Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Old Fitchburg High (The Annex)

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

One of the first incarnations of Fitchburg High School is a building on Academy Street, now known to most resident as "The Annex." This building was designed by H.M. Francis in 1869 and was designed in the Second Empire style.
The Second Empire style is notable for using a Mansard roof, a hipped roof with steep slopes all around and usually with livable space included. For the Annex, the third floor space included a library and open assembly hall.
I was able to find a printed version of the Annual Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education from 1873 through GoogleBooks which discusses the building.

Fig. 1: Drawing of Academy Street High School with layout of first floor

The description of the building reads:
"This building has a frontage of eighty-eight feet, the central projection being forty-two feet by six feet, extreme distance from front to rear line eighty-one feet, the two side-wings being thirty-five feet wide and projecting seventeen feet from main line of building, and covering an area of 5,492 square feet...The first story is at present occupied by schools of intermediate grade, and the second by the High School. The total cost was not far from $60,000."

Fig. 2: Layout of second and third floor
Fig. 3: Contemporary photo of the Annex Building (courtesy of

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