Lois Lilley Howe (1864-1964), architect
Howe's Addition to the Hooper-Eliot House
Photograph by Sarah Burks.
Lois Lilley Howe, the first woman elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, had many productive years as an architect, 1889-1963, designing original homes and remodeling others. The Hooper-Eliot House was first designed by Sturgis & Brigham. John Sturgis was an early proponent of the Colonial Revival style, like Howe. The house was designed with a gambrel roof and center-entrance facade. The style combines Georgian revival elements, Stick style and other current styles.
Howe remodeled the entrance in 1902 in an academic Georgian style. Her addition relocated the entrance from a northern carriage drive to a south facing entrance with a broken scroll pediment.
Howe began studying to be an architect when she entered MITs two-year course in Partial Architecture in 1888. When she graduated, she worked as a draftsman with a local Boston firm. In 1891, Howe entered the nationwide design contest for the Womans Building at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. She came in second place behind her classmate Sophia Hayden and received $500. She earned her first commission to build a house in 1894 and six years later established one of the longest-lasting and most prolific womens architectural firms with Eleanor Manning (1884-1973), another MIT graduate. Thirteen years later Mary Almy (1883-1967), also of MIT, joined the firm. At a time when women architects were consistently limited to residential design, the firm of Howe & Manning distinguished itself by championing the problems of urban housing. Manning designed the first public, low-income housing in Boston, and Howe focused on small, affordable houses in the suburbs. Howe received at least 33 commissions in Cambridge alone, and several there and in other Boston-area suburbs are listed in the National Register. Howe contributed to the advance of architectural technology, writing an article about her innovative use of plaster in Architectural Review and Architectural Record in 1907. Howe, Manning & Almy became known for using the Colonial Revival for both building and renovating. Howe published Details of Old New England and Houses with Constance Fuller in 1913. The firm was dissolved 1937, but Howe continued to work with Mannings private firm and lived to twelve days short of her 100th birthday.
The Hooper-Eliot House is located at 25-27 Reservoir St. in Cambridge, MA. To see other Lois Lilley Howe properties click here.
The Lois Lilley Howe House is located at 6 Appleton St. in Cambridge, MA. The property is not open to the public.
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