Sunday, October 14, 2012

Leo's Boxing Gym

In a small article in the Lowell Sun dated October 16, 1930 there was mention of Leo Kerouac's interest in opening an athletic facility in the Massachusetts Mills complex with his storefront facing Bridge Street. He wanted to "host facilities for basketball, football training, baseball training and gymnastics."

His planned gym would have been installed here (where there was also a bowling league):

Note in the foreground, Sullivan Brothers Printing. This became Leo Kerouac's competition, and ultimately his and his daughter Caroline's employer after he sold his business in 1937. Ultimately, Sullivan Brothers fired Leo when he was unable to persuade his son to choose Boston College over Columbia University (though during my interviews for my Kerouac bio, a son still working there claimed it wasn't true and that Leo was a "hell of a good worker, the best there was."

Prior to his planned athletic facility, Leo owned and operated a very small boxing gym at 759 Lakeview Avenue, now the home of Eastern Bank. My great uncle, Ralph Larrivee used to work in this gym sweeping the floor and stuff like that when he was just a boy in the 1920s.

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