Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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February 21, 2013

Andover Stories: Town of Joiners, part I

(Continued)

Several lodges were also formed to preserve the culture of its homeland. Clan MacDonald and Clan Johnston celebrated their Scottish heritage; the Ancient Order of Hibernians celebrated the Irish; American Hellenic Progressive Association celebrated Greek culture, and the Sons of Italy brought together Italian-Americans. Ballardvale had a German Club as early as 1885.

Not to be left out, early on the women of town formed an important part of these groups. The Women’s Relief Corps was an auxiliary of the Grand Army. The Rebekahs was a sister organization to the Odd Fellows, forming in 1904. The Pythian Sisters organized in 1914 and the Eastern Star, sisterhood of the Masons, was founded in 1922. Clan Johnston sponsored a Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Halls and meeting spaces for these groups were scattered throughout downtown and the area. The Masons gathered on the third floor of the old bank building for most of the 1800s. Other lodges met in spaces in downtown businesses, including the Musgrove Building. Here, at various times, were the VFW and Royal Arcanum. The Buchan & McNally Building, 24-30 Park St., hosted at one time the Knights of Columbus and the United Workmen. The GAR Hall was on Essex Street, and the Grange Hall, originally built near the entrance to West Parish Cemetery, eventually settled on Shawsheen Road in the space behind West Parish Church.

In 1923, six fraternal organizations purchased the three-story Morrison Block on Park Street, renovating it and naming it the Andover Fraternal Building. These lodges were the Odd Fellows, Clan Johnston, Knights of Pythias, Indian Ridge Rebekah Lodge, the Clan Auxiliary and the Pythian Sisters.

The remodeled space included a “large lodge room, banquet hall, regalia room, card room, model kitchen and toilets.” This structure was torn down in 1965 to make way for the new business block at 40 Park St.

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