Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

About us

History of Andover

Andover is located in Essex County, the most northerly county in eastern Massachusetts, about 23 miles north of Boston.

Its western border is the bank of the Merrimack River. Beyond the river are Dracut and Methuen. To the north are Lawrence and North Andover, to the east is North Reading and on the south are Tewksbury and Wilmington. The town has 31.99 square miles of land area.

Andover was originally settled in 1636, under the Indian name of Cochicewick, a waterway in the region. The community was incorporated in 1646 as Andover, named after a town in England where many of the settlers had originated.

From its early days, manufacturing was a major concern. The region's first powder mill was established in 1775; the manufacture of paper began in 1789; and in the early 19th century, woolen mills, a major New England industry of the era, were constructed. While all of these types of manufacturing have since moved elsewhere, Andover continues to attract major industry.

Andover has an open Town Meeting form of government, a unique New England structure that allows all citizens of the community to participate in the its fiancial and business decisions. It is administered by a town manager and five-member board of selectmen. It provides general governmental services such as fire and police protection, garbage and rubbish disposal, sewer and water services, schools for grades k-12, street maintenance, parks, recreation facilities, and library services. Vocational education is provided by the Greater Lawrence Technical High School, located in Andover. The Andover Housing Authority provides programs and housing for the elderly.

Service organizations such as the Andover Village Improvement Society and the Trustees of the Reservation provide conservation and open space acquisition programs.

Andover operates its own water supply, purification and distribution system, and supplies these services to the vast majority of the
community. Sewerage systems are primarily in the central or downtown district, and are administered jointly by the town and the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District, the processor of the waste materials.

The community is bisected by two major highways — Routes 93 and 495 — and a number of lesser highway systems including Routes 28, 133, 114 and 125. Other types of transportations include commuter rail service to the metropolitan Boston area though the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Bus service is provided in the local area by the Merrimack Valley Transit Authority.

Although primarily a residential community, Andover has substantial industry. Interstate Routes 93 and 495, along with the community's proximity to Boston, a major national business district, make Andover a desirable location for many large manufacturing concerns. In particular, Andover has attracted companies involved in national defense contracting, computer hardware and software and the medical products industries. Included among these large concerns are Raytheon, Philips Medical Systems, Digital Equipment Corp., and AT&T Network Systems. Other large companies with facilities in Andover include The Gillette Co., Genetics Institute, Dynamics Research Corp., and Brockway-Smith.

Andover is noted for being the site of one of the oldest and most prestigious independent secondary schools in the U.S. — Phillips Academy. Founded in 1778 by Samuel Phillips, the school today has an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. Notable Andover alumni include New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick; 19th-century poet Oliver Wendell Holmes; Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; former Yale president and commissioner of Major League Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti; MacArthur Fellow Peter Sellars; landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted; inventor Samuel F. B. Morse; artists Frank Stella, Joseph Cornell, and George C. Tooker; authors Edgar Rice Burroughs, Julia Alvarez, and Tracy Kidder; actors Humphrey Bogart, Jack Lemmon, James Spader, and Dana Delany; author and physician Dr. Benjamin M. Spock; and John F. Kennedy Jr.

In 1996, Andover celebrated its 350th anniversary. The theme for this celebration was Home of America. The patriotic song America was written in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith while attending the Andover Theological Seminary.