In 1935, Lawrence was home to 86,817 people, 33% of whom had been born outside the US. Thousands of families from around the world arrived in the city as famous for its diverse population as for its woolen mills.
Work in early 20th century Lawrence was long, hard, and often dangerous. But Lawrence families got by on paychecks from the city’s massive textile mills and other businesses. The sweeping job loss that accompanied the Great Depression hit Lawrence hard. The city’s population dropped as Lawrencians looked elsewhere for work. Nearly 23% of its remaining workforce was unemployed by 1934. Still, life went on.