With the number of citizens actively involved in these organizations, it’s no wonder their influence spilled over into the running of the town. Many of the town fathers were members of several groups, but none more so than Selectman Frank Hardy. At various times, Mr. Hardy showed membership in the Odd Fellows, the Indian Ridge Rebekah Lodge, the Royal Arcanum, the Andover Grange and the Andover Masons.
It was this last group – the Masons – that reflected strong ties to the business community and, by extension, strong influence over town politics. Of the 85 selectmen since 1855, over 30 percent have held memberships in Masonic Lodges. The Square and Compass Club, originally located at the corner of High and Elm streets, was a social club for Master Masons. Long-time Town Moderator Jim Doherty shared a once popularly-held belief: “Decisions on town government were made Saturday night at the Square & Compass Club, finalized at South Church the next morning, and executed at the selectmen’s meeting Monday night.”
Next Week: The Farmers, the Veterans and Other Histories