Andover Historic Preservation

204 ANDOVER ST204 andover st (click to enlarge)


architectural description


historical narrative

Asa Abbot had saw - mill here in the 1750s. By 1790s Timothy Ballard owned mill privelages which were bought by John Marland, 1835. Here on site of old saw and grist mill, an inventive and ambitious industrialist founded the Ballardvale Woolen Mills, acting as its manager, treasurer and agent. In Feb. 25, 1836, Marland, Abraham Gould and Mark N. Neman formed its corporation with stock of $64,000. The brick mill was built at this time, 1835. Woolen yarns were made by double spinning, first time this process had been used in North America, used for weaving of white flannels. Marland also experimented briefly with silk production. In 1842 the company purchased worsted machinery from England and first piece of worsted made in U.S. by power machinery. 1844, Marland built wooden mill for manufacture of worsted goods. 1847, built Ballardvale Machine shop. 1848, John Marland built locomotives for railroad; made shoes and carriages (stone mill-hauling stone 4 miles through woods). By 1848 there were two large mills, store houses and smaller frame buildings. In 1859, the worsted part of the mill was leased to Marland's brother-in law, Jeremiah Young, who produced flannels until 1866, when the corporation became a private enterprise. Young moved the business of flannels to Lawrence, 1853, where he was first treasurer of Pacific Mills. Thus, the 1844 wooden structure built for manufacture of worsteds was then used for flannels. 1855, Whipple File Co. acquired this building (made steel files, first successfully produced by machinery) (now burned). Marland went bankrupt in 1857 and Captain Josiah Bradlee took over management, with James Shaw his superintendent. By 1866 Bradlee was sole proprietor (at this time also known as Bradlee mills), and he brought Ballardvale flannels to world fame, employing 200 hands. He was with the mill over 50 years and did much to develop Ballardvale; amusement center, concerts, at Bradlee Mills; library. Local school named for him. When he died in 1887 he left over a million dollars to his sister, who died the following year. Jones, Strong and Hodgkins took over mills, followed by Joseph Shaw. In 1926, Ballardvale Mills liquidated and in 1927, taken over by Phillip French, who used building as headquartes for Northern Rubber Co. This went out of business 1950s and buildings tenanted since.

C. Lincon Giles planned 1961 renovations for diversified industry but "retained design of original".

Recently' 'Applied Microwave Laboratory'
1835 . . . Mill is intact, although skylight in pitch of roof have
been shingled over and original cupola removed. This is 4
stories high; brick.
Outbuildings (Picker House, wheel, engine, boiler house have
been removed. Two large wooden structures about 200 ft.
north of 1835 mill are intact.
1842 . . Marland built another large mill, first floor of granite;
upper two stories of wood; pitch roof; dormer windows and
skylight have been removed. Wooden parts of the mill now
covered with asbestos shingles.
Mill and wheel house, also dating from 1842, is intact - as is
boiler - engine house and dye - house, 1871.

Recently, used by P. W. Moody Company.

1848 . . Wool storehouse of uncoursed granite rubble und brick; two-storied; ridge roof; brick dentil work on gable ends.

1889 . . Nearly identical storehouse across street from 1848 structure. Stone foundation; brick wall cover.


Andover/North Andover Historical Society files

Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Aug 2. 1961

Bailey, Sarah Loring; Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880

Business History of Andover - Anniverary Souvenir No. of the Andover Townsman, May 20, 1896, pg. 12 - 15

K. E. Foster, ed. Lamb's Textile Industries of the U. S. (Boston, 1916 ) vol. 11

Insurance Survey # 788; "Ballardvale Mills" MVTM

Molloy, Peter; 'Lower Merrimack River Valley; Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites (Washington, 1976)

1992 Andover Preservation Award

Also see HAER Inventory notes

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 204 ANDOVER ST
Place: Ballardvale
Historic District: Not Applicable
Address: 204 andover st
Historic Name: Ballardvale Mill Complex
Present Use: industrial
Original Use: industrial
Date of Construction: 1836
Style/Form: Greek Revival
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures
Major Alterations:
Condition: fair to good (1977)
Acreage: 1.04 acres
MHC inventory number: ANV.37
Recorded by: Stack/Mofford
Organization: Andover Historical Commission
Date: 1975 - 1977

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