Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 19, 2012

Dalton column: 'Avenue of Flags' and getting home for dinner

Retired Andover Fire Chief Harold Hayes asked if I remembered the "Avenue of Flags." I remembered that Andover used to fly flags pretty much all over the downtown and Shawsheen for patriotic holidays, but I didn't specifically remember the term "Avenue of Flags."

Hayes said that, between 1965 and 1968, he and Walter Potvin, working as the fire-alarm crew of the fire department, installed all the hardware and flag poles on the telephone poles around downtown, including all the poles from Phillips Academy to the Lawrence line on Main Street plus going up some fair distance on Elm, Lowell, Haverhill, and Balmoral streets. They put the flags up for Memorial Day and Independence Day, then removed them after three days and properly stored them.

The numbered flags were the family burial flags of Andover military people who served in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Chief Hayes is retired, now lives in Florida and says he knows the tradition of putting up these flags continued through Town Manager Ken Mahony's days, but the flags became less numerous when another department took the job over from the fire department. "This might have been due the flags getting old or being returned to the owners," said Hayes.

I picked up some additional information on Jim Greeley, the owner of Greeley's Market. The telephone number of Greeley's Market was 1234. This was before dial phones in Andover when we spoke to operators. You'd pick up the phone and an operator would say, "number please"; you'd respond, "1234, please"; and the oper ator would say "thank you." Greeley's number became GReenleaf 5 1234 and now is 978-475-1234. I'm sure it won't be answered at the market, so please don't call it.

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