Andover Historic Preservation

23 - 23A CENTRAL ST23 - 23a central st (click to enlarge)

23 - 23a CENTRAL ST

architectural description

Other features: side(?) vestibule entry has blind arches over windows - typical of Andover. Extra windows on either side of door - vestibule. 8 fireplaces, 2 entrances (Brook & Central)

historical narrative

Present owner: Narden, Reginald

Original owner: Jonathan Swift

Themes: Architectural, Commerce, Community development

Historical significance: Extract of letter 1795: "Mr. swift has raised his house and partly boarded it, which is all that's new among us that I can think of". Jonathan Swift's holdings took in much land between Main and Central Street. His inventory includes barn, cottage, tannery, mowing lot, and house.
His widow, silence, died 1817, after selling to her nephew, Dr. Nathaniel Swift. Nathaniel, born Dorchester, 1778, studied medicine under Joseph Kitteredge (North Andover), 1803. He married Sarah Abbot, daughter of Timothy. He was aNotary Public, Justice of the Peace, Coroner, and director of Essex Bank. After 1820, until his death, he served as post-master, appointed by John quincy Adams. Postal business took place in the north room of his house until 1828, when moved to Main Street (building later burned). His sons served as clerks, and son Jonathan inherited this house. In 1884, house occupied by Mrs. Jonathan Swift and Dr. Richards. Florence Swift and trustees of Kate Swift owned in 1946.

House owned by Ermal Hill, 1952; Erma Lory Hill estate: John and William Hill, 1963, followed by John Hill.

"fine example of a type of vestibule, with small, overarched, side windows, distinctive and local to Andover" (Le Boutillier). These were most likely a later addition and can be seen also at Rose Cottage's outer vestibule. Arches over windows are not only evident in Swift house vestibule but can be seen at sheds or attached carriage house in rear. The carved moulding having survived renovation from stables and carriage house to garage. The house features corner trim, pediments on both door-ways and a unique monitor roof - elaborate trim.


National Register of Historic Places (7 Oct 1982)

building marker: (1993)

Andover Historical Society files
Andover Advertiser, July 24, 1858
Goldsmith, Bessie: "Townswoman's Andover", 1964, pg. 104 **
Le Boutillier, Addison: "Early Wooden Architecture in Andover", Andover Townsman, (9 Sep. 1976)

** Historical Houses in Andover, Mass. 1946

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 23 - 23a CENTRAL ST
Historic District: Central Street NRH District
Address: 23 - 23a central st
Historic Name: Jonathan Swift House
Present Use: residence - 1 - 4 room apartment
Original Use: residence; subsequent uses: Doctor's office after 1817. Post office 1820 - 1828. Printing office of Galen Ware for several years.
Date of Construction: 1795
Source: Andover Historical Soc. Files
Style/Form: Georgian
Wall/Trim: wood clapboards
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures stable attached
Major Alterations: garage razed (1967)
Acreage: Lot size: 25,996 sq. ft.; Approx. frontage: Central - 125', Brook - 223'.
MHC inventory number:
Recorded by: Stack/Mofford
Organization: Andover Historical Commission
Date: 1975 - 1977

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