Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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February 13, 2014

HISTORY DESTROYED

'Suspicious' blaze at 1860s wagon shop on Wood Estate

(Continued)

Childs said he walked into it only once, but what he saw inside was enough to leave a lasting impression. The interior harkened to the building’s use as a theater and entertainment venue for William Wood’s employees in Shawsheen Village.

“The stage was still intact. The curtains were still there, and I think there were some playbills still on the floor,” Childs said. “They just closed it up after a performance and never used it again.

“It was a throwback in time.”

In the years since, the windows had been boarded up. Entrances were padlocked, and the building fell into a perpetual state of disrepair, according to Childs.

“Part of the roof was caving in, and it was structurally unstable,” he said. “It probably would have needed razing. I had had some discussions with Rose about it, but no course of action was ever decided on.”

Rosalyn Wood agreed the building was in very poor condition.

“It was derelict,” she said Monday night. “It was going to be a tear-down anyway.”

While Wood still owns the 63-acre estate, she entered into a conservation restriction with the Trustees of Reservations about six years ago for 55 acres of the property. Under the restriction, the land can never be developed.

It is believed that the buildings on the property are still owned by Wood.

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