Yet, the gravel paths, the stone bridge, Rogers Brook, numerous bushes, and the trees that survived the hurricanes of 1938 and 1954 lent the Park a decent appearance, even though most citizens used the Park only with their eyes as they drove by. But even some of that view diminished with the death of the brook. It aggravated neighbors by flooding too many times; so, in 1968, draconian Andover executed and buried the brook, which caused the stone bridge to become an amusing, but pretty, bridge to nowhere.
After my childhood, even the Park’s reputation was hurt. In the 1970s and early ’80s, hoodlums with big mouths and loud cars parked at twilight along Whittier Street near the bandstand. (Back then, Whittier went through to Bartlett (historically spelled with two Ts on the end). The punks got high, traded illegal substances, and were loathsome. Finally, a young man was dragged to his death beneath a car, and this dispersed the meetings for good.
In 1984, the story becomes more pleasant. As part of the project that renovated the Town Hall and created the new town offices, the Park was turned into a beautiful place.
Making it even better, nine years ago, veterans’ memorials began to be added. It’s a wonderful place for them, for the Park offers both peaceful times to reflect on our Andover heroes as well as a place for children and adults to play and be entertained.
The goal of the future should be for the Park to continue to bring the whole community together, for that is the spirit for which public parks are made and maintained.
Bill Dalton is a longtime columnist for The Townsman. His email is BillDalton@AndoverTownie.com.