When one thinks of the Merrimack Valley, shoe shops readily come to mind. For that reason, it was a hotbed for Armenian immigrants following World War I and the genocide. Many of these refugees came to the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts—settling in the cities of Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell—to eke out a better life for themselves and their families. Aside from sweatshop labor, they sought work as barbers, business owners, or handymen, going to night school to improve their English while keeping their rich heritage and culture in their churches and community centers. Despite the discrimination they faced with their “strange” names and lifestyles, the Armenians remained tenacious and resilient, contributing to the overall welfare of their new promised land.
Images of America: Armenians of the Merrimack Valley, E. Philip Brown and Tom Vartabedian (softcover)