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LOWELL THEN AND NOW
 
FRAME 1 
PARADISE DINER 112 Bridge Street
The land on which this diner sits once sloped down to the Eastern Canal.  In 1926, the south wall of the canal was raised, creating a level plot of land.  The Paradise Diner was constructed here by 1936, taking advatange of the site's frontage on busy Bridge Street.  The diner was one of many that could be found in Lowell in the early 20th century.  Usually open 24 hours, diners were often located adjacent to the mills to serve the workers whose shifts ran around the clock

     By 1939, a stone-faced, concrete-block kitchen had been added to the Paradise Diner.  The diner displayed several features common to most diners - Old English car lettering, coach lamp light fixtures, and a neon sign.

     By the late 1980s, the diner was rapidly deteriorating.  The paint that covered the original sheet metal paneling was badly peeling.  Around the diner, rehabilitation work, such as that at the Boott Mills and the Massachusetts Mills, was taking place.

     In 1990, the exterior of the diner was rehabilitated.  The trim, paneling, doors, and windows were repaired and repainted.  New roof signs were added, and the car body was relettered in a type style similar to the original.

FRAME 2 
HOWE BUILDING 11 Kearney Square
The site of the Howe Building was once occupied by small wooden structures and was part of a residential zone that existed between the city's business district and the mills.  By the 1890s, development pressures led to the commercialization and industrialization of this zone.  John and Henry Howe erected the Howe building on the site in 1894.

     The curved corner of this red brick building was a common feature on Merrimack Street's non-square corners.  The building's terra cotta panels and granite banding continue around the corner, creating a flow that links one street facade to the next.

     In the mid-twentieth century, metal panels were added to the facade of the building in an attempt to modernize it.  While the wooden storefronts were removed at this time, most of the masonry was retained.  During the building's rehabilitation in 1981, the metal paneling was removed and a return was made to wooden storefronts.

FRAME 3 
COLONIAL BUILDING 24 - 28 Merrimack Street
The first structure to occupy this site at the corner of Merrimack and Central Streets was the Third Universalist Church, constructed in 1843.  The first floor of this Greek Revival structure that faced onto Merrimack Street was occupied by stores.  By 1865, the church had been expanded and converted into Barristers' Hall, a four story office building for lawyers. The building was destroyed by fire in 1905.

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