson (the Mayflower, really? St. Michaels Little League, really?) Gage is where I learned how to play baseball and drink, sometimes at the same time. Nice job Batch, but how could you leave out Swede Village?

  7. Marty Lorrey says:

    Time has eliminated many neighborhoods in the city, Wigginville, the Flats, the Grove, Oaklands, Swede Village, Chapel Hill, Tyler Park District etc. Your right Batch the feeling many had growing up with in the city within a specific area has ben lost by many.

  8. Scott Masterson says:

    Great article Bach. Completely agree. You can’t walk anywhere on the hill without seeing somebody you grew up with. People who grew up on the hill stay on the hill. The definition of a great neighborhood.

  9. Bach says:

    Maybe a resident or two could petition the council for the designation. I heard petitions are all the rage at the meetings now..

    • Kjersten Reich says:

      Meh. I don’t think anyone would argue against your point that there are distinct sectors of the Centralville neighborhood. But at a time when Centralville is beginning to spread our wings again, it seems a waste of energy to further subdivide our neighborhood. I’d rather work together to advocate for resources to improve the quality of life on both sides of Bridge Street.

  10. Tim Sheahan says:

    Great article. Slight oversite not mentioning the different accents/dialects between the separate neighborhoods.

  11. […] was born and raised in Centralville (or perhaps more accurately, the foot of Christian Hill – it’s open to debate). I’ve lived in Downtown, the Highlands, and currently Belvidere with my wife and two sons. […]

  12. Kristina says:

    Newly homeowners of Christian Hill here…and fresh to Lowell. Boston people here. When we moved here I was like whats a Dracut? And omg there are deer in our front yard! But then two seconds later a lowrider goes by. I like to say its balance at its finest. We have so many great things to say about christian hill so far. Might I add that the speed people drive up the hill always baffles me. I get it they wanna make it up the hill..Its a great place to be.. I kind of want to build a speed bump at the top just to see how much air they can get.:)

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