Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2017 Preservation Award Winners
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Photo of The Apartments at 165 Winter Street (Winter Street School), Haverhill

Apartments at 165 Winter Street (Winter Street School), Haverhill

Adaptive Reuse & Rehabilitation & Restoration

The Apartments at 165 Winter Street, originally the Winter Street School, are located in what was a large industrial district on the northern edge of downtown Haverhill. Built in 1856, the red-brick school was designed originally in the Italianate style, with characteristic details such as its deep eaves enriched with bold, carved-stone brackets. The Second Empire style of the school’s enlargement in 1873 is expressed in its mansard roof, with carved-wood rope molding and floral ornament details, and bold pediments at the dormers, which are trimmed with scrolled consoles. Paired bays with round arches at the second story of the Winter Street façade, and flat arches on the secondary elevations and at the first story of the Winter Street façade, add to the school’s architectural detailing.

The Winter Street School reflects Haverhill’s rapid population expansion in the mid 19th century with the success and growth of its shoe industry and the arrival of immigrant workers for the factories. Originally a two-story building, the school became inadequate by the early 1870s, and in the 1873 expansion, a third floor with mansard was added, and the large second-floor meeting room was subdivided into two classrooms. The school could now accommodate thirteen classrooms, more than doubling its original six-classroom layout. By 1915, the school had almost 500 pupils, one of the most notable being Greek-born Euterpe Boutris, who would become the mother of Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. The Winter Street School continued to operate until the mid 1970s; it was then leased for more than 30 years to an organization that provided work opportunities to people with developmental disabilities. After several years of vacancy, the City of Haverhill sold the property in 2012 to POUA (Planning Office for Urban Affairs), which has converted the building to affordable housing.

Completed in 2015, the rehabilitation, which used state and federal tax credits, resulted in the creation of twelve affordable apartments, transforming each classroom into a separate living unit. Extensive interior fabric and details were preserved, including wood floors and wainscoting, door and window surrounds, a section of blackboard in each apartment, pressed-metal ceilings in the corridors and stairs, and the existing railings, balustrades, and stairs. On the exterior, new windows with molding profiles based on the originals replaced inappropriate windows installed in the 1980s; brownstone hoodmolds were repaired and where necessary were replaced with cast stone; the rope molding, carved foliated ornament, and scrolls on the dormers were recreated to match the originals.

As a key building in the revitalization of Haverhill’s Lower Acre neighbor-hood, the successful rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the former Winter Street School into affordable housing contributes significantly to the revitalization of the neighborhood and provides a model for future efforts. Having served the community over the past 160 years, the restored historic building will now contribute into the future in its new role.

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