Though the claims that would become the Lowell Mine were located by W.S. Salmon in 1879, no development was done until February 1899 when they were purchased by Frank Hanchett of Lowell, Massachusetts. Hanchett immediately established the Lowell & Arizona Copper Mining and Smelting Company and began work on the new mine. By 1900, there were sixty men employed at the mine. Water was becoming an increasing problem at the 1100 foot level, but after the October 1902 acquisition of the Copper Queen Mining Company a pump station was added. Around this time, neighboring mines including the Junction, Hoatson, and Briggs mines contributed to the growth of a tent camp, which became the town of Lowell.

In 1906, the Copper Queen Company moved forward with development of Lowell. The Company established garbage collection and fire protection systems. By the end of the decade, the town had a railroad depot, a number of businesses, and a stop on the Warren-Bisbee Railway; an electric streetcar line that connected Bisbee to the newer community of Warren, just down the hill.

Lowell continued to hold on as a residential and business area through the 1920s, slowing during the Great Depression as the value of copper declined. By 1950, more than half of Lowell was in the path of new development: the massive Lavender Pit. More than 250 homes and 20 businesses needed to be moved. A new subdivision called Saginaw was established to the east of Lowell, and homes were relocated both there and to open spaces in Bakerville (between Lowell and Warren). By 1957, few were left living in Lowell.

Today, the massive Lavender Pit (which operated until 1974) has swallowed most all of Lowell, which has been annexed by the City of Bisbee. A small block of Lowell's business district remains, which is in the process of being restored by the volunteer-led Lowell Americana Project. The project aims to recreate Erie Street as it may have appeared in the 1950's, including vintage automobiles parked along the street, making old Lowell a popular spot for photographers.

See Also