Many homes built in Lowell during the 1880s and 1890s were constructed in the Queen Anne style which was the dominant residential style in the United States during the last quarter of the 19th century. The style takes its name from an 18th century English queen and was initially inspired by medieval country cottages.
These homes generally have an asymmetrical, rambling plan and irregular rooflines. Gables, massive chimneys, dormers, and bay windows are all common features of the Queen Anne style.
John Howe House (1887), 85 Fairmount Street
Edward Wood House (ca. 1878), 43 Wannalancit Street
Pickering/Dempsey House (1890-91), 781 Andover Street
Hildreth Building (1884), 45 Merrimack Street
"K" Building (1886), Middle Street
Queen Anne homes are also highly decorative. This effect was often achieved by combining building materials, colors, and textures. The combination of masonry, shingles, clapboards, and panels of wood ornament can all occur on one building. Extensive use of machine turned and sawn ornament to accent dormer windows or detail porches also helped create a decorative effect.
Queen Anne residences can be found throughout Lowell in places such as the Andover Street, Belvidere Hill, Rogers Fort Hill Park, South Common, Wannalancit Street, and Wilder Street Historic Districts.
Queen Anne commercial buildings are easy to identify because, like residential buildings in this style, they also exhibit changes in materials, color, and texture on their facades. These buildings may also have irregular rooflines with cornices ornamented with brick detailing. Highly textured exterior surfaces were created through the use of raised and recessed panels of brick. Windows can also be a decorative element with the top halves of double-hung sash frequently being divided into smaller, decorative panes. Several examples can be found along streets throughout downtown.