Washington Square Historic District

Located in Belvidere, the Washington Square Historic District was Lowell's earliest fashionable neighborhood. It was one of the city's first subdivisions and was home to many prominent early citizens. The focal point of the district was one of Lowell's earliest public parks, Washington Square, today known as Kittredge Park and the neighborhood was where the Italianate style of architecture first appeared in Lowell.  The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, with a boundary increase in 1999, and includes 71 structures.  In 2005, the Washington Square Neighborhood District was created, utilizing the same National Register boundaries, requiring review by the Lowell Historic Board of demolition, partial demolition, and new construction projects.
In 1831, prominent residents John and Thomas Nesmith purchased the 150 acre estate of Judge Edward Livermore in Tewksbury and hired Boston's Alexander Wadsworth to layout streets, house lots, and a small park known as Washington Square.  Wadsworth's plan for Washington Square was very formal with a double row of trees surrounding the park and residents were required to plant shade trees at 20 foot intervals along the streets.  The main street through the neighborhood was named Nesmith Street after the brothers and with its 60 foot width and ten foot wide sidewalks became Lowell's first boulevard.

By 1834 the area had been annexed to Lowell from Tewksbury with most of the district's residences erected in the 1840s and 1850s.  By 1865, the area was largely developed with the location high above the city and its picturesque views being a highly desirable address.  Remaining empty lots continued to be developed well into the 1870s and 1880s.  While the neighborhood includes several early Greek Revival residences, the majority of homes were built in the Italianate style, marking the first appearance of the style in Lowell.  In addition, homes in the Second Empire, Stick, and Queen Anne styles can also be found.

Early residents of Washington Square were among Lowell's most prominent citizens and included prosperous merchants, industrialists, and businessmen.  Many of its residents were also actively involved as directors or trustees of the city's financial and business institutions, were superintendents or agents of local mills, and also served in city government.