Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

November 1, 2012

What it was like to live here 100 years ago

What was it like to live in Andover 100 years ago? I’ve looked over the Andover Townsman from early November 1911, when my mother was born, to the end of 1912, and I think I have a pretty good idea of what it was like.

My father, who was born two weeks before the 20th Century, had a good memory of his childhood, and I spoke often with him of his early years. A hundred years ago he was 12, and he told me that there were lots of fights between boys on and off the school grounds, but there were unwritten rules about fighting fair. There was no kicking or hitting anyone who was down, you could only use your fists, and all fights were one on one, never uneven. These chivalric rules applied to sports as well. He often said that he never liked to see anyone injured on the other team, because he always wanted to win or lose with the best boys on the field.

Townspeople helped other townspeople, and my father’s family were beneficiaries, even though new to Andover. After his father was killed in a train accident in 1909, his mother moved to Andover with her four young children, and townspeople welcomed and helped the newcomers. Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes of 68 Chestnut St. took them under their wings. There was no government support in those days except that the town had an alms house where older people who were destitute and without close relatives might live out their remaining days.

Soon my grandmother owned a bakery called the Metropolitan, and I suspect the Rhodeses might have helped, especially since Mr. Rhodes sold ice cream, ice, and many necessary items to run a bakery.

Editor John N. Cole must also have taken a liking to my grandmother and her children because he regularly mentioned them in his front page news vignettes. For example, “A large number of children and grown-ups stopped before the display window of the Metropolitan and viewed the barley sugar creations in the window.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • AT TAMMY

    Courtesy photo Megan McCann, left, and Melanie Scharn, right, have launched a fundraising campaign to assist Tammy Jusczak, center, a longtime toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in Andover who is battling cancer.

    A bright spot: Co-workers, parents support day-care teacher with cancer Posted 1 day ago 1 Photo
  • AT GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS

    Frances Y.J. Wheeler/Courtesy photo Andover Garden Club welcomes new members, from left, Donna Rudolph, Chris McDermott, Paula Eriksen, Erin Ryan, Debbie Freedman, Anne Collins, Barbara Reichter, Isabel Seely, Caroline Grady and Heather Moody Holman as club president Anne Feeney, left rear, looks on. Fellow new member Linda Shottes Bouchard is missing from the photo.

    Growth spurt for Andover Garden Club Posted 1 day ago 1 Photo
  • AT HOWARD KOH

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 15 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 15 days ago
  • AT HANNAH CURRIE

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 15 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 22 days ago
  • AT BOYS GIRLS CLUB GOLF1

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 22 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT LOCKS SISTERS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 22 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 22 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 29 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks