Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 1, 2012

What it was like to live here 100 years ago


Within a few years, my father’s family moved into a house next to the Rhodeses, and my father and his siblings thought of Mr. Rhodes as a father to them.

It didn’t take long for my grandmother to reciprocate the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes by buying goods from him when he became the main supplier of the bakery. When I look through my grandmother’s ledger, there was hardly a day that went by that he didn’t supply the bakery with fresh goods, and my grandmother did the same for Mr. Cole by placing advertising in the Townsman. It was no wonder that my father lived by the credo that you do business with those who do business with you.

It was a presidential election year in 1912, and labor unrest throughout the Northeast was centered in Lawrence, leading to the Bread and Roses Strike, which was a national news story. One such story, carried by the Townsman, said, “Warlike preparations were being carried out in Lawrence. Sharpshooters were at the Atlantic Mill, stationed at windows of the plant, because a large quantity of dynamite is said to have been purchased for the strikers.” John N. Cole, editor of the Townsman, condemned the Lawrence strikers and especially the I.W.W., known as the “Wobblies,” who were, at the least, socialists and, at the most, communists and subversives.

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.

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