Thank you North Andover Merchants Association and Merch for stopping by our shop!
Merch enjoyed his visit to the North Andover Historical Society.
The North Andover Historical Society seeks, saves and shares North Andover history and brings it to life with programs, exhibits and events.
The North Andover Historical Society was founded in 1913 and is dedicated to preserving our local heritage and bringing it to life through children’s programs, guided tours, lectures, workshops, exhibits, craft demonstrations, architectural walking tours and publications. Our historic properties include Johnson Cottage (1789), the Parson Barnard House (1715) and the Hay Scales Building (1833). We also operate the S. Forbes Rockwell Library and Archive at the Society Headquarters which contains thousands of documents, books, photographs, and paper objects that tell the story of the town and it’s people. We offer memberships and other ways to donate to support us, so check out how you can contribute to the preservation of our community!
Thank you North Andover Merchants Association and Merch for stopping by our shop!
Merch enjoyed his visit to the North Andover Historical Society.
The Historical Society is now closed for its annual winter shutdown. We will open again on Tuesday, January 5. We'll be checking e-mail and the online store will remain open, with orders filled upon our return.
We wish everyone a happy and healthy Christmas & holiday season. Stay safe, friends; thank you for your support this year and we'll see you in 2021! 🎅 🎄☮️
For those who celebrate Christmas—will it come as a shock that Christmas was banned in the Massachusetts colony until 1688? The Puritans equated this celebration with all that was wrong with the Church of England during the early 17th century and refused to celebrate or even acknowledge the day as a holiday until the Restoration of Charles II and the subsequent installation of both a Royal Governor and the Anglican Church in Boston. Despite the lifting of the ban, it was mostly celebrated by those not affiliated with the evolving Congregational churches spread across Massachusetts, including Andover North and South Parishes (1708). Although German immigrants brought their Christmas tree to Boston by the 1830’s, it was still considered a novelty.
The Civil War saw both the nationalization of Thanksgiving and the growing popularity of Christmas, festivities meant to raise the moral of public enduring the daily reports of death and destruction. By 1900, 1 out of 5 families in America had a tree; by 1930, the tree was almost universal, despite the Great Depression.
So how did North Andover celebrate?
It is not until the early 20th century that we see familiar traditions recorded. On December 23, 1902, the North Andover Grange noted:
“The Curtain was then raised & displayed a Christmas Tree well laden with presents which was given to those whom they were designed for by Peter Holt representing Santa Claus who caused a good deal of merriment with his witty sayings both to old and young.”
Interestingly, some of the only diary entries in our collection are from Peter Holt’s sister, Susan Holt Cogswell. Eleven years later (December 21, 1913), she writes that:
“Fine day. Christmas tree at Grange Hall tonight. Folks all went. Alone this evening-wrote letter and addressed C. cards”
On December 25, 1917:
"Christmas morn-little snow is falling Clears before noon—Open our stockings early-lots of packages [to] open later. All are well remembered. Down to diner. Turkey and everything very nice. Peter came this P.M.
By Christmas 1918:
Christmas had gone once more-A warm cloudy day but a delightful day in the house. Stockings all filled with useful gifts. Tree loaded with gifts for us all—and a good old fashioned turkey dinner in spite of the high prices."
We at the North Andover Historical Society wish all of you the happiest of holidays!
Wishing all of our friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thank you for your support through this challenging year; we extend our best wishes to every one of you for a happy, safe, and fulfilling 2021. :)
The Historical Society is closed today and will open as scheduled tomorrow (Friday) morning at 10AM. Stay safe, friends!
Last week we looked at the last house removed from the North Andover Common and this time we will at the first house that the North Andover Improvement Society purchased and removed in their quest to create an enlarged town common. The “tenement” house of Moody Bridges was purchased and removed in 1898. This followed the closing of Essex Street, which separated the 1825 Common from a series of house lots.
“Colonel” Moody Bridges was born in 1784 and was the grandnephew of the Colonel Moody Bridges who served during the so-called French and Indian Wars. His house sat right in the middle of Essex Street. He was a true entrepreneur --he bought and sold real estate, he was a Deputy Sheriff, was one of the first proprietors of the Hay Scale Company and he ran a livery stable.
He also was an agent for the Boston and Andover Stage Company. He was in the perfect location since Andover St. turning into Osgood was a major post road from the early days of the town. When George Washington made a tour of New England after he was elected President, he stayed the night in Haverhill and would have ridden right past here on his way to South Andover where he had breakfast at the Locke Tavern on Elm St.
But why was the Bridges house so oversized? It seems that Moody may have offered stage customers a place to stay overnight in his own home and overtime, this prompted him to expand. He was a well-regarded fellow, well known for his hospitality. Josiah Crosby, who wrote for the North Andover Advertiser in the mid-1870’s, recalled “Col. Bridges’ house was common property of the town, a sort of “exchange” where everybody was welcome. There the latchstring was always out”. His death in 1858 was publicly mourned and marked the end of the heyday of the Old Center.
Some of you may know that rent from Old Center office spaces helps support the Historical Society. An opening in the historic Hay Scales Exchange building is now available! https://www.josephmstewartconsulting.com/office-space-hay-scales-exchange
We're flying the colors of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy today in honor of the annual Army-Navy Game, taking place at West Point tomorrow (Sat. 12/12) at 3PM! 🏈
*VIRTUAL* RED BOW FAIR REMINDER--Our friends at North Parish UCC have moved their annual Red Bow Fair online this year, and their silent auction is going full speed! Bidding ends on December 12 at noon; check out the link below for great local items. We are pleased to support the NPC and hope you will be too! 🎁
You may pass by this week's town treasure while traveling through the Old Center is on the corner of Andover and Osgood Streets. This small building was the home of The Hay Scales Company, formed in 1818 to enable farmers from the outlying areas to bring their hay to be weighed before it was sold. The building itself was erected in about 1833. Prior to that, Colonal Moody Bridges just operated the scales from his home (and stage stop) across the way ( another building that sat on what is today's Common) when there was a customer.
The scales sit beneath a reproduction wooden platform, but are no longer operational.
By the turn of the 20th century, the building was also home to William Roundy's cobbler’s workshop. Kate Stevens ran a sort of "curiosity shop" operated during the 1920's. In the early 1950's, it was converted to gift store, The Hay Scales Exchange. In 1959, that shop moved to the old Warren Stevens Store on Johnson Street and the building was given to the North Andover Historical Society and used in their educational programs.
During the 1930's, it was documented under the Historic Buildings Survey, a division of the National Work Adminstration, as it was the oldest Hay Scale and building known to exist in the United States.
We pause to remember the 2,000+ soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines lost in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 79 years ago today, December 7, 1941. This surprise raid thrust the United States into World War II; the greatest loss of life occurred aboard the battleship U.S.S. Arizona (BB-39), where 1,177 sailors and marines were killed when a bomb detonated the ship's forward magazine (ammunition storage room). At least eight of the ship's crew who died came from Massachusetts.
At the time of its destruction the Arizona had been in active service for over 25 years. This postcard shows the ship early in its career, passing through the Panama Canal. Today its remains are a national memorial, resting where it sank on that terrible morning.
We regret to announce that the society's annual Holiday Open House, scheduled for next Sunday 12/6, will not take place this year. We are looking forward to 2021 and to a time when life--in North Andover and around the world--will be a little more predictable. Stay safe, friends! 🎅🌲🎁
We know the holiday season has begun when the North Andover Garden Club delivers our beautiful wreaths for the front doors. Thank you all for everything you do for the town and the North Andover Historical Society!
You may have passed this lovely house on Appleton Street, but did you know that it originally was built on what is today the North Andover Common? This move was all part of the beautification efforts of the North Andover Improvement Society. Founded in 1885 (the second improvement society in Massachusetts), this group soon took on the task of creating an improved town common.
In 1851, a Fire House had been built on the Common by Nathaniel Stevens to house the Lion pumper. In 1888, The Improvement Society received permission to move the building to Johnson Street. In 1898, the Moody Bridges homestead was removed, and Essex Street discontinued from Massachusetts Avenue to Osgood Street. Throughout the early 20th century, the Improvement Society planted trees, created paths and added “rusticated seating” to make the Common more appealing. The group continued to purchase properties to create an open space adjacent to the 1825 common. The last house, 37 Osgood Street, was removed in 1958 and moved to Appleton Street. The completed Common was gifted to the town in 1959. Today it is one of the most iconic spots in North Andover.
North Andover Historical Society's cover photo
North Andover Historical Society
North Andover Historical Society
Do you have your turkey yet? Back in the 1960's you might have bought a fresh--really fresh- bird from Melamed Turkey Farm on Andover Street. Most sources point to this farm as the reason North Andover gained the nickname, Turkey Town. But did you know that in the 19th century, this land was home to "Walnuthurst"--the dairy farm of D.H. Meserve & Son?
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
THANKSGIVING WEEK HOURS --🦃-- The Society will be open Tuesday 11/24 (10AM-3PM) and then again for Small Business Saturday (10AM-2PM; #smallbusinesssaturday ). We will be closed 11/25-11/27. Our 1646 Bookstore is always open online; check us out at https://northandoverhistorical.square.site/.
On behalf of the board, staff, and volunteers, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 😷 🍁 ❤️ 🍂
Have you ever wondered about the small, red wooden building at the corner of North Main and Sutton Street? It is actually an important survivor of the early woolen industry, not only here in North Andover but in all of Eastern Massachusetts.
A small wooden building "erected for the purpose of [a] clothing mill") was standing on a mill privilege here as early as August 16, 1802, when the site was sold to James Scholfield, a "cloathyer" then living in Haverhill. Land records suggest that the mill building may have been erected only a short time before the sale and may in fact have been only a shell when Scholfield bought it. By the time the clothier himself sold out in 1812, though, the property was described as including "two machines for carding wool." It appears that Scholfield set up one or both of these carding machines shortly after his 1802 purchase of the site.
When not being used in connection with the family operations, the water driven card was employed in custom carding for local spinners, many of whom traveled a considerable distance to take advantage of the first such machine in the area.
By 1813, Scholfield was as overseer at the woolen manufactory then being organized by Nathaniel Stevens and his partners on the upper end of the Cochichewick, where he worked until 1815. At this point James Scholfield, the man who had brought the woolen manufacturing industry to North Andover, disappeared from the town’s records.
Some informal investigation a few years ago, placed this building as perhaps the earliest carding mill in the region.
How about something a little different this week--we are looking for information or memories about this business. This ad is from 1967, and we understand that did not operate for very long, but maybe that isn't the case. The address given is 148 Main Street, which are the Sutton Pond Condominiums today. Where exactly was this shop? What can you tell us about The Spinning Wheel?
VETERANS DAY 2020--The society is closed today but our flags are flying in honor of all veterans who have rendered honorable service to the nation since 1775. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has defended our country and protected its principles. 🇺🇸
The society's collection includes this promotion certificate for Aaron Ray of Andover, confirming his appointment to the rank of Sergeant in the Second Brigade, Second Division of the Massachusetts militia as of 1 October 1831.
We're flying the flag of the UnitedStatesMarineCorps today in honor of the service's 245th anniversary; our sincere appreciation to all Marines who have served our nation since 1775.
This flag and others were purchased thanks to a donation from North Andover VFW Post 2104. Their support is a great way to promote community and we are grateful for their generosity!
NA 375th Anniversary Calendar Now For Sale!
1646 ~ 2021
We've partnered with the North Andover Improvement Society to create a commemorative calendar marking North Andover's 375th anniversary! This calendar features images from both organizations and highlights the natural sites and built environment unique to our town. Pictures of the Old Center, landmarks, and green spaces abound in this colorful product that you can display with pride!
Copies are now available at the Historical Society and can be picked up during our open hours (T-F, 10AM-4PM and Saturdays, 10-2). You can also order them through our 1646 Bookstore (http://northandoverhistorical.square.site) or by contacting the North Andover Improvement Society (http://naimprovementsociety.org).
Calendars retail for $20.00 and make great gifts! Only 375 are available and we're expecting that they will go fast. All proceeds go to support Historical Society and Improvement Society (which includes Friends of Patriots Memorial Park and Friends of North Andover Trails) activities.
Show your support for our town, its history, and its natural beauty; order your copies today!
Many people in town have likely noticed the statue on the Common, a large man in full robes, they may have seen his name, or the plaque which tells us that the “…monument [was] erected by men and women of many creeds.”
Phillips Brooks – google the name and ah, he is the fellow who wrote the lyrics to ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. He was for a short while the Bishop of Massachusetts and a long serving Rector of Trinity Church in Boston. Why is he associated with North Andover, and why is there a statue of him by the noted Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt on the Common?
The answer to the first question is, family. Phillips Brooks’ great-great Grandfather, the Honorable Samuel Phillips, was the son of the first minister of the newly created South Parish of Andover in 1709. The Hon. Samuel Phillips married Elizabeth Barnard, the grand-daughter of Thomas Barnard, so the ministry had long been in family tradition by the time Phillips Brooks was ordained. The Hon. Samuel Phillips built a comfortable house, known later as the Phillips Manse, across the road from his wife’s ancestral home, the Parson Barnard house. The Hon. Samuel Phillips’ grandson, the Hon. John Phillips, had 13 children, and his daughter Mary Ann married William Gray Brooks, Phillips Brooks’ parents. Phillips Brooks had many summers at North Andover visiting his grandmother. In 1884 he became the heir to the house. He continued to summer there, but his preference was for the buzz of city life. When he passed away his nieces inherited, the Misses Brooks, Gertrude and Agnes.
The statue was originally commissioned in 1898 to stand outside Trinity Church in Boston, and replace a statue already in situ by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The piece was cast by Gorham Company Founders but before it could be installed it was decided to not replace the Saint-Gaudens. One rumor is that the Bela Pratt replacement was not as well-proportioned at the Saint-Gaudens piece, the head was too small for the body, and it was considered unsuitable. By 1920 the Pratt statue of Brooks was installed on the lawn of the Boston Society of Natural History, next to the entrance to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
A local committee was successful in generating interest in bringing the Bishop Brooks to North Andover. At a town meeting on March 14, 1925 a motion was made and passed to accept the statue, although the venue of the Common was still to be decided. However it was swiftly arranged and a dedication ceremony ensued on July 12, 1925. Its 100th anniversary is fast approaching!
153 Academy Rd
North Andover, MA
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