Lowell is an industrial city located on the Merrimack River about 30 miles northwest of Boston. It was founded in the early 1800s by textile manufacturers seeking to harness the power of the river. It is considered to be the oldest planned industrial community in the United States and is famous for the role it played in the early part of the Industrial Revolution. Named for industrialist Francis Cabot Lowell, it was incorporated as a town in 1826 and as a city in 1836. Lowell is the birthplace of painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler and author Jack Kerouac.