12 Binney Street

Historical Narrative: 

Shawsheen Village was named after the Native American name for the river Shawshin, which means Great Spring. Prior to Shawsheen Village this area was known as Frye Village. Most of the streets in the new Village were named for Castles & Cathedrals in Great Britain. Binney Street however was named for Henry P. Binney of Canton, MA, a banker and agent trustee of the American Woolen Company. Binney was hired in 1909 to purchase land in both Lawrence and Andover for future expansion of the American Woolen Co. William M. Wood was President of the company at that time. Binney then turned all the deeds over to the AWCo in December 1920. This land was once owned by Sylvester P. Smith (49 Union St) who had plans for a housing development. A 1901 map of Frye Village clearly shows the locations of Shepley & Binney Streets, but named Agawam and Merrick Streets respectively, both connected at the east end by Madison St. which was never built. Old deeds reference both earlier names.

This home was built as part of the Shawsheen Village development from 1918-1924 by William M. Wood, President of the American Woolen Company. Wood hired about eight different architects to design the homes and structures for the village. Homes were leased through the Homestead Association with offices in the Post Office building in Shawsheen Square, later moved into the Administration Building.

Each home incorporates a different look, style and design modifications, most noticeable with the front door entrances. Decorative details on the corner boards and a variety of ornamental trellises, window boxes all added the “icing on the cake, of the original designs. Most of the homes now sport a variety of different colors, no longer all white with green shutters as dictated in the original deeds. Many of the original screen porches have been enclosed for an additional room.

After the death of William M. Wood on Feb. 2, 1926 most of the residential and commercial buildings were then sold. Some were held by the Wood family in the "Arden Trust" and others with the American Woolen Company. The AWCo. Board of Directors authorized its President, Lionel J. Noah, to deliver all deeds, as deemed necessary to the Textile Realty Co. for sale on Dec. 29, 1931.

The Textile Realty then transferred ownership to the Andover Shawsheen Realty Company on June 30, 1932, holding the mortgage on the properties. T. Edwin Andrew, treasurer, was authorized to sell or lease the properties. With the Great Depression sales were sluggish and many homes were rented until the economy rebounded.

One of the first occupants of record to lease the home in 1926 were James & Janet Mitchell. James is listed as a plumber.
On December 7, 1938 the Mitchell family purchased the property. In 1943 James is now listed as a plumber at Phillips Academy. Their daughter Jean F. is enlisted as a WAC during WWII.

Binney Street was originally built with eleven homes two of which were duplexes. With the construction of Route 495 in 1961-62 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took four properties by eminent domain on the south side of Binney St. The 14 homes on Fletcher St. to the south of Binney were completely obliterated for construction and the street no longer existed in 1963. Some homes were moved to new locations but the majority were demolished.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Maps, 1852, 1872, 1888, 1906, 1926
Andover Street Directories
Andover Townsman
Mills, Mergers and Mansions, by Edward Roddy 1982
See Map plan #876 – June 1932 – Textile Realty Co -Lot #22
Map #1050 – March 1937 – amended map #876 for narrowing street.

Sylvester Smith estate, of Worcester, MA
J. Walter Smith of Worcester, MA
Cleora L. Sumner, Trustee -
Henry P. Binney, Trustee of AWCo. - July 30, 1909 - b. 277 p. 314
American Woolen Co. Dec. 30, 1920 - b. 435 p. 215 -(3rd tract of paragraph 4)
Textile Realty Co. - Dec. 30, 1931 - b. 563 p. 344
Andover Shawsheen Realty Co. - June 30, 1932 - b. 565 p. 87
James & Janet Mitchell - Dec. 7, 1938 - b. 620 p. 15 - #12
Frank A. & Margaret R. Ashworth - Mar. 27, 1957 - b. 852 p. 17 - #12
Frank A. & Margaret R. Ashworth - Mar. 27, 1962 - Notice of Variance
Dennis F. & Alice McCarthy - Jan. 22, 1962 - b. 952 p. 82 - lot #22
Alice McCarthy - July 15, 1969 - b. 1136 p. 170
Fred J. & Diane K. Butler -
John S. Distefano and Nellie J. Distefano - May 31, 1988 - b. 2739 p. 11
John S. Distefano and Nellie J. Distefano - Sept. 4, 2003 - b. 8306 p. 324
John S. & Cynthia Distefano - Apr. 4, 2005 - b. 9442 p. 324

#14 Binney Street - Lot 21 - second parcel added
George A. Snow Jr. - Feb. 28, 1942 - b. 649 p. 342 - #14
Constance L. Murry - Sept. 4, 1956 - b. 840 p. 286

Inventory Data:

StreetBinney St
PlaceShawsheen Village - Frye Village
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameJames & Janet Mitchell House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence - AWCo. housing
Construction Date1922 - 1923
Architectural StyleColonial Revival
Wall/Trimclapboard/wood/vinyl siding
Roofasphalt - gable
Major Alterationsporch on front, vinyl siding and replacement windows
Move DetailsMoved back about 1961 for construction of Route 495
Acreage0.166 acre
Map and parcel34-35
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredOctober 9, 2015