Old Sporting Equipment Week 22

December 4th, 2013 by Janak Shah


These final two objects were found in the Andover Historical Society barn, the west and north lofts. Above is a wooden billiards cue, which is squared at the handled end. The cue is approximately forty-eight inches long, and is tapered off at the point.

The dumbbells, below, each twelve pounds, are black but have rusted over time.  They are thin in the middle and each end rounds off as a sphere. They are unlike modern day dumbbells, where each end is flat.

Unfortunately, neither the date conceived or the previous owner/donor is known. However they are still unique artifacts that cannot be ignored.



This will be the final post in the “Old Sporting Equipment” category. I hope they were enjoyable and informative articles and I hope to write more soon.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 21

November 27th, 2013 by Janak Shah


This is one of two roller hockey sticks found in the barn. Roller Hockey is simply hockey played in with roller blades rather than ice skates. Similarly to ice hockey, the sport is played in a rink. This stick, which is in reasonable condition, is a long wooden shaft that widens at the handle and at the bottom. The bottom is curved while the handle is squared. This stick’s counterpart is slightly smaller and thinner than this stick, albeit it is identical in every other aspect.

This stick was published in the Pictorial History of American Sports, Durant and Bettman, on page one-hundred. This book describes with images the various sports of America, and was published in 1952. The pair of roller hockey sticks, therefore, were represented, and thoroughly describe the sport.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 20

November 20th, 2013 by Janak Shah


This object, which was found in the west loft of the Andover Historical Society Barn, is an antique croquet mallet. Croquet is a sport that involves hitting plastic or metal balls with mallets through hoops, which are also called wickets in the United States. The game is usually played in a grass court. Croquet is an old game dating back to the year 1856, and has been played by many since. There are several competitive leagues for the sport, but croquet is mostly played as a modern backyard game.

This wooden mallet is about the standard size for a croquet mallet, and although it is not as exquisite as a  modern day mallet, it serves the same purpose. This mallet is another one of the large variety of sporting equipment in the barn.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 19

November 13th, 2013 by Janak Shah


These two sled models are located in the West Loft of the Andover Historical Society Barn. They are similar in appearance and structure, and unfortunately, neither has a plethora of valuable information on it.

The first sled, above, has rectangular runners that are coated with green paint on the inside. The long runners contrast with the smaller sled base. Several holes are drilled through the top of the sled, but these holes appear to have no purpose.

The second sled, which is not in as good condition as the first, has rectangular runners with taper to rounded points at the front end of the sled. The runners have holes drilled in at the front end to hold the reins, with are made of cloth. The seat is about as long as the runners, and has a few holes drilled on top, which similar to the first sled, appear to have no purpose. This sled, however, has the word Eclipse roughly painted on the bottom, which might be a clue of its origin.




Old Sporting Equipment Week 18

November 6th, 2013 by Janak Shah


This long wooden sled is unique not for its outward appearance, but for its hallmark writing on the side. Stenciled in on the side of the sled is the word WELCOME. Although not visible in this picture, the side of the sled is coated in blue paint. The sled, although not apparent, is coated with worn down green paint on the top. The back end of the sled is curved outwards while the front end inwards. The runners of the sled are either made of steel or iron. However, not too much is known about this sled, as the donor and maker are not identified. The sled, however is similar to other antique sleds found online because of its identifying trait, the word welcome.


This is the worn down side of the sled, with the blue/green paint visible. The word WELCOME can easily be discerned.



Old Sporting Equipment Week 17

October 30th, 2013 by Janak Shah


These two ice skate pairs are the final two of the vast collection in the barn. Both of these models are unique from the others, each containing different features and having different capabilities. Unfortunately, neither model has a surplus of information on it.

The first pair of skates have long metal blades with fifteen holes. The blades are curved at the ends, and three metal plates secured on the front side, one at the heel, toe, and instep. These skates are missing leather straps to hold one’s feet in place, but are very much unique to other skates.

The second pair of skates have metal blades with rounded curves at the toe edge. A leather strap is located at the toe end, and a small metal plate is located at the toe edge, drilled in with four screws. There is a large screw embedded in the heel as well. These skates have slightly more information than the former, as they have a maker’s note of Caststeel Wirths BBS Remscheid. The origin is unknown, but the donor’s name was Mrs. William J. Carty.




Old Sporting Equipment Week 16

October 23rd, 2013 by Janak Shah


These ice skates resemble somewhat elvish shoes, and are another one of the vast collection of skates in the West Loft of the barn. These skates have a base of thin metal with a curved tip. These skates are made of wood, with the sole mounted onto the blade. There are leather straps attached to the toe and heel end of the skates, and three straps with buckles connect the two straps at the toe end. These straps help one’s foot fit more comfortably inside these skates as well.

Unfortunately, not much is known about these ice skates, with the exception being the owner, Bessie Punchard Goldsmith. The maker’s note is also visible on the skate, Aug. H Perry of Salem, Mississippi. Aside from their place of origin, these skates do not have a plethora of information about them. However, they are another example of the  vintage skates that can be found in the Andover Historical Society collection.





Lessons Learned from a Public History Project

October 17th, 2013 by Andover Historical Society

The following article was written by Kimberly Whitworth, J.D. for publication on the NEHGS e-newsletter. Ms. Whitworth has given permission for it to be shared with Andover Historical Society readers on our site.

During the past year, I have been working on creating an on-line map and database of the Old Burial Ground, located on Academy Road in North Andover, Massachusetts.  The Old Burial Ground was established around 1650 and the site holds the remains of the founding families of Andover, as well as their descendants.  This means the graves marking the burials—as well as the burials themselves—are of historic significance to early New England.

OldBurialGround Map-1

I developed the idea for this project from a graduate class I took last fall which considered the historical aspects of the New England landscape.  Burial grounds certainly do not come to mind immediately as a landscape, but all have been created by the human hand.

People often think of burial grounds as static, where nothing changes.  What I discovered at the end of my project is that the Map is only a 2013 “snapshot” of this particular landscape.  I was fortunate enough to have access to the work of prior efforts to collect and catalogue the burials and markers at the site.

When reviewing maps and data taken during the 1960s and the 1990s it became clear the site has changed over time due to a variety of factors, including environmental damage and weather, destruction wrought by tree roots and occasional vandalism.  Stones that were recorded in the 1960s or 1990s were occasionally found as “missing” in the 2013 database.

The technology I used to create the Map and locate each headstone is called “GIS” or Geographic Information Systems, “a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.”

Each headstone on the map represents a point collected using satellite technology.  Now, each headstone has a latitude and longitude line associated with each point gathered.  The accuracy of each  point with the system used in this project is within a meter.

Today, the Burial Ground is owned by the Town of North Andover and it is under the care of the North Andover Historical Commission.  I was fortunate enough to have Town support for the project, along with assistance from many departments at Town Hall.

I also had the support of the North Andover Historical Society and the Andover Historical Society, along with a few dedicated volunteers who braved some of the hottest days of the summer to take “points” with me.  Without the creativity, generosity and teamwork offered by so many people in and around the Town of North Andover, this project would have never been completed and available for public research.

Link to website and database:  http://www.townofnorthandover.com/pages/nandoverma_bcomm/cemetery.pdf

*  Kimberly Whitworth is a practicing attorney North of Boston and she is completing her Master’s Degree in History at Salem State University.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 15

October 16th, 2013 by Janak Shah


This is one of the many sleds in the Andover Historical Society Barn. This specific sled is a child’s sled, and the most notable feature is its red color and flower print design in the center. These are marks that are commonly associated with  rosebud sled, which are vintage sleds that were made in the early 20th century.

For this specific sled, the runners are connected to the front, and the rope reins are tied to the front of the runners. Rosebud sleds became famous when they were portrayed in the movie Citizen Kane. The prototypes from the movie were sold by Steven Spielberg for over fifty thousand dollars. These sleds can be bought from collectors for several dollars today, and still possess an intriguing design.


Old Sporting Equipment Week 14

October 9th, 2013 by Janak Shah
photo 2


Last week, I wrote about two pairs of skis donated to the Andover Historical Society in the memory of John Jenkins and Alice Holt. This is one of a pair of ski poles that the donor of the skis, Burton Jenkins donated as well. This pole is made of bamboo, and has been reinforced with tape in several sections. The pole is great in length, and has an 11 centimeter metal collar attached at the end. A bamboo ring, which is visible at the left of the pole, is attached to the collar.

photo 4

Different from its counterpart, this other ski pole, which is the second of a pair in the barn, has no metal ring attached at the end. This pole is similar to normal ski poles, straight, with a metal spike inserted at the end of the pole. This pole is also made of bamboo, and is held together by tape in some locations. At the top of the ski pole, although not visible in this photograph, is a hole for a hand strap.

These ski poles are just another part of the collection of objects honoring John and Alice Jenkins. Therefore, despite the poor condition, they are important objects here in the historical society.