Andover Historic Preservation

5 ARGILLA RD5 argilla rd (click to enlarge)


architectural description


Wainscotting; "Indian wall"; pedimented vestibule

historical narrative

Original owner: Thomas Abbot, son of George "the Immigrant". Themes: Architectural, Agricultural.

This house, along with the Benjamin Abbot and Ballard-Foster houses, are situated in what was once known as "Happy Hollow". In 1900, George F Baker, road commisioner who lived here, named the street for his ancestral one at Ipswich; Argilla Road from the Latin for clay.

The house is said to contain an early room (kitchen) older than any in the Benjamin Abbot house, dating from 1671. There is the huge central chimney of First Period architecture, this one built on a large rock of hand made brick chimney; 5 fireplaces; wainscotting throught the house and H&L hinges. Some of the walls are insulated with birch bark and one room has a brick exterior wall, protection against Indian attack. The house is said to be built on two sets of sills placed on the ground; one set for floor timbers and one for wall uprights.

Thomas Abbot bought 1662 land "Westerly side of Shawsheen, Northerly side of the road together with The Mansion House and barn in together with the same with tan house and tan fats and all buildings..."from Job Tyler, whom the original Andover propietors found occuping it. Tyler supposedly received this acreage as a land grant from King James I in 1621. Thomas Abbot II, brother of Benjamin, whose land this adjoins, acquired the land through inheritance and built here in 1697. What became of the original "Mansion House", and whether or not, Thomas built onto or out of this structure is not certain. It is assumed however, that the early kitchen, was part of the Tyler structure. Three Thomas Abbots lived here in succession, until in 1797, the estate was purchased by Dr. Symond Baker, physician at Andover and Methuen, whose second wife was Lydia Gray of Andover. His son, David Baker, a founder of the anti-slavery Free Christian Church, inherited and it went to George Frost Baker, then to his daughter Ina Baker White, mother of the present owner Sidney White.
He restored it, particularly after the house was damaged by fire Sept. 20, 1941. The original barn burned in 1931 and he replaced it with a new one keeping with the architectural character of the house.

Preservation restriction filed with the Essex County Registry of Deeds/Lawrence
Building marker 1993


Andover Historical Society Files
Lawrence Eagle Tribune. May 29, 1946
Goldsmith, Bessie. Historical Houses in Andover, Mass.. Compiled for the Tercentenary 1946
Glennie, George, et al. Historic Andover; 325th Anniversary, 1646-1971
Andover deed, 1797, Abbot to Baker, Salem.
Dorman, Moses. Map of Andover,1830.

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 5 ARGILLA RD
Place: West Andover
Historic District: Individual National Register Listing
Address: 5 argilla rd
Historic Name: Abbot, Thomas - Baker, Dr. Symonds House
Present Use: residence
Original Use: farmhouse
Date of Construction: 1685
Source: style-njs
Style/Form: First Period
Architect/Builder: The builder's brother who lived next door was by trade and training a carpenter.
Foundation: Fieldstone
Wall/Trim: Clapboards
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures Large barn, after 1931 fire.
Major Alterations: Restored by present owner after 1939
Acreage: 6.37 acres
MHC inventory number: ANV.45
Recorded by: Stack/Mofford
Organization: Andover Historical Commission
Date: August, 1977

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