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Suburb 20 miles north of Boston in western Essex County, located at the intersection of Interstate 93 and Interstate 495.

Census Data (2000)

Source: U.S. Census Data, 2000. Taken from Town of Andover Website, www.town.andover.ma.us.

History

Andover is an upper-/middle-class town. Most people commute to Boston for work, though some commute to other suburbs or even reverse commute to points north. The town was founded in 1646, and consisted of present-day Andover and North Andover. The North Parish and South Parish became the two commercial foci of the town, and in 1855 the town split in half, the North Parish becoming North Andover and the South Parish becoming Andover. There was some debate about this, as the North Parish was the site of original settlement (while development in the South Parish developed later around Ballardvale), while the South Parish had the greater population. Eventually, the South Parish won out. This is why on signs into North Andover read EST (established) 1646, while entrance signs to Andover read INC (incorporated) 1646. Some New England semantics hard at work.

In the seventeenth century, Andover grew as a Puritan community, even taking part in the Salem Witch Trials of 1690, actually executing more accused witches than Salem Village itself. In the eighteenth century, the first private school in North America, Phillips Academy, was founded by Samuel Phillips. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington allegedly trained troops on what is now the Phillips Academy quad.

In the nineteenth century, Andover grew in size, eventually splitting as mentioned previously. Andover had a strong abolitionist history, being the home Harriet Beecher Stowe and the site of several stops on the Underground Railroad, especially in the older houses around P.A. The Industrial Age took the entire Merrimack Valley by storm, with the foundation of the neighboring cities of Lawrence and Lowell. Within the town limits, several mills were built in two different clusters: Ballardvale and Shawsheen Village. Shawsheen Village was split in half: Brick Shawsheen housed the owners and supervisors of the mills (much like the Belvidere region of Lowell), while Gray Shawsheen (? It may be called "Slate") housed the workers. At this time, many Irish, Italians, and French Canadians moved into Lawrence, some moving into Andover. Irish and Italians, together with English, make up the largest ethnicities in the town today.

The twentieth century saw the true growth of the town. Many Andover men and women served in both World Wars. By mid-century, the town had grown to a population of 8,000. Around this time the textile industry started moving South, abandoning Lawrence and Lowell (the latter of which has recently regenerated considerably). Luckily for Andover, the construction of I-93 and I-495 in the late 1950's helped make the town a choice location for professionals from Boston. The latter half of the twentieth centry saw the town quadruple in growth, from a semi-rural, semi-industrial area to a residential location of choice. Currently housing prices in the area are sky high. Industries have grown along the two highway corridors, with major employers in town being Gilette, Wyeth, Raytheon, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Vicor, and the northeastern node of the Internal Revenue Service.

Andover Schools

Andover schools are first-rate, having consistently high MCAS and SAT scores. Most people refer to Phillips Academy when they say "Andover", but Andover High School is also a perfectly good place. Famous graduates include:

Famous Phillips Academy graduates include:

There is one other secondary school in Andover, namely Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical School, aka "The Voke".

Additional Information

All in all, Andover's an all right town to be from. It's definitely getting way too upscale and pricey, but then, most of Massachusetts is. Growing up, the major complaint was that there's "nothing to do". A Youth Center has been promised for a long time (back in 1993 I think it first was). But this might be a blessing in disguise, as many bored kids start up bands, write, or have some other creative outlet. One major problem is driving around. Driving around anywhere in Massachusetts is bad, but in Andover it is excruciating, given the number of trophy wives driving Escalades at 25 mph everywhere. The downtown is definitely nice, though, even if it is mostly banks.

Andover has two museums: the Andover Historical Society and the Addison Gallery of Fine Art at Phillips Academy. The latter has paintings by many famous American artists, including Winslow Homer. It's definitely worth a visit.


Neighborhoods in Andover:

  • Andover Center
  • Ballardvale
  • Shawsheen Village
  • West Andover
  • Rose Glen

There are two train stations on the Haverhill-Reading Line of the MBTA commuter rail: Andover (Zone 5) and Ballardvale (Zone 4).

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