Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 11, 2012

Townsman to turn 125 this Sunday


Fire Station – The fire department in 1887 consisted of five fire engineers, 16 members of Andover Steamer No. One; and 16 members of J.P. Bradlee Steamer No. Two. There were 10 members of B.F. Smith Hook and Ladder Co. The station claimed about 3,300 feet of usable hose and another “ten-hundred feet which cannot be depended upon.” Two engine houses were valued at $12,000 and fire apparatus was valued at the same amount. Each year, town meeting voted specifically on firemen’s wages, and set them at 50 cents an hour –but only when working.

Library — Memorial Hall Library in 1887 had 10,208 books and circulation reached 22,199. “1,083 overdue notices were sent to the good people of Andover, and fines totaling $47.84 were collected.” “Of interest is the fact that the Andover Townsman became a popular journal, as two copies of that newly born newspaper were taken from the Reading Room and not returned in 1888 the following year.”

Police — Forty-nine arrests were made by Andover police in 1887, according to the report of Chief George F. Cheever. Fourteen of these arrests were for assault, seven for drunkenness, six for “malicious mischief” Other arrests involved transportation or illegal sales of liquor. Chief Cheever strongly recommended that a regular officer for night patrol be hired, and that a police station or headquarters be established at or near the town house.

Schools — Public Schools were flourishing 125 years ago — there were many of them in the town and all were crammed. Punchard Free School Administrators were setting higher standards for its nearly 90 students in the 1886-87 year. Students had to attain an average of 60 percent or better in each subject to be admitted. Students at that time came from the 10th grade in the public schools and most ended their education at the 10th grade level. “It is also noteworthy at this time that Punchard offered two courses — the General course for those preparing for MIT or other technical schools, and the English course — for those whose stay in school might be for a shorter time, and who would not be going on to higher education.” In 1887, $2,500 was appropriated to buy the “Towle” land for a school site on Bartlet street. Schools took the largest single chunk of the town’s appropriation for the year. At some point around this time, someone dropped a “t” from the Bartlett street of long ago. “Old maps indicate that the street was spelled like the pear — Bartlett.”

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