Prominent New York architect Ernest Flagg (1857-1947) designed the Flagg-Coburn House (1926) at 722 East Merrimack Street for Frederick Coburn, a Lowell-born patron of the arts. The house was built according to Flagg’s principles for inexpensive house construction as illustrated by the symmetry and balance of the design and practicality of room arrangement. This house was Flagg’s first in New England and reflects his concern for low-cost house construction with its then-unique modular method of stone and concrete construction.
Flagg was responsible for designing many residential and commercial buildings in New York, as well as a new campus for the Naval Academy in Annapolis. A celebrated New York architect, Flagg was most famous for his skyscrapers. But Flagg was also an ardent proponent of the well-designed single-family dwelling. His contributions to zoning and height regulations were essential to New York's first laws governing this aspect of the city's architecture.
Designer of New York City’s fabled Singer Building (1908), the 41-story building was the headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Company until 1961. At 612 feet in height, it was the tallest building in the world when completed, a distinction held for only one year when the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building was completed in 1909, also in Manhattan. When it was demolished in 1968, it was the tallest building ever demolished and is presently the fourth-tallest building ever to be destroyed (after the World Trade Center's Twin Towers and 270 Park Avenue in New York City) and the second-tallest to be intentionally demolished by its owner.