#59 - 19 Johnson St. Firehouse, N. Andover, 1851
North Andover Firehouse is Greek Revival-style design
The current exhibit at the North Andover Historical Society details the development of the Common in the Old Center by the North Andover Improvement Society. One picture shows the firehouse, which once stood across from the North Parish Church. The Improvement Society moved the firehouse to Johnson Street in order to extend the Common to Andover Street.
The Johnson Street site is now the home of the Cochichewick Lodge, A.F.& A.M. so this seemed a simple story of how an outdated firehouse became a Masonic Temple. But when I checked with Robert Hull of the Lodge and John McQuire, who knows the history of the North Andover Fire Department, the take grew more complicated.
The station had been built in 1851, when Captain Stevens donated $800 with the stipulation that the firehouse not be moved more than a 1/4 mile from the site. Built by Jacob Chickering, it was a generous size, housing the pumpers and providing meeting space on the second floor. The horses who pulled the pumpers were brought to the firehouse by neighbors when the bells rang in the church and mill towers.
The men in this photograph have names familiar in North Andover history: Dale, Spofford, Farnum, and Stevens. Warren Stevens stand to the right, with a cane and tall hat, his hand on his hip.
(important line missing here - jgr) The lot, bought for $35., was beside the Brick Store, just over a quarter of a mile away. The extra distance was overlooked, and in 1882, the firehouse was relocated. There it stood, fire station for the Old Center, for 23 more years. What happened next must be saved for the next column.
(and the next column seems to be missing too. Sorry, I'll fix it! jgr)