459 Lowell Street

Architectural Description: 

Greek Revival -The large square two story house is done in the Greek Revival style. The divided three bay front façade has wide board stylized flat pilasters at the corners and two flanking the front entrance. The wide entablature band at the eaves and across the front help to create an illusion of a columned Greek temple. Two Doric columns support the front entry porch. The hip roof triangle construction is a nod to the triangle gables over the front façades of Greek and Roman buildings. The side sun porch faces west and may have been originally open or screened in. The six over nine lower front windows with pediments over them are nearly floor to ceiling in the interior flooding the rooms with light. The overall proportions of the house are create an understated elegance.

Historical Narrative: 

The land was once owned by Samuel Blanchard who lived just east of this spot on Haggetts Pond Road. Blanchard came to Andover about 1681 and was a town selectman. He died in 1707 and is the oldest recorded burial in West Parish Cemetery.

Paul Bailey Follansbee, born 1811 in West Newbury, MA son of John & Judith (Bailey) Follansbee came to Andover about 1838 and purchased this property for $1700 from Dudley Trow and his son Dudley Trow Jr., which had been formerly owned by John Crosby, “A certain farm” lying on both sides of Lowell Street. Paul Follansbee built this house in the early 1850s and sold the older Trow house on the site to the Boston & Lowell Railway. In 1850 he sells a small piece of land to the Salem Ice Co. between the rail road line and Haggetts Pond to use for their ice storage house. The 1850 Andover Valuation of Paul’s house and barn are valued at $150, Home farm of 54 acres at $1750, and 20 acre Birch pasture $320. Farm stock valued at $164. The 1860 Valuation of the house was $800 which supports the age that his home was built in the 1850’s. The barn is $200, 64 acres and farm stock $228. By 1870 he has added a greenhouse and his farm stock has increased to $720.

Paul was a “nursery man” landscaper and florist. He was also an amateur geologist and archaeologist. He often dug up arrow, spear heads, and axes on site and collected geologic specimens from his farm. During the town’s 250th anniversary in 1896, he loaned his collection of area Native American relics for the public to view. The stone formation known locally as “Turtle Mound” was also part of this farm located a few hundred yards NE of the house.

Andover Advertiser - July 2, 1880, No person should visit Haggett’s Pond without calling at Follinsbee & Son, a few rods west of the depot. They have an extensive nursery, choice fruits, green house, and a great variety of flowers, a rockery, a full rigged miniature ship, a large collection of Indian relics found upon the farm together with many other objects of interest. There is not probably another place intown which presents so many attractions and visitors are always received with courtesy.

Andover Townsman (AT) May 31, 1890 “An Interesting Place in Andover” talks about Follansbee’s extensive gardens and the “Rockery”. This article also states that the Rockery was entirely built by Paul and his son John. Another article on July 21, 1899 “Ten Miles Awheel” a bicycle trip to Haggetts Pond and Paul B. Follansbee’s Nursery, Museum and Arboretum gives the following account… Arriving at the Follansbee estate we passed up a long winding drive from the road found Mr. Follansbee sitting in his front doorway engaged in reading the New York and Boston papers and he at once made us welcome as he is always glad to receive callers. After a preliminary chat, during which time he told us that nearly all the trees in the front of his place had been planted by him, particularly pointing out one large elm which he said he carried in 1845 on his shoulder for 75 or 80 rods before planting it, and telling of the squirrels which inhabited the different trees – for our host is truly a child of nature in his love for all pertaining to it – he invited us in to inspect his museum. It would take a volume to enumerate a quarter of the peculiar and valuable things to be found in this room. Suffice it is to say that Mr. Follansbee has made a study and collection of stone implements, belonging to the prehistoric man and to the Indians who later inhabited this continent and has hundreds upon hundreds of different stone implements, arrow heads and other curios which he is always willing to show to visitors. He has an organ which would pass for an old fashioned bookcase or cabinet. What is apparently the drawer opens down, displaying the keys and connecting them with the pipes while the wind is derived from a lever projecting from the base at an angle.

Mr. Follansbee is well along in the eighties but, after having his picture successfully taken sitting in his front door as we found him on our arrival, he accompanied us in a tour of his premises. Probably there is not a place in this vicinity, and very likely not in America, similar to this of our host. A pretty path starts from the corner of his greenhouse, giving no hint until you have traversed it some little way, of the beauties that await one. On every side, however, as we proceed, growing things seemingly of every known variety, shrubs, trees, climbing and running plants bestrew the path on either side, in apparently endless profusion. Here are whole groves of young maples – for Mr. Follansbee raises many trees for the market – here rare foreign growths, and so on.

Finally we come upon a rustic well at the side of the path with an old fashioned well sweep. Then we come upon the “rockery” artificially constructed but looking very natural with its caves and nooks. This wall was blasted out of ledge at this spot and placed with considerable labor in its present position. Near here also is the observatory reached by a winding path through the shrubbery and affording from its point of advantage a charming view of Haggetts pond and West Parish, through rifts in the trees.

While we could linger here for many hours, constantly discovering something new, something strange and always interesting, we found that the noon hour was fast approaching and that we must not remain longer in this enchanted nook. After a short inspection of the greenhouse we thanked Mr. Follansbee for his kindness and took our leave, retracing our course to the Square. The distance to Mr. Follansbee’s we found to be four and four-fifths miles, making the entire ride just about nine miles, one easily within the powers of almost any bicycle rider."

Paul B. married (int.) Aug. 4, 1834 in Andover to Eliza Ann Chase b. Aug. 8, 1811 daughter of John & Anna Chase of Andover. They had nine children, Eliza Ann b. 1835 d. 1881, Amanda Octavia b. Mar. 13, 1837 m. Dec. 17, 1857 to Edward P. Dimcklee d. 1895 Boston, Clarisette C. b. 1840 d. 1885 Stoneham, Lycosta Chase b. 1842 m. Mar. 14, 1864 to Charles S. Dearbon d. 1877 NH, John H. b. May 28, 1845 m. June 13, 1883 to Susan L. Chase d. Jan. 20, 1901, Ella Pauline b. July 24, 1849 m. George F. Shattuck, d. 1909 Northampton, Lucretia C. b. 1853, Emma Winifred b. July 24, 1855 m. July 24, 1876 to Charles Spaulding d. March 20, 1912 and also an infant died young. Wife Eliza died April 23, 1886 and Paul died on May 8, 1900 at 89 years of age outliving all but three of his children. They are interred at West Parish Cemetery.
John Follensbee inherited the homestead from his father but died just eight months later. His sisters Ella P. Shattuck and Emma Spalding then acquired the homestead estate and John’s wife Susan their house next door. Emma and her children moved into the home in 1901. Grandson Charles Spaulding carried on the family business by 1904was a Nurseryman in 1904. In 1918 he is a carpenter. The Spalding heirs kept the property until 1919 when it was sold to Elof Erickson of Lowell. He then sold to John Arnois and Armond Vohl. It is said that Arnois was French Canadian and built a shrine to Virgin Mary within the Rockery and held outdoor vesper services at the mound. Neither owners are listed as residents in the town directories.

The Bredbury family purchased the farm in July 1924. Thomas Bredbury was an agent at the Shawsheen Mills. AT Dec. 23, 1921 p8 “Progress at Shawsheen Mills – Thomas Bredbury, since 1912 Superintendent of the French Spinning Department of the Wood Mills has been appointed Agent of the new plant. This well-earned promotion comes after many years of service in the American Woolen Company as Mr. Bredbury started in the textile industry as a boy in the Washington Mills in 1889.” Later his son Howard & wife Eleanor (Hill) Bredbury remained here until after WWII. Ernest H. Gaunt purchased the property on April 23, 1946. Gaunt was a mender and in 1949 is listed as president & general manager of Andover Gaunt Textiles Inc. of Lawrence. His wife is Mary E. and a son Gordon, a miller, are also listed.
Harold & Hedwick Russell owned from 1953-1956. He is a research engineer. Charles B. & Bernadine Hamburg owners from 1956-1961, he an Admin Engr. Jerome & Doris Underwood from New Jersey purchased in 1961-1967.

Bibliography/References: 

Resources:
Andover Building Survey forms
Andover Historical Society files.
Andover Street Indexes 1888 – 2009
Andover Vital Records
Andover Townsman obituaries
North Essex Registry of Deeds, Lawrence.
West Parish Garden Cemetery records
Membership roles of South Church, West Parish & Free Church
Andover Maps, 1830, 1852, 1872, 1888, 1899, 1906.
1951 – “Turtle Mound” excavated by Frank Glynn of the Connecticut Archaeological Society.

Owners;
Samuel Blanchard’s - 680’s - 1707
Moses Hagget
Moses Hagget Jr. -
Jacob Hagget - south portion on Haggett's Pond
Thomas Hagget - northern portion from Jacob's land to Methuen
Widow of Jacob Hagget -
Bartholomeu Hutchinson & Joseph Howard - b. 224 leaf 27 - no date
Joshua Abbot - June 15, 1820 - b. 224 leaf 27 - 60 acres - $450
Joshua Abbot estate; no record son Job, wife Lucy 1/2 of house, barn & well - east-side
Ann Abbot (single) - 1/2 of house, barn & well - west side
John Flint (cabinet maker) - Nov. 25, 1825 - b. 240 leaf 198 - 1/2 of house, barn & well - west side -
Jonathan D. Trow (blacksmith) - Dec. 8, 1825 - b. 240 leaf 199 - 1/2 of house, barn & well - east-side
Jonathan D. Trow (blacksmith) - Apr. 22, 1826 - b. 240 p. 199 - 1/2 of house, barn & well - west side - $671.04
Dudley Trow Sr., wife Annis & Dudley Trow Jr., wife Mary - June 26, 1830 - b. 258 leaf 110
Paul Bailey Follansbee - Oct. 8, 1835 - b. 285 p. 179 Salem deeds, rec.1/8/1836
John Follansbee - May 8, 1900 - by will – probate #86455 Paul B.
Emma (Follansbee) Spalding - Jan. 1901- by will – probate #87770 of John
Roy & Elizabeth Spalding - Oct. 3, 1917 - b. 381 p. 541 1/3rd
Charles Spalding - Oct. 3, 1917 - b. 381 p. 542
Elof Erickson - Jan. 28, 1919 - b. 395 p. 280 two lots
John Arnois & Armond Vohl - Apr. 6, 1920 - b. 415 p. 58
Thomas & Annie G. Bredbury - July 3, 1924 - b. 502 p. 89
Ernest H. Gaunt - Apr. 23, 1946 - b. 683 p. 259
Harold W. & Hedwig B. Russell - July 9, 1953 - b. 777 p. 577
Richard C. & Joan A. Simmers - June 29, 1956 - b. 836 p.200
Char. Banks & Bernadine Hamburg - Sept. 21, 1956 - b. 841 p. 457
Doris K. Underwood - Nov. 2, 1961 - b. 947 p. 307
C. Jerome & Doris K. Underwood - Sept. 1, 1967 - b. 1090 p. 227
Penn H. & Linda Clower - Nov. 1, 1977 - b. 1323 p. 618
Linda A. Clower - Oct. 3, 2003 - estate of Penn
West Newbury Development Corp. - Mar. 16, 2007 -b. 10670 p. 138

See lot plans #3325 lot #4 June 4, 1958
Plan #553 – 1924 Thomas Bradbury
Plan #1162 - 1938 lot to Alice J. B. Wallace
Salem Ice Co. 1850 – b. 436 p. 124

Inventory Data:

StreetLowell St
PlaceWest Parish - West Andover
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NamePaul Follansbee House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence & nursary
Construction Datecirca 1850
SourceAndover Bldg. Survey
Architectural StyleGreek Revival
Architect/BuilderFollansbee
Foundationstone & granite
Wall/Trimclapboards
Roofasphalt
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresgarage and shed
Conditiongood
Settingresidential
Recorded byStack/Mofford; James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77 updated 2013, 8/13/2015

Map: