Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 30, 2013

Open invitation: Wealthy mill owner's family home on tour

Wealthy mill owner's family home on tour

By Judy Wakefield

---- — Appropriately enough, the private home of wealthy mill owner William Wood of Andover is tucked in the woods on his family property and can’t be seen from the road.

But at this weekend’s Gates and Gables house tour benefit for the Andover Historical Society, the doors to Wood’s private home will be open to visitors.

The home, built in 1794 and located on Lowell Street behind the mill magnate’s park, is among six Andover homes featured on this year’s tour, which steps out on Saturday.

The popular event, held every two years, promises to show off a variety of architecture, prized collections and colorful decor styles from the 1800s through the 20th century, said Elaine Clements, executive director of the Andover Historical Society.

The Andover Historical Society has hosted the Gates and Gables house tour as well as its Daisies & Dogwoods Garden tours since 1998 and they are always well-received, Clements said.

“House and garden tours seem to appeal to people in a few ways,” she said. “Curiosity is a big draw. People may have driven past a certain house, or heard about a particular neighborhood or town, and like the opportunity to see the interiors and backyards. These are typically private spaces, so there’s a bit of a peeking-behind-the-curtain appeal as well.”

The house tour typically mixes old and new homes to appeal to idea-seekers.

“The other big draw that I hear from tour participants is an opportunity to gather new ideas for their own homes. It’s seeing it in person rather than on the glossy pages of a magazine that is appealing,” she said.

“Photographs, no matter how well staged and lit, aren’t the same as being in a space and seeing how the light plays across a floor or how the volume of a room feels.”

The Wood home has recently been undergoing renovations by local designer/builder Thomas Childs. This year’s tour also includes two Colonial-style houses recently updated by the firm Verdeco Designs, LLC. The work of architect Joanna Reck will also be on display in a home fashioned after the late Greek/picturesque style.

“That’s all I can say about the tour as I can’t give it all away,” Clements said.

If you go What: Gates and Gable House Tour presented by the Andover Historical Society When: Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Six homes in Andover; headquarters and our maps at the society, 97 Main St. How: Advance tickets $20 for society members, $25 for non-members; all tickets are $30 the day of the tour; order tickets online at or call 978-475-2236