#97 1088 West Lowell St., Haverhill

A friend, describing the way houses changed from colonial days to the Victorian era, explained that they grew higher and higher, in feeling as well as reality. Drive up West Lowell Street in Haverhill to Scotland Hill and see.

This Italianate farm house sits on a knoll looking down the road. We, passing by, look up at it. Then its detailing makes it feel even higher. A curve at the top of the gable window, draws the eye up to the peak of the roof. Or see how the slender shape of the bay window, made by its four narrow windows is continued in the two long double windows just above it. From there one's eye goes to the skinny paired brackets and dentils in the eaves, and again to the roof.

Note how the brackets are bunched at the eaves' returns to act as mock Corinthian capitals to the slender pilasters on the corners of the house - a wonderful detail that reinforces the height of the house.

To the north, across W. Lowell Street, is a Georgian brick-end farm house probably built about 1800. Although it too is at the top of Scotland Hill, it sits solidly surrounded by its fields, a nice contrast to this house, built about 50 years later, so decidedly sited above its land.

Not much is recorded about this house. A local historian told me of the Polish and Armenian families who farmed here at the turn of the century. The 1851 Haverhill map lists "Dr. Merrill" next to the dot marking this house. Other houses on W. Lowell Street are associated with Ayre's Village, so perhaps this house is too.

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