Franklin Street-College Avenue Residential Historic District
The Franklin Street-College Avenue Residential Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
The Franklin Street-College Avenue Residential Historic District encompasses several blocks of intact historic houses along Johnson Street, Franklin Street, Howell Street, and College Avenue in the eastern section of Hartwell adjacent to the town center. The west end of the district is part of the original gridiron plan and the bend in Franklin Street reflects the extension of that plan. The houses within the district include one- and two-story frame dwellings and one-story brick residences. All are single-family, detached houses dating from the late 19th century through the 1930s. They range in size from large, rambling, turn-of-the-century two-story houses to modest Victorian cottages and small brick dwellings from the 1920s and 1930s.
Historic styles represented include the Victorian Eclectic, from ornate to plain, the Bungalow/Craftsman, and very simple versions of the English Cottage. The largest Victorian Eclectic dwellings are concentrated on Franklin Street. These residences are asymmetrically planned, frame structures with balconies, large front porches trimmed with turned posts and spindlework, and gable ends detailed with decorative shingles and scrollwork. One interesting house on Franklin combines elements of several styles, including a dormer reminiscent of Georgian Revival, Queen Anne-inspired gingerbread elements on the front porch, and Craftsman-influenced bracketed eaves. There are a number of more modest Victorian dwellings dispersed throughout the district. These range from L-shaped one-story cottages with considerable porch and gable-end trim to very simple gabled-roofed, two-room-with-central-hall houses with almost no exterior detailing. The Bungalow/Craftsman dwellings in the district are concentrated on Howell and Franklin. Several of the most elaborate have classic Craftsman features, including shallow-sloping gable roofs with exposed rafter ends, prominent front dormers, and prominent front porches with oversized columns set on brick bases. Several small brick houses on Franklin Street with arched openings, prominent front chimneys and multi-gabled roofs reflect an English Cottage-style influence. At the corner of Howell and Richardson is a modest brick, WPA-funded residential style building built during the late 1930s as a community clubhouse.
Most of the houses, especially the larger ones on Franklin Street, are sited in the middle of their rectangular-shaped lots and are set back from the road at more or less the same distance. The lots are landscaped informally with trees, shrubs, a few hedges, and lawns. The front yards with sidewalks and street trees tend to blend together to form one continuous streetscape. The large oaks serving as street trees on Howell end at the edge of the district and make a strong boundary statement. The non-contributing structures within the district are Ranch houses and recently built, small commercial buildings which have been placed at the corners of several residential lots.