Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 1, 2012

What it was like to live here 100 years ago


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.” 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.

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 with the Commonwealth Hotel, opposite the State House, noting it was “Strictly a Temperance Hotel.”

Another transcending issue was woman’s suffrage, and although the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the vote wasn’t passed until 1919, the Townsman noted that women in Sweden gained suffrage in 1912.

Although the electric light and telephones were becoming more common, most homes in Andover were still without them. The Merrimack Insurance Co., located in the bank building, advertised, “to prevent fires use brackets to keep curtains from gas flames and use globes over the flames as protection from fire.” Telephones were catching on a bit more quickly than electric lights, and the value of business telephones was advertised by New England Telephone and Telegraph Company: “Every Bell telephone is a long distance station.”

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