Andover Historical Society

The Historical Society was started as a project of the Andover Friday Club when they foresaw the need of preserving the town's history and artifacts before they were completely gone. The first meeting was held September 29, 1975 at the home of Harvey and Betsy Poor Fisher with 10 people present. Temporary officers were elected: President, Gertrude Percival; Vice-President, Polly Johnston; Secretary, Thelma Clark; Treasurer, Dorothy Campbell. The main topics of discussion were a place to hold meetings, a means of financing, and possibly to write a history of Andover.

In October, 1975, it was decided to try and get the old store which had been used as a town storage garage, the town having constructed a new one the past year. An Article was presented to the selectmen to be included in the warrant at Town Meeting held March 6, 1976, reading Article 57, to see if the town will vote to sell the old town garage to the Andover Historical Society. It was so voted to sell it to the Society for the sum of one dollar ($1.00) so we now had a meeting place.

A letter was composed by the President to be sent out to former residents and interested friends to help with donations to get the work started on renovating the old store which had been used by a number of organizations, also as a rent and even a Barber Shop.

On a December afternoon before the postage increased from 13 to 15, all who could met at Warren Percival's house and stuffed and addressed envelopes before the close of the Post Office that night. About 90 letters were sent out. The response to the letters was most encouraging, so now we had some money to work with. It was decided to incorporate and to draw up by-laws. The Committee chosen was Austin Daigle, Roger Mills, Richard Johnston, Thelma Clark, Gertrude Percival. Meetings the first winter were held at members' homes. Each month displays were in the window of the building owned by Donald French next to the Post Office. The November display was dishes, linens, cooking items associated with the early Thanksgivings; December, old toys, and decorations on the Christmas tree; January, old clocks--and there were many; February, Valentines; March, tinware; April and May, pictures of old Andover and its people. The display committee was Virginia Daigle, Polly Johnston, Betsey Fisher, Gertrude Percival.

In April, 1976, the old building was cleared out and that summer the glass was replaced in the doors and windows, new steps made by Basil Hutchins with lumber given by Lester Farrington, and the building painted white with green trim, all work being done by men and women of the Society and even one family visiting in town for the summer. An old large rock which was on the Upton Road and was called the Abe Lincoln Chair by the townspeople was moved to the Historical Society Building lawn. It was brought to us by Frank Morgan and Roger Mills, Sr. and was moved by David and John Percival's equipment just before the State road crew blasted rock for a new road.

Everyone in Andover was working for the August 14, 1976 Andover Heritage Day celebrating our country's Bicentennial, the Historical Building (though not done on the inside) having their 2 front windows decorated on the theme of the day by Florence Hall and Laura Learned. The Service Circle gave the Historical Society a big boost by giving them most of the proceeds from Heritage Day.

Four of our members had their homes open and on tour both in 1975 and 1976.

In 1977 the Society was incorporated and had its seal. Richard Johnston started work on the inside of the building, making a small meeting room and finishing the front of the building for displays. A new ceiling, paneling, and sanding down the floors had done wonders. Austin Daigle has put on the finish and with a little more work, we will be in business.

The Society has had speakers for some of the meetings. Stuart Martin spoke on Red Hill with its many old farms and schools; Laura and Ray Learned gave a report on North Andover #4 district and East B Hill Road, so-called, to Upton. A paper written by Tom Thurston on the history of Andover Telephone Company was read; also one written by the late Barb Cushman entitled "A Trip Around The Eight Mile Square, this paper being given to the Historical Society by her, sister Elizabeth Glines. Harvey and Marjorie McGuire told of their interesting trip to Iceland. The Society purchased two books, "Glimpses of Olde Andover," one of them being #1 of the limited edition.

The same slate of officers are still serving and the meetings are held the fourth Monday of the month. At the present time, April, 1979, the Historical Society is one of four organizations in town taking part in the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the town and are taking orders on a special coin that has been designed.

Hopefully our building will soon be accepting gifts and trying to have a permanent display of Andover in its beginnings.

by Gertrude Percival [1979]

Source: Andover: The First 175 Years, Prepared by the Andover Friday Club, Andover, ME, (1979), pp 187-189. Reprinted with permission of current owner, The Andover Educational Fund, Inc.

Copyright 1998 by Robert A. Spidell, All Rights Reserved

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