#9 - 153 East Haverhill St., Lawrence, 1896

House mixes colonial design, Victorian-era extravagance

At the end of the 19th century, Prospect Hill in Lawrence became the place for successful citizens to build their mansions, especially at the top of the hill on East Haverhill Street. The handsome houses already there were soon eclipsed by the size and elaborate detail of the new estates.

The house pictured here was built in 1896 for Hugo Bell, a jeweler. Note the Palladian window on the front: the center window with its half circle above is flanked by narrower windows on the side. The Palladian window was named after Palladio, an Italian Renaissance architect in Venice and Vicenza. His fame spread when he published four books of his designs and studies of ancient Roman ruins; English architecture was greatly influenced by these books, and our many English immigrants brought his ideas here to the colonies.

This house might be called both Colonial Revival and Neo-Classical. While it reuses the symmetry and classic details of Colonial buildings - a reaction to the fanciful Victorian forms - it layers that familiar balanced Colonial box with trim that is still very Victorian in its extravagance and imitation of European form. And the capitals (tops) and mouldings are not reminiscent of our Colonial days, but are instead direct copies of Roman classical architecture, Neo-Classical detailing made fashionable by the Columbian Exposititon in Chicago in 1893. In addition, there are porches upon porches as well as large windows, and the the house is set a half story above ground to allow for a real basement with a furnace, coal storage, plumbing and laundry rooms - all of which would have been unnecessary to the colonist of 1700.

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