▲ For years, the Nesmith House was a boarded-up property on Lowell’s Andover Street. Around the same time, President Cowan, Henderson, and the rest of the MCC Foundation decided to secure property in Lowell to serve as an off-campus meeting place and expand the college’s social profile. Working with the Lowell Plan, a melded private/public sector planning think tank in the city, the college set its sights on an abandoned piece of property located about a half-mile from the City Building at Kearney Square, the John Nesmith House on Andover Street. THE HOUSE ON THE HILL The Nesmith House was built in 1843 for John Nesmith, a New Hampshire businessman, who had foreseen the city’s ascendance as a manufacturing hub. Nesmith and his brother Thomas were shrewd businessmen, and John Nesmith focused his development primarily in the manufacturing of textile fabrics. He eventually became part owner of mills in Lowell, Chelmsford, and Dracut. When he moved into his Belvidere neighborhood home, he helped lay out several streets in the area, including the one that bears his name today. A member of the Republican Party, Nesmith was an anti-slavery member of the Electoral College that helped put Abraham Lincoln in the White House in 1861 and 1865. While rumors abound that Lincoln himself visited the Nesmith House, no true documentation to prove that visit can be located. Nesmith dallied in politics, serving one term as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1862. He also was married three times, bearing 14 children, only seven of which lived to adulthood. Nesmith reared 10 children with his third wife, Harriet Mansur, for whom another Belvidere street is named. Nesmith died in 1869. His descendants continued to live in the home. Eventually, in the latter half of the 20th century, the home became vacant, and fell into disrepair after years of non-use. With the financial backing of the 85