Andover Historic Preservation

24 RIVER RD24 river rd (click to enlarge)


architectural description

Architectural significance: The Colonial Revival farm complex is one of the most intact in this section of River Road. The house, built in 1928 by New Hampshire builder Adam Fortuna, exhibits profound classical details, including a broad frieze, and dentil cornice. Other details include exposed rafter ends, an enclosed front porcvh with a round-arched central porch entrance, now disused. A broad shed-roof dormer dominates the roof on the west side. The Manchester NH builder, Adam Fortuna, was the uncle of the present owner.

historical narrative

Historical significance: The earliest house at this location was probably constructed at the turn of the 20th century, possible by the butcher Henry P. Lannan (c. 1859 - 1929), who purchased the property in 1904 from Albert A. Hardy, a large landowner in the area.
The present one-and-a-half-story barn was probably built at that time. In the next two decades the house passed through five more owners: Sarah McCann in 1910; Jessie May Smith in 1918; Charles A. Robatur in 1918; Jeremiah Cronin in 1920; and Mansur O. Kerwin in 1921. Thomas S. Tofilszki bought the farm from Kerwin in August 1922, together with an additional six acres of land from Albert Hardy.
The house burnt to the ground in September 1928, three months after the marriage of the Tofilszki's daughter Helen to Paul Fortuna. The present house was completed in January 1929. The garage was built at the same time, according to the assessor's office records.
Thomas Tofilsszki, about 39 years old when he purchased the farm, worked in a paper mill in Lawrence. His son-in-law, Paul Fortuna, who with his wife today own the property was a prominent builder and founding partner of the Mass. Northern Construction Company, responsible for the Lawrence Housing Project about 1941, 40 bridges on the New York State Thuway in the 1950s, and the Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston. The Fortunas raise race horses on the farm; their horse Fun Flight held the track record at Rockingham for 10 years, 1976 - 1985.


Interview with Paul and Helen Fortuna (24 Oct 1987)

Andover Streets Directories. Andover Historical Society.

Essex County Registry of Deeds, Lawrence.

inventory data

Table: Inventory Data for 24 RIVER RD
Historic District: Not Applicable
Address: 24 river rd
Historic Name:
Present Use: Residence
Original Use: Residence
Date of Construction: 1928
Source: Owner; Assessor's Office
Style/Form: Colonial Revival
Architect/Builder: Adam Fortuna, Manchester, NH
Wall/Trim: Clapboard
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures Barn, stable, garage, and 2 sheds
Major Alterations:
Condition: good
Acreage: 1.8 acres; approx. 7 acres, 20-24 River Road
Setting: Farm complex close to road with wodded hillside to rear
MHC inventory number:
Recorded by: Peter H. Stott; Org.: BU OPA
Date: 25 Oct 1987

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