Andover, Massachusetts has been around for centuries and the history of it still shows today. Settled back in 1636 under the Native American name of Cochichawicke. The community was then incorporated in 1646 as the Town of Andover, which was named after a town in England where many of the settlers had come from. It’s full of different monumental historic moments, but let’s take a look back through some of its most important historical events to its most recent history.
1690’s Witch Trials
One of the most popular historical events to ever happen is the witchcraft trials. A dark period of colonial history, but today is celebrated by many. Taking place in the 1690’s in Salem, Massachusetts its effects reached Andover, a town only 17.3 miles away. A man named Joseph Ballard asked several village girls who were said to have powers to detect and cure diseases to help his wife. After those girls met with Mrs. Ballard, they claimed that people in Andover had bewitched her. This led to turmoil within both cities and false accusations saying more than 40 Andover citizens were ‘in league with Satan.’ A quarter of them were eventually condemned to death, many imprisoned, and three executed.
Shawsheen Village Experiment
Fast forward to 1919, the American Woolen Company set their plan in motion to build a million-dollar mill in Fyre village and renamed it “Shawsheen.” By 1924, two years after the Shawsheen mills began operation, the village had more than 200 houses and several community buildings. It gave residents tennis courts, swimming pools, athletic fields, and golf courses. The mill had to shut down eventually in 1953, but these houses and buildings still stand today offering the now-community a variety of apartments and businesses.
A town known by the phrase, “the Hill, the Mill, and the Till,” sums up the majority of Andover’s history and even fits with today’s structure of the town. The hill, a location for academics, the Mill represented by companies, and the Till full of farms. Into the 20th century it remained a smaller New England town, but over the years it continued to grow in population. By 1960, the town had grown to 17,134, by 1970 to 23,695 and by 1980 to 26,365. The opening of interstates led to even more population growth leading to more schools, and expansion of tower, water, and public safety.
Besides the significant historical events mentioned, there is tons more to learn. From the Two Parishes, to the Revolutionary War, and Division of the Town. The history lessons are endless for a town settled back in the 1600s. If you visit in today’s day and age you will sure notice a blend of the past and the present, a new day in age of living but that has kept a lot of its historical remnants alive.
Fun Fact: The patriotic song America was written in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith while attending the Andover Theological Seminary. That’s why Andover is often referred to as the “Home of America.”
Find our article on Andover MA things to do here.
Directions from Shawsheen Plaza Andover to 128 Plumbing