An old, very enlarged aerial photograph of Andover from 1940 had a serious job when it hung in a local downtown real estate office as it showed potential home buyers where a home was located in town.
Home locations may be found much more easily and digitally today - 76 years later - but this large aerial photograph of yesteryear has very special meaning to the local family who just restored it and donated it to South Church on Central Street.
The family of Barbara Garey Moody, who died on April 9, 2015 at age 83, has donated the huge enlarged photographic mural and took part in a special dedication ceremony held in Fellowship Hall at the church, last Sunday.
“We had it specially mounted and restored. It took seven guys to get it in the church. It weighs 250 pounds,” said Moody’s husband, Richard “Dick” Moody, 91, a lifelong Andover resident who added a time capsule to the back of what he calls a very large mural. “Future people in town will benefit from this story.”
The couple were longtime church members. His late wife had an extra special connection to the aerial photograph and the family wanted to do something special to mark the one-year anniversary of Barbara’s death. The Moodys have four children and several grandchildren.
“Barbara found this picture to be a great conversation starter with newcomers to the church,” Dick Moody said. “Her mission was to make all feel welcome at South Church. Everyone loved her.”
Mrs. Moody’s father, DeMelle G. Garey of Reading, matted, mounted and framed the photograph which was taken by aerial photographer Hugh Innis Chenye, Jr. of Methuen, in 1940. Eventually enlarged, the photograph hung in the office of W. Shirley Barnard’s real estate and insurance company, located at the corner of Main and Barnard streets in Andover, for years.
The 1946 book for Andover’s 300th birthday, “How it Was How it Is,” notes that “practically every house in town” is shown in the photograph.
Barnard died in 1951. His business was sold and the photograph was donated to South Church. A four-page booklet about the photograph that was available at the dedication ceremony, reports that hundreds of people have seen the enlarged photograph. The Moody family calls it a “beautifully restored keepsake treasure in town.”
Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover worked on the photograph’s restoration. And, Dick Moody said the center did a great job.
“It is a one-of-a-kind mural and an important part of the town’s fabric,” Dick Moody said. “It’s a truly beautiful tribute to Barbara.”