Archive for November, 2011

Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Take a peek behind closed doors in our December 3rd Gates & Gables House Tour

Join us for our biennial tour of private Andover homes.  Eight Andover homeowners will open their doors to guests Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 to 4:00 pm.  The tour starts with the Historical Society’s home, the 1820s Amos Blanchard House, and continues on through town.  Pick up your ticket and tour guide and map at the Society and head off to discover a different side of Andover!  Call 978-475-2236 to information.  Tickets can be purchased online via our secure website.

Watch for these signs around town Saturday, December 3!


Photo of the Week

Sunday, November 27th, 2011


Just as Winter sets in, you’re probably not thinking about Clown Town. I’m writing this in July, however, so I am! This is a picture of Clown Town, an event sponsored by the Andona Society. This organization was started in 1952 as a charity. Clown Town was started in 1956 as one of many fundraisers. The organization started with five women, but by the 60’s, 60 women joined the pack. One of my favorite places, the Children’s room in the library, was funded by Andona. Throughout the years, Andona has supported organizations like the YMCA and  DCS, and sponsored events like the Spring Fling, a dance for middle-schoolers, and a babysitting class for Andover teens. Andona has been a cultural influence in Andover for years, and Clown Town is just one example of their work. Look forward to the Santa parade in December, another event sponsored by the Andona Society!

Here’s their website, in case you’re interested:


Happy Thanksgiving from the Andover Historical Society!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Have you ever wondered about the first Thanksgiving or how our national Thanksgiving holiday started?  At the Andover Historical Society research folders flood the library with information about families, houses, events and more.  Included in those research files, is one specifically devoted to the history of Thanksgiving.   In 2008, Gail Ralston, a local historian put together a packet of information regarding Thanksgiving traditions and donated her work to the Historical Society.  Utilizing historic books and local articles from the Townsman, Gail’s research looks at how Thanksgiving has changed over time, including what the Pilgrims ate at Plimoth, to Thanksgiving meals as recent as 2007.

Gail’s research has been used to create programs for local schools and is an excellent resource for local and national Thanksgiving history.  Just this week, Museum Educator, Debbie DeSmet visited the Doherty Middle School 6th grade class to present the fascinating history of Thanksgiving in Andover.  Did you know that Andover was first called Cochichawicke?  The Merrimack Valley was once an Indian hunting ground and its name meant “Place of the Great Cascade.”  Just as the Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation joined together with Natives in 1621 to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, settlers of Andover had friendly relations with Merrimack Valley natives for many years. To learn more about Thanksgiving in Andover, visit the Andover Historical Society research library Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Please join us this Holiday Season for our Gates and Gable House Tour December 3rd, and visit our website to learn about all of our December events.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from the

Andover Historical Society.


Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Take a tour of the Blanchard House and find this object

Keep your eye out for this object on your tour of the Blanchard House

Tours of the Amos Blanchard house are available Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00-4:00.  Learn about the Blanchard family and life in Andover in the early 1800s.  Tours are free of charge, donations are always welcome.

The Society will be closed Wednesday through Friday, November 16-18, for the Thanksgiving holiday, but will be open for tours Saturday, November 19, 10:00-4:00 pm.  Take a break from the shopping malls and visit Amos and Elizabeth Blanchard’s gracious home.


Photo of the Week

Sunday, November 20th, 2011


This is the former home of Walter I. Morse, an Andover native. His house, located on Elm Street, then became Lundgren Funeral Home. Now the building is Palmer’s Restaurant. How did the home go from funerals to food? In 1988, Palmer’s Restaurant started in Swampscott. After the place gained popularity, owner and chef John Ingalls moved into this historic building. The restaurant added it’s famous porch and now offers live music on the weekends. So if you’re ever downtown feeling hungry…

Have a great Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for this blog :)


Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

“Like” us on facebook

Join the hundreds of people who follow the Historical Society on facebook.  You’ll stay up to date on all programs and events, often as they are happening!  Chat with Society staff and volunteers and let us know your thoughts.

The Historical Society in spring


Photo of the Week

Sunday, November 13th, 2011


To get you pumped for Thanksgiving, here’s a picture from the Feaster Five in 1994. If you’re in Andover for the holidays, check out this road race. Every year, thousands of people gather in Shawsheen to walk or run one of the biggest road races in the area. The Beneficiaries include Ironstone Farms, Merrimack Valley YMCA, and Merrimack Valley Striders. The event has become so big that people from all over the country visit for the race, including people from California and Canada. If you want to walk, bring your dog or you kids for the “Fun Run”. If you’re a runner, prizes are awarded to the top three runners in each age division.

One year Matt Damon and his family visited the race. Another year, race director McGillivray proposed to his girlfriend in front of thousands of people. This race is not just for townies: 10, 000 people came last year, even people from other countries. The race starts at 8:30, so be on time! The first 6,000 people get long-sleeved T-shirts, and every one gets a Table Talk apple pie! I participated last year with my dog and my mom, and I can’t wait to do it again this year.

Register here:



Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (40)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Abby’s entries for November 1867 continue

Tuesday 5:  Went to a sort of Society at the Old South and after up to Mrs. Eaton’s.  Mr. Johnson took care of me.  There was quite a little party.  Went up and had a nice time.

Wednesday November 6: Louise had a little company in the evening.  I had a splendid time.  Mr. Spaulding, Babbitt, Dennis, Frye and Means, Ella Fisher, Clara and Georgia Ray.  And in the afternoon up to the Public Speaking at Phillips.  Seth Williams spoke as finely as he usually does.  The last time I went up I heard Dennis and they are both the finest speakers I’ve heard in school.  Played [spills], euchre, piano.  Had ice cream and coffee.

Friday 7: Chose readers for the prize reading next term.  The results will be given to morrow.  Dr. Moore and Mr. Frye came up.  Mr. F. brought a pound of candy.

Saturday November 8:  Father went to Washington.  Next to Hattie Tufts in our division, I had the most votes.  4 are to read from one division.  Hattie Tufts, Emma Eastern, Nannie Dillingham and myself.

Sunday 10:  Rained nearly all the day.  Went down to Mrs. Raymonds’s to hear Mr. Haines sing and play.  Frank Safford (?) and Edith took tea with us.

Monday 11:  Mr. Frye and Mr. Spaulding spent the evening.  Played euchre.  Mr. S. brought two poiunds of candy.  We had five or seven pounds last week.

John Wesley Churchill (1839-1900) was the elocution teacher for all three schools on Andover Hill from 1866 to 1900.

Abbot Academy’s Draper Reading Prize was awarded in the spring term of 1868 with a thirty dollar donation to the school by Irene Rowley Draper, and Abbot alumna and the wife of Warren F. Draper, an important trustee and benefactor of the school who had already established a similar contest for the Phillips Academy boys.  Sixteen to twenty Abbot readers were elected by the students for the first round of the contest, after which ten were chosen for private instruction from elocution professor J. Wesley Churchill.  The school’s relationship with Churchill, who was employed for thirty-four years by all three schools on Andover Hill (and was incidentally the brother-in-law of Abby’s friends Willy and E.W. Donald) became a significant source of pride for the school.  Principal Philena McKeen wrote in her 1897 history of the school (published by Mr. Draper) that the opportunity for lessons with churchill gave the school “one advantage over every other school or college for young women in the land.”


Treasures in the Attic: Winter Sports with Alan French

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Visit the Andover Historical Society this Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. for our special event Treasures in the Attic: Winter Sports with Alan French.

Treasures in the Attic programs  offer visitors a chance to view collections that are not regularly on display.  This Saturday, Alan French will explore the history of winter recreation in Andover.  Alan French, owner of Moor and Mountain, Chairman of the Bay Circuit Alliance, and former member of the AVIS Board of Trustees will present history and stories associated with objects all related to winter sports from Andover’s past.

Young Bessie Goldsmith

Included in the Andover Historical Society winter sport collection is a pair of ice skates and a child’s sled donated by former Andover resident Bessie Goldsmith.  An eccentric Andover character, Bessie left a large collection to the Andover Historical Society including personal items, diaries, and photos.  During Treasures in the Attic, Allan French will recount stories of

Bessie Goldsmith and how the Goldsmith Woodlands were saved.  Bessie, a strong and independent woman of Andover’s past, is said to have pointed her shotgun at trespassers caught picking blueberries on her land.  In 1974, Bessie Goldsmith, donated her woodlands and land to the Fund for Preservation of Wildlife and Natural Areas.  AVIS became the caretakers in 1977.

Alan French of Moor and Mountain Sports

Alan French is an expert in sporting equipment and an avid outdoorsman. With a total of  172 miles of multi-use, recreational trail, Andover conservationists have preserved the land and its history for future generations.  Come learn about how winter recreation in Andover and sporting equipment has changed and evolved Saturday, November 12th.  This event is free to members of the Andover Historical Society and $5 for non-members.  Please call to make reservations.

To learn more about the Treasures in the Attic program, call 978-475-2236 or visit the Andover Historical Society website at


Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Decorate a “History-Inspired” Tree

A 2010 tree inspired by travel momentos in the Blanchard House

Be a part of our fourth annual exhibit of history-inspired trees.  Volunteers, members, businesses, and organizations select an object from our latest exhibit, Common Indecency, to inspire a uniquely decorated tree.  Our goal is to have 25 trees gracing the rooms and halls of the Blanchard House.  Come with your family, or a group of friends, and be inspired by history!  Call Carrie Midura at 978-475-2236 to learn more about this year’s exhibit and how you can be a part.