Andover Historic Preservation

7 ARGYLE ST7 argyle st (click to enlarge)


architectural description

Five fireplaces, probably original

historical narrative

Building marker #1999
Themes: architectural, community development, military, social/humanitarian

Town farm and workhouse was approved by act of General Court, April 1, 1837. Jacob Chickering, local builder, was commissioned to bring plans and select the site and to visit other towns to view their alms houses. The cost "not to exceed $6,000, exclusive of brick" as the land was owned by the town.

The main building was 3 stories high above the basment with two wings, two stories high, which were later increased at additional cost of $250. Bricks were later obtained from the town's brick yard at Frye Village. Each wing had an imfirmary on first floor and there were three cells in the basment to serve as the town's lock-up. Building also served as a home for Civil War veterans.

After the Boston and Maine Railroad accident of Jan. 6, 1853 in which the son of newly elected President Franklin Pierce was killed, the injured were brought here for treatment as the train jumped the tracks about 300 rods away. In 1921, William M. Wood, then developing Shawsheen Village for employees of American Woolen Co., purchased the town farm for $5,000 - the land had been sold previously by auction.

George Dufton bought ca. 1932 (?) and building was developed and renovated into apartments. In 1941 George F. Dyfton Jr. (died in 1965) purchased the building (perhaps from his father George F. Dufton) and married Virginia and promptly went to serve in the war. Virginia managed the building in his absence until his discharge in 1945. Their daughter Verle was born in 1944 and daughter Nancy in 1950. After George's death in 1965 Virginia again managed the apartment building. In 1968 she married Daniel Crane. They managed the building until 1977 when they sold it to Virginia's daughter Verle and husband William Anderson.

In 1981 Argyle Realty Trust (three couples - Fulton, Wacome and Karner) bought 7 Argyle Street. From 1992 to the present Charles & Barbara Karner are the sole trustees of Argyle Realty Trust. Virginia Crane died in 1994 and Daniel Crane died in the spring of 1998.


Andover Historical Society files
Lawrence Courier: January 11, 1853
Town reports: 1837-39

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 7 ARGYLE ST
Place: Shawsheen Village
Historic District: Shawsheen Village NRH District
Address: 7 argyle st
Historic Name: Andover Town Farm - Almshouse
Present Use: Argyle Apartments
Original Use: Town farm & workhouse
Date of Construction: 1839
Source: And. Hist. Soc. Files
Style/Form: Greek Revival
Architect/Builder: Jacob Chickering
Foundation: masonry
Wall/Trim: brick - 1/3 wood shingles
Roof: asphalt shingle
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures shed, barns
Major Alterations: As apartments (1930's) - addition of 3rd floor for more housing Two-story townhouse above 3 existing garages (1949) 1967
Demolished: yes
Acreage: 36,414 sq. ft.; approx. frontage 288'
MHC inventory number: ANV.51
Recorded by: Stack/Mofford
Organization: Andover Historical Commission
Date: 1975-77

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