Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 1, 2012

Dalton column: Living in Andover 100 years ago


The Lawrence labor troubles had many sympathetic followers in Andover. An example was shown in a Townsman story that said “50 Italians at Tyer Rubber stopped work for an hour," as a show of support for the Lawrence strikers. On the other hand, a maximum 54 hour-a-week law went into effect for the employment of women and minors.

In Andover, a factory belonging to Tyer Rubber began construction of a bigger plant on Railroad Street on the former site of Niotis Club field. The automobile tire business was expanding rapidly, and it was predicted that the company's growth would continue. If this isn't evidence enough that the automobile was coming into its own, there was an advertisement by a man from Boston who was selling his 15 horses – “all in good shape” - because he was replacing them with automobile trucks.

However, Andover was still mostly rural with farmland dominating the landscape. An advertisement said, "Found – a sheep. Owner can have same by proving property and paying charges on same. Apply to John Entwistle, West Andover." Another ad said, "Peter Dugan is my name/For sweeping chimneys I have a great fame…$2 per flue. Residence: Highland Road." A story noted that John Traynor, a Frye Village fish dealer, was well known around town, and anyone who had ever heard his cry "fish" would never forget it. Another, more important story, said that there was much excitement in the center sections of town on account of several mad dogs running loose. Two were killed and evidence of hydrophobia (rabies) was discovered. Other dogs were believed to have been bitten.

Temperance, which would lead to Prohibition in 1920, was a nationwide issue constantly in the news. Locally, the Townsman front page often included such items as Frank Cotter being arrested for drunkenness and “sent to Bridgewater the next day”; a mechanic at the Tyer factory “was arrested for drunkenness as he was found asleep on the lawn in the center of town. No charges were brought.” A bigger news story was about a riot of 25 to 30 drunken Abbott Village men returning to Andover on the last Saturday night trolley from Lawrence. They were rowdy and insulting to many people around them and several attacked Andover police officer Napier, who had his nose broken. Temperance was even mentioned in advertisements. The Commonwealth Hotel, opposite the State House, offered, “Rooms with hot and cold water for $1 per day and up, including use of public shower baths. Rooms with private baths $1.50 a day. Suites $4 and up. Absolutely Fireproof. Strictly a Temperance Hotel."

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