Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

January 30, 2014

Andover's town seal tells many stories

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The Town Hall project behind them, the work accomplished by Gilbert, Sherman and Galassi in the ensuing years continues to leave a lasting mark on today’s Andover and far beyond.

Gilbert designed the West Parish vestry and Junior High Memorial Auditorium. Hired by William Wood, he designed Orlando Cottage, now the Lanam Club, for Wood’s son, William Wood Jr.

Sherman later worked as paymaster at Wood’s company, American Woolen, and was active in town theater productions.

Galassi did important work on prominent public and private buildings, including the statehouses in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire and several city halls.

Since the creation of our town seal in the early 1900s, and the efforts that preceded those, the design has been interpreted by many. It has been studied and discussed among local historians and drawn by town school children. Its evolution reflects the subtle changes the seal has undergone over time.

The changes have not come without some much-discussed controversy. The headdress worn by Cutshumache appears to be a war bonnet of a Plains Indian rather than one worn by tribes here in Massachusetts. The headdress on the seal designed by Andover High School student Kristoffel Meulan for the town’s 350th celebration is said to be more accurate.

A year ago, the seal found a new medium — and a new audience to embrace. The Andover Veteran Services Department created a challenge coin honoring those veterans from town who have helped veteran-related causes here at home.

Challenge coins carry a meaningful tradition among many veterans. Struck on one side of the Andover coin is the town seal; the other side reads, poignantly, “Andover Veteran – Proudly Served.” It is a fitting tribute indeed to those who served our town and nation.

So as you walk down Main Street or around Town Hall and see our town seal, pause for a moment to take it all in. It tells a great and enduring story.

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