Andover Historic Preservation

2 NORTH MAIN ST2 north main st (click to enlarge)


architectural description


Built in Second Empire style and "updated" in Colonial Revival style.

1927-28: altered and enlarged by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot [162,500] - mansard roof removed, windows altered. Victorian roof line modified to Georgian design.

historical narrative

Themes: Architectural, community development, education, military

Town of Andover's first public or free town library.
Total cost of building and grounds $43,000, including $200 (J.F. Eaton, architect) and $29,750 (Abbot & Jenkin Builders)

John Smith, a Scotish immigrant, was a founder & manager of Smith & Dove Co. which manufactured flax thread. His position on anti-slavery was uncompromising. He was a delegate of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and one of the leaders in the secession from West Church to found The Free Christian Church, and he was active in the Underground Railway in Andover. During a vacation in Scotland, he wrote his son, Joseph, July 2, 1870: "You mention in your last letter received here that there was nothing yet done with lots up town where the buildings were burned. I have thought the corner lot where Joseph Abbott shop stood, would be a fine place for a Memorial Hall to be built upon." He pledged $25,000, "that sum to be matched by other subscriptions, the land and building not to exceed $30,00, with $20,000 to be invested for the library's upkeep".

Aug. 1, 1870: John Dove and Peter Smith added $10,000 to the sum pledged by their partner, "provided the town will purchase the lot of land on the corner of Main and Essex Streets, owned by Herman Abbott, where the buildings were recently destroyed by fire."

Rev. John L. Taylor served as chairman of the building committee. George H. Torr was in charge of the ground plan. John Byers of New York gave $3,000 for books in memory of Peter Smith Byers, first principal of Punchard Free School. Samual Raymond, treasurer of the committee, also served as superintendent of erection of building. Needing more funds, the committee remembered that in April,1866 following the Civil War, the town had voted to raise $4,500 for a soldiers' monument. Although the project had been shelved, those funds were now availible for Memorial Hall, and appropiate for use.

When it was evident, as building was underway, that more land would be required, John Smith pledged $5,000 more [April 19, 1871] and his partners gave $550 each to meet the purchase price of the land of John Cornell and the heirs of Edward Merrill. Other citizens also contributed generously and the Memorial Hall was opened May 1, 1873. Ballard Holt 2nd, served as first librarian and janitor

The second floor was kept as a Civil War Memorial Room, the town's loyal Union dead inscribed in marble and relics and records housed there.

According to state law, revenues from day licenses were applied to library needs. [catalog of Memorial Hall Library. 1874]


1) Catalogue of the Memorial Hall Library, Andover, Mass. 1874.
2) Brooks, Phillips. An Address Delivered May 30, 1873 at the Dedication of the Memorial Hall. Andover, 1873
3) (Carpenter, Charles C.] Historical Sketch of The Memorial Hall, Andover Mass. Lawrence: Merrill & Crocket, 1873.
4) Memorial Hall Library: Report of the celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dedication. Sunday, May 27, 1923.
5) Memorial Hall Library Centenniel, 1873-1973, edited by Nancy Jacobson
6) Smith, John. Historical Sketch of Memorial Hall, Andover, Mass. Lawrence: Merrill & Crockeet. 1873
7) Smith, Mary Byers. "Founding of Memorial Hall Library Andover Mass". Essex Institute Historical Collection, 79. [1943] Salem. pp. 246-255
8) MSS documents, records at Memorial Hall Library
9) Lawrence American. Dec. 23, 1870

See 1980 National Register Nomination for updated information

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 2 NORTH MAIN ST
Place: Andover Center
Historic District: Individual National Register Listing
Address: 2 north main st
Historic Name: Bird Watchers, Memorial Hall Library
Present Use: Library
Original Use: Civil War Memorial/public library
Date of Construction: cornerstone laid Sept. 19, 1871
Source: Catalogue of Memorial Hall Library, 1874
Style/Form: Colonial Revival
Architect/Builder: J.F. Eaton/Abbot & Jenkins Builders
Wall/Trim: Brick trimmed in granite
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures
Major Alterations: 1927-28 - Colonial Revival alterations 1961 - Children's room added and enlarged 1965- 66 Miriam Putman reading room addition adjacent to Essex Street.
Acreage: less than one acre
MHC inventory number: ANV.959
Recorded by: Stack Mofford
Organization: Andover Historical Commission
Date: August, 1977

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