Seen from the roof of the City Building, the F. Bradford Morse Federal Building. ▲ A FEDERAL CASE An early 1800s map of Lowell denotes a “homestead” standing on the patch of land on Kearney Square, between the Eastern canal and the Concord River. The property was later built up with two brick rows of tenement houses used by the workers at the adjacent Massachusetts Cotton Mills. In the early 1900s, the buildings were razed to allow for expansion of the Massachusetts Mills, on the Concord River side. In 1929, the site was purchased for a post office for $120,000. On August 14, 1930, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, sponsored a new federal building for her native city. She urged the acceptance of plans calling for the granite construction, and turned over the first shovelful of earth, breaking ground for the start of construction. On November 11, 1931, Postmaster Xavier A. Delisle raised the flag alongside the new building, during a flag-raising ceremony as hundreds of Armistice Day paraders and spectators stood at attention. On January 25, 1932, a new United States Post Office opened in the building. The building sustained serious basement damage during the floods of 1936. The post office operated there until 1969, when service was discontinued and arrangements were made for the location of a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic, as well as office space for the FBI and the IRS. Congressman Paul Tsongas opened his first district office in the building. In 1993, though, the building was vacated, transferred to the General Services Administration and declared surplus. The GSA appraised the building for $750,000. But for years, the magnificent edifice would remain uninhabited. In September of 1995, the GSA amended its determination of surplus for the Federal Building to provide educational organizations the opportunity to acquire the property pursuant to the “public benefit allowance” program. That same day, Middlesex Community College – with its main City Building located directly across the street - transmitted a letter as an “affirmation of interest” in the acquisition of the Federal Building to the GSA and the United States Department of Education. 74