Posts Tagged ‘walking tours’

Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Pick up a walking tour and explore Andover by foot

The Society has a collection of eight walking tours including Academy Hill, Andover Village, Andover Village Industrial District, Ballardvale, Bancroft School Neighborhood, Central Street, Shawsheen Village, and West Parish.   Did you know that 14 Highvale Lane was built in 1858 as a wedding present for Job Abbot’s daughter who, so the story goes, refused to marry her father’s choice and did not live in the house for many years?

211 Andover Street, Ballardvale (AHS#1987.598.1134)

All eight walking tours are available on the Society’s blog and can be downloaded and printed.  Print copies are available for purchase at the Society for $3 each.  The Society is open every Tuesday through Saturday 10:00-4:00.


Take a walk on the dark side…

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

…the dark side of Boston, that is.

This sounds like a fun thing to do on a crisp fall evening.  Boston By Foot offers “The Dark Side of Boston” walking tours Saturdays at 5:30 pm through October 31.  Why not try a  “…guided walk through misery, misfortune, malevolence, and murder… based on true historical events that have occurred in Boston. Fact is often stranger than fiction.”  Just a few more weeks to check it out!


Guiding yourself through history

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Ready for a change from the beach? Why not try a self-guided tour of a historic area in Essex County?  Essex County is rich in history just waiting to be discovered.  Visit the Essex National Heritage Commission’s website for self-guided trails and tours you can take in your own backyard.  Download a copy of the National Park Service’s guide to Underground Railroad sites.  There a a number of sites right here in Andover that you can discover!  Or print a copy of the African American Heritage Sites brochure and explore a different story of Salem, Mass.    Or drive out to Swampscott with a copy of the Olmsted Historic District tour to learn about Olmsted’s vision for the town.  You can even download Andover walking tours on the Society’s website.



Join us on Sunday June 27 at 1 p.m. for “Stories from the Trails”

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The massive stone walls of the Jenkins' millrace can still be seen from the trail at the AVIS Skug River Reservation.

Join the Andover Trails Committee and the Andover Historical Society this summer for a unique new hike series “Stories from the Trails.”  Each hike, which is free and open to the public, will feature both the natural beauty and unique geology of the featured property, as well as colorful stories of Andover’s history specifically related to each property and the nearby areas.

On Sunday, June 27, we’ll meet at 1 p.m. at the A.V.I.S. Skug River Reservation in Andover, on Salem Street in Andover.  Parking is available in the small reservation lot, with ample additional parking around the corner on Wagon Wheel Road.  Sunday’s hike is approximately 2 miles of fairly level walking, and will take about 2 hours.

Most of the land that now makes up the Skug River Reservation belonged to several generations of the Jenkins family, who dammed the Skug River to power a profitable sawmill and gristmill.  The dam has since washed away, but the massive stone walls of the millrace can still be seen from the trail.  In the middle of the 19th century, William Jenkins and his partners quarried and polished stone on the site and used the mill to cut the locally abundant blue soapstone (a soft, greasy-feeling rock) into tombstones, building faces and other small items.

William Jenkins was also one of Andover’s most ardent Abolitionists.  On our hike, we’ll see the Jenkins farmhouse, which was a station on the Underground Railroad, and a gathering place for William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the famous Hutchinson Family Singers.

The “Stories from the Trails” hike series will continue with hikes on July 25 at the AVIS Goldsmith Woodlands Reservation and on September 12 at Andover’s Pole Hill Reservation.


Skug River Walking Tour

Friday, September 18th, 2009

    Join members of the Andover Historical Society and AVIS on Sunday, Oct. 11th at 1:30 p.m. as we explore the history and natural beauty of the Skug River Reservation. Park at Skug entrance on Salem St. Led by Fred Snell, 978-686-3647,

    The Skug River Reservation is located near Jenkins Road and contains a glacial erratic, an enormous stone. Soapstone, or steatite, once quarried here is a soapy, greasy-feeling rock, very soft and easy to cut. It was used for tombstones, building stone and small carved hand-warming blocks.

    The Skug River got its name from a phonetic misspelling of Skunk. Over 200 years ago, its waters were dammed to power a profitable sawmill and grist mill. The dam has long since washed away, but the massive stone walls of the millrace can still be seen in adjacent Harold Parker State Forest from the Skug River Reservation trail. William Jenkins quarried soapstone here as it contains a glacial erratic, an enormous stone. The quarried soapstone left behind the massive outcropping of wedged rock near the bridge. Mr. Jenkins was also a renowned abolitionist and his home on Jenkins Road was a station for the Underground Railroad and a gathering place for William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The Reservations’ woodlands were once cleared farm fields.


Trails & Sails

Friday, September 11th, 2009

 T&S_LOGOThis year kicks off the 8th annual county wide Trails and Sails event. Due to immense success over the last several years the event has grown to two weekends. Trails and Sails is a series of free events celebrating historical, cultural and natural sites throughout Essex County.

            The Historical Society is thrilled to announce that we will again be participating in this wonderful event. Join us as we present a fascinating tour of ‘Academy Hill’. The Academy Hill National Register Historic District, also known as The Hill, has been home to several nationally renowned educational facilities throughout history and has had a significant impact on the town of Andover as well as the country itself. Join us as we explore this fascinating section of town on Saturday September 19th & 26th. The tour begins at 11:00 am beside the Peabody Museum of Archeology at the corners of Main Street and Phillips Street.


You’re invited to Serio’s Grove!

Saturday, May 16th, 2009



Ready, Set, Walk!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Did you know that the Andover Historical Society has walking tour brochures available for seven different areas in town? Thanks to volunteer Jonah Kellman, these walking tour brochures have been digitally scanned and are now available for download  as pdf files by clicking below:


Academy Hill Walking Tour

Andover Village Industrial District Walking Tour

Andover Village Walking Tour

Ballardvale Walking Tour

Central Street Walking Tour

Shawsheen Village Walking Tour

West Parish Center Walking Tour


Printed copies are still available for purchase at the Society or by calling 978.475.2236. Are there other downloads you’d like to see here? If so, leave a comment to let us know!