#58 - Barn/Firestation, 78 Maple Ave., Andover, c1840 (03/24/91)

History moves around while waiting for the future

Pieces of our history are not always where they began - our ancestors moved buildings all over, recycling them to new uses when the old ones were not longer relevant. So when Jim Batchelder, Andover native and member of the Preservation Committee of the Andover Historical Society, looked at the 1882 map of Andover (made from a bird's eye view) and saw the fire station on Main Street where the Barcelos building is today, he wondered what had happened to that wood frame, two-story station.

The Historical Society seemed to have no record. But when he went looking and found the fire station behind a house on Maple Avenue, the owners already knew the history of their barn. Not only had the story of the firehouse been passed down from owner to owner, but the evidence was there - horse stalls in the back, the hay door above the large front entry, a curved ceiling on the second floor creating a meeting room for the firemen. The trim on the corner boards, imitating columns, the flat fascia boards under the generous roof overhang, the gentle curve over the windows and doors were appropriate details for a public building in a thrifty New England town in the 1840's - some decoration, Greek Revival in honor of our democracy, but not too much.

Back at the Historical Society, the files revealed a copy of the newspaper, 'The Andover Advertiser', which reports that in early June, 1883, Mr. Cole moved the firehouse to Maple Avenue for use as his barn and carpentry shop. A new brick firehouse had been built for Andover Center behind the building we now call Old Town Hall.

(the Barcelos supermarket was replaced by a 24-hour CVS, sometime in the late 1990s - long the only place in town to buy very last-minute Christmas presents... -ed)

No comments: