Floor by Floor: Hood
Continuing construction at Thorndike Exchange, we are sharing some more of our design elements that honor Lowell-born celebrities while bringing a notable charm to our luxury residences.
Each floor in thiswork, live, play development will be named for a famous person who also called Lowell home. We have already highlighted Jack Kerouac and we are now focusing on Charles Ira Hood, a national leader in medicine production in nineteenth century America.
Establishing C.I. Hood & Co., Charles Ira Hood first created an extensive variety of medicines in a small apothecary store. The mainstay of the company for over half a century was Hood’s Sarsaparilla. As he gained popularity, he outgrew his space and in 1882 built the five-story Hood’s Laboratories, right here in Lowell, eventually expanding to a total of 175,000 square feet. In fact, what is now, Thorndike Exchange, used to be the largest building in the world dedicated to the manufacture and sale of patent medicine.
A leader in the development of color lithography as an advertising tool, C.I. Hood & Company produced all of their advertising in-house and owned twenty presses. This allowed them to produce an abundance of colorful trade cards, posters, calendars, cookbooks and pamphlets all promoting the medicinal benefits of the company’s products. In 1879, seventy million pieces were printed and delivered from Thorndike Exchange, making C.I. Hood the largest single user of the U.S. Mail in Lowell.
Later in life, he added tooth powder, vegetable pills, soaps and lotions to this successful product line. And following his death in 1922 the company was sold by his late wife, but his legend lives on as does the building where it all begin—and continues to serve as a location for people to purse their passions and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.