April 9th, 2013 by Maddy Wagner
This blog entry includes the transcription of a diary from the Andover Historical Society written by John Radford Abbot in 1909 when he began a trip to various European countries. Keep following Maddy’s post to learn about John Radford Abbot and all the places he visited over 100 years ago!
Date: Wed. July 7th
We left the wharf about 10:15 and started off doron New York Harbor. Saw the N.Y. skyscraper, Liberty Satute, Coney Island, etc. At about 11:45 we slowed down and a rowboat came alongside to take off the pilot and also a woman who had forgotten to get off the pier. It was quite an experience getting her off, but it was finally accomplished. At about noon we passed sandy hook and the Ambrose Channel Lightship where our official time is taken for Europe. The sea was calm and the weather great. In the afternoon Dale and I explored the boat from bow to stern, going into the second cabin and steerage. We had dinner at 7 P.M. 460 miles.
During the beginning of J. Radford Abbot’s journey to Europe, he wrote that he ” Saw the N.Y. skyscraper, Liberty Satute, Coney Island, etc.” in the first decade of the 1900′s, these were very popular sights to see. The New York Skyscrapers were famous, but mostly for their height. In 1909, most skyscrapers were usually not over six stories high. New York’s Empire State Building has 106 floors. People often got excited when going into one of the skyscrapers, especially visiting the highest floor and looking over the city. Also in 1909 one of the biggest things to see was the Statue Of Liberty. Lady Liberty has been standing for 127 years. She was built in 1875 by a french architect named Frederick Bartholdi as a gift to the United States from the people of France. She was considered the symbol of freedom, democracy and America. People were originally allowed to travel up into the torch that she holds in her right hand high above her head, but soon, the arm that supported the torch grew weak, so the torch viewing point was shut down. Now people can only look out onto the city from the crown Lady Liberty wears on her head. J. Radfrod Abbot also wrote that he saw Coney Island. In 1909, Coney Island was just opening to the public. It first opened to the public on June 20th, 1909. This means that when Abbot saw Coney Island, it had only been open for less than eighteen days. Coney Island was one of the most elaborate amusement parks of it’s days. Otto B. Benschuetz, owner and founder, landscaped the grounds, put in a children’s playground, a bandstand for outdoor concerts, and a dance pavilion which served as an ice skating rink and theater.
John Radford Abbot
Today I found a photo of John Radford Abbot. He was much younger when he began his European trip. This is the only photo I found of him at the Andover Historical Society so far. I am still looking and will post another photo if I find it.
April 3rd, 2013 by Janak Shah
This is the Stevens Street Bridge, which lies above the Shawsheen River on Stevens Street. This bridge was part of Marland Village, a small neighborhood of houses, factories, and businesses running along Stevens Street to Main Street in Andover. This village was near Abbot Village, formed by other streets parallel to Stevens Street. In 1775, a powder mill was formed near the bridge to supply gunpowder to the Continental Army during the American Revolution by Samuel Phillips. The mill then produced paper after the war ended in 1789.
This bridge not large , but it is one of the oldest in town and contributed to the Americans during the revolution. Although seemingly insignificant, the mill helped the rebels fight to freedom.
April 2nd, 2013 by robrien
Today I am blogging about a fun day on Plum Island with Bessie. She took a walk with her feet in the sand, climbed on rocks, and even went to the top of a lighthouse! Enjoy!
July 31st 1896
“This morning mamma woke me up quite early and asked me if I did not want to go to the beach for it was going to be quite a lovely day. I hopped out of bed and we hurried up and got the work done and at twenty minutes past eight we were on the train for Haverhill. Papa could not go, and there was not time to ask anyone else and so mamma and I had to go alone. We walked from the station to the landing and on the boat we met some people whom mamma knew and so we rode down with them. When we got to Black Rocks mamma asked me if I did not want to go to Plum Island and so we went over in a dory. It does not take but ten minutes to row over and it is perfectly lovely in the water. First we went to the lighthouse and the keeper took (us) up to the top, The light is a very small affair but it can be seen for fourteen miles and as it was the first one I had ever seen it was quite interesting. The house is not very big and from Black Rocks it looks as if it was built of brick and painted white but really it is shingled. Next we walked down the dummy track to the saving station. As they were not training and there was not much to see we went down to the beach. There was not anybody there….but the flies….and we ate our dinner. At two o’clock we went back to Black Rocks and as the dummy did not go for those quarters of an hour we thought that we would walk up to the beach. The tide was high and we had to walk in the soft sand and we were terribly tired before we got to the hotel. There had been a stiff breeze all day and it was rather tiresome and so we went upon the hotel piazza where it was sheltered. We rode to the landing on the dummy and when the boat reached Haverhill, we were too late to go home in the steam cars and so we had to go on the electrics and we didn’t get home till after nine o’clock.”
This entry in Bessie’s diary makes me wish it were summer! Everything except the flies and the heat sounds absolutely great. Bessie really did a great job in her descriptions. Plum Island is really is beautiful. The dummy must be some sort of a public transportation system, sort of like a bus. Below is a picture of a sketch of a small harbor which shows a lighthouse in the distance. It is by an architect who lived in Andover named Addison Le Boutillier. He was not only an architect, but he also made greeting cards, pottery, and lots of sketches and models which can also be found in the Historical Society’s collection.
March 27th, 2013 by Janak Shah
At the corner of North Main and Shawsheen Streets, lies a community park called Wood Memorial Park. Although in the center of Shawsheen Village, this park is not well-known. The editor of the Andover Townsman once said, “I’ll bet precious few of the inhabitants(of Andover) know about it either.”
The park exists from a deed granted by Cornelius (William Wood’s son) and his wife Muriel Wood. The Wood’s listed conditions under which the park was to be built. One condition was that the park must be named “William M. Wood Memorial Park.” Another condition was that the park must be used as only a community park, and could not be converted into a playground or used in any other way. Cornelius Wood granted the deed in memory of his father, William Wood the developer of Shawsheen Village and mill-owner.
The stone structure in the photo above is a memorial fountain dedicated to William Wood’s daughter, Irene Wood Sutcliffe. In 1994, a push was made to repair the fence at Wood Park in order to create a better impression of Andover to passerby’s who would see the park fence first when when entering Andover through Shawsheen Square. In 1996, for Andover’s 350th celebration, a garden was planted in Wood Park. Wood Park is one of the more unknown places in Andover, but still interesting to check out because of its connection to the history of Shawsheen Village.
March 20th, 2013 by Janak Shah
This recent scene is from 2006, when Andover was hit by a massive flood of the Shawsheen River. Route 133, as seen above, was only one of many roadways affected by the flood. The flooding occurred over three days, as 12 inches of rain fell between May 13t-16, Mother’s Day weekend. This event became known as the Mother’s Day Flood. Several main roads were aeffected including High Plain Road, Stevens Street, River Street, and Main Street. I did not live in Andover in 2006, but I can only imagine the inconvenience caused by the flooding of the main roads. The Washington and Balmoral Condominiums were heavily damaged and evacuated. This flood is part of Andover’s recent history preserved by the Andover Historical Society.
March 13th, 2013 by Janak Shah
The map above is of the Harold Parker State Forest, part of which is located in Andover. The forest was established in 1916, and was named after Harold Parker, who was a chairman of the State Conservation Commission.
Before the forest was established, the land was inhabited by Native Americans until 1650, when English farmers settled. It is said that the areas surrounding the forest were used as homes on the Underground Railroad, the slave passage to freedom. Abolitionists such as Harriet Beecher Stove were frequent visitors to families living in this area. In, the forest was victim to a forest fire, and when it was first purchased, it was a dry, bushy area filled with tree stumps. For seventeen years the forest was left in a wild condition until 1933, when two Civilian Conservation Corps camps were set up to clear the forest, build roads, and put in artificial ponds for swimming.
Today, the forest is used for a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and hunting. There are over 35 miles of trails, 89 campsites, and 9 ponds, two of which are natural ponds, Berry and Bear. The forest is mostly within North Andover, but is still one of Andover’s more interesting places to visit.
March 6th, 2013 by Janak Shah
Above is an old diving board located at Serios Grove, conservation land owned by the town of Andover. This spot contains several white pine and red oak trees, along with several other species as well. The land has been disturbed by previous owners for the removal of gravel which was underneath the property. The pine groves provide a nice camping spot, and the pine needles provide a comfortable surface to lay upon.
This land was acquired as recently as 2001 at an Andover Town Meeting. In 2007, the Conservation Commission developed it into a picnic area. The area is located along Lowell Junction Road. The property is known as Serios Grove because it was previously the homestead of the Serio family in 1932. Frank Serio ran a kayak and canoe business from the back of his home. The family name disappeared in 1968, but Frank Serio Jr. was found living out of town and gave information about the family. Frank Serio Sr. was significant because he was one of the town’s earliest environmentalists. His efforts decreased pollution in the town. Serios Grove is a great place to visit if you are interested in nature, or want to camp or have a picnic.
February 27th, 2013 by Janak Shah
The old-fashioned building above is the Andover Savings Bank, opened in 1924 at the corner of Main and Chestnut Streets. The building was opened after 90 years of bank service in hired quarters.
The building was designed by bank planners Hutchins and French of Boston, and was built by the E. W. Pitman company of Lawrence. The dimensions of the building above are 53 feet 10 inches wide, and 86 feet 4 and half inches long. As shown in the picture, this marvelous building was made of dark red bricks and a stone arch, which is supported by stone columns. One of the most distinct features of the building are the bronze doors located at the front of the building. The front of the building has large windows and stone panels. The interior of the bank consisted of executive offices, vaults, and of course the front lobby.
Aside from the amazing architecture of the building, the Andover Saving Bank was built for only banking purposes, and was separated from the Andover National Bank, with whom it had shared a building for seventy years. Moving the Savings Bank to a new building created more room for both banks, and generated new business. After the move to the new building, the Andover Savings Bank grew into one of the largest savings banks in the Commonwealth, and still serves Andover and its residents today.
February 20th, 2013 by Janak Shah
The image to the left is of Bakers Meadow, a pond located off of Reservation Road in Andover. Bakers Meadow belongs to AVIS, and the entrance to the reservation is across from West Parish Meadow. It was named after Dr. Symonds Baker, who owned most of the area in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 1920s, Alex Henderson kept the land for his muskrats, as muskrat fur was in fashion at the time. In 1958, Harold Rafton, a conservationist, convinced the Henderson’s to sell the land to AVIS. Today, Bakers Meadow features for than 145 species of birds, including herons, ducks, and Canada geese. The pond is surrounded by wetlands which provide habitats for beavers and muskrats. One of the best features of Bakers Meadow, however, is its trail. Bill Kirk of the Eagle Tribune said, ” Bakers Meadow makes for a great walk in the woods.” The trails encloses the pond, and consists of many hills and wooden bridges. Whether it is to jog on the trail or fish in the pond, Bakers Meadow is a very peaceful place for people to explore.