The Lowell Area Historical Museum is taking us on a stroll along Main Street and sharing the history of buildings in Lowell’s historic downtown. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
325 West Main Street
Date Built: 1873
Builder/Owner: Robert W. Graham
Robert Graham, an immigrant of England, built this brick house as a duplex for 2 families, Robert Graham’s own family and his in-laws, Joseph and Julia Post.
Robert, his wife Emma and their three children Herbert, Ernest and Myrtice, moved into the west side. Robert’s wife died weeks after moving in. Robert later remarried Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw moved in with her three children. The pair had one child, Frank, together. Robert Graham was a mason, Lowell Public School Superintendent and the first librarian in Lowell. His second wife enjoyed purchasing the books.
Ernest, Robert’s middle son, grew up here. He gained an interest in architecture and went to Chicago and became an apprentice to Burnham and Root. He worked around the clock as assistant to Daniel Burnham during the construction of the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. With Burnham, Graham became the builder of the world’s biggest buildings. Later he formed his own firm Graham, Probst, White and Anderson. His works included the Chicago Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Science and Industry Museum.
The Graham children gave permission for this building to be used for library purposes. The west side of the building housed the Lowell Public Library from 1922-1996, with apartments upstairs. The east side was home to Lowell’s YMCA offices from 1960-2002. In 1954, the village of Lowell purchased the property. In 2001, The Lowell Area Historical Museum opened on the West side and in 2004, on the East side. It remains a City owned building.
The Graham Building then: