Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 18, 2012

Dalton column: Bandstand's ups and downs

The Bandstand in the Park has had ups and downs, but this is the norm for most structures humans build, for, unlike us, the structures we make often have long-lasting rejuvenations.

Like the bandstand, Andover’s Old Town Hall and Town Office Building are good examples. The former was once believed to be so ugly and run-down that most townspeople wanted to tear it down, and the inability of the town to agree on a place to build a municipal building was the only thing that saved it. However, by the 1980s the Town Hall became precious to us, as our tastes changed, and we voted to rehabilitate it. The Town Office Building began as Punchard High School in 1917, but four decades later it was abandoned when the high school moved to Shawsheen Road. The old Punchard Building began filling up with the overflow from the Town Hall, but it became shabby inside until the late 1980s, when the town fixed it up and it became the “Andover Town Offices.”

Back in 1913, nine years after the Park was created, Town Meeting voted $1,000 for a bandstand at the new park; however, $500 was to be used for entertainment, so the other $500 was for the bandstand’s construction. Most of the outside was built of the same kind of fieldstone that makes up the stone bridge a few yards away, and the bottom half of the bandstand is a tool shed.

The bridge was built in 1906, and it spanned Roger’s Brook. A small pond was created a few yards south of the bridge, northeast of where the bandstand would be built, but the pond didn’t last long because it smelled and often overflowed like Roger’s Brook. In the 1960s, Roger’s Brook was encased in cement and grassed over.

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