127 River Road

Architectural Description: 

Style: Georgian

Other features:
site - building endangerd by industrialization;
1-1/2 stories with gable roof, quarrelled windows (W/F 1980)

Historical Narrative: 

Former owner: Catherine Shattuck - estate of J. A. Dolten, Trustees (August 1977)

Original owner: "Paddy Burke"

Themes: Architectural, Commerce, Community development

Historical significance:
"Country Store" run by Edward Shattuck . . . a recreation of a general store of earlier generations, was formerly the two hundred year old house of one "Paddy Burke", which they had moved onto their ancestral lands in 1941, from its location on west side of Shawsheen Road at #10 between #6 Shawsheen Rd and Cuba Street.
10 Shawsheen Road
This site with the old cellar hole was once the location of a small cape style house that was known locally as the “Paddy Burke” house. The structure is reported to be built about 1740. In the mid-1850s it was owned by Mark Newman and upon his death sold by Margaret W. Newman to Andrew & Mary Collins on Nov. 14, 1859. Andrew Collins transferred the title to Mary Collins via James H. Giddings on June 5, 1871. Mary Collins then sold to Patrick Burke on Nov. 27, 1872.

Patrick Burke was born in Ireland in 1831, son of Patrick & Hannah (Crowley) Burke. He immigrated to America about 1855 at the age of 24 and arrived in Andover in 1856. Patrick first was employed by Smith & Dove Mfg. Co. but due to his health went into business on his own. In the 1885 Andover directory he is listed as an umbrella maker and repairs. By 1891 he advertises as dry & fancy goods furnishings, etc. at his home in Abbott Village. He purchased a peddlers’ wagon and took his business on the road selling his inventory in the surrounding districts in Andover and beyond.

Patrick became a naturalized citizen in 1860. He married Elizabeth Teague on July 5, 1864 at Somersworth, NH. Eliza, as she was known by, was also born in Ireland in Oct. 1832. Her headstone lists 1842 as her birthdate. They had six children, Mary b. 1865 - d. 1866, Edward J. born Aug. 1868 died Nov. 1903, Annie Elizabeth b. Oct. 1871, Sarah “Sadie” M. b. Mar. 1873, and Susan A. b. Apr. 1877.
Sadie and Susan would be born in their Abbott Village house. Son Edward J. age 12, is working in the Flax mill at the time of the 1880 census. By 1900 he is employed as a clerk selling clothing. Annie and Sadie are rubber workers at Tyer Rubber Co. and Susan’s dressmaking business has her talents used as a cloth specker, perhaps for Smith & Dove.

On Monday afternoon on August 17, 1903 a tragic accident took the life of Paddy Burke. Driving his dry goods cart in a heavy rainstorm in North Andover and his way home he was struck by a train and killed. Aug. 21, 1903 AT – Killed By Train – Untimely Death of Patrick Burke – One of Andover’s Well Know Citizens - ….”It was raining and the heavy drops were making such a loud patter upon the covering of the wagon that probably the driver did not hear the approach of the train which has a down grade all the way to Lawrence. The horse was no doubt walking up the hill and across the crossing when the train struck him as Mr. Burke had completed his day’s sales and was making his way back to his home in Andover.” …”The horse and front part of the covered team driven by Mr. Burke were struck by the locomotive attached to the passenger train from Salem due at North Andover station at 5:25 o’clock. Mr. Burke was thrown from the seat and the horse and vehicle were hurled down a steep embankment of about 50 feet. The contents of the cart were strewn for some distance about the place.” …”The body of Mr. Burke, which still showed signs of life was tenderly carried into one of the coaches and the train made its way to Lawrence, but before medical assistance could be secured and before the train reached its destination, the man was dead.”

“The tragic death of Mr. Patrick Burke touched many people in Andover who had learned to know and highly resect the quiet man who for so many years has been a familiar part of the town life. Leaving the mill for the sake of his health, he soon found the niche which he was so well fitted to fill, and that he had been successful was due to his qualities as an honest merchant and a warm hearted sympathetic friend.”

Patrick was 72 years old and was interred at St. Augustine’s Cemetery. Sadly son Edward died a few months later on Nov. 30, 1903. He just 35 years old. Eliza and her daughters continued to live in the house and work in the mills. Susan died on Feb. 3, 1917 and Annie on Jan. 15, 1919. In 1923 Eliza and Sarah are still in the home but by 1926 the place is vacant remains so after that. It is unknown when Eliza died but most likely in the 1920’s. Sarah sells a triangular portion of the family property at the corner of Cuba St. and Shawsheen Rd. to the Town of Andover in Sept. 1942. The house was sold to Edward Shattuck and moved off the lot to the Shattuck Farm at 125 River Road and converted into a “Country Store”. The remainder of the property was sold to Cornelius & Catherine Hart of 12 Cuba St. in Feb. 1944. The major portion of the original parcel is now owned by the residents of 4 Cuba St. #2 Cuba was also part of the original Newman and Burke property.

The “Country Store” 1942
AT Feb. 5, 1942 p. 6 – “Old Country Store” Has Historic Setting
“Recently opened at the picturesque old Shattuck farm on River road overlooking the Merrimack, was an old-fashioned country store, complete with all the merchandise and equipment familiar to New England housewives generations ago. The counter itself is historic, since some 150 years ago, it served as the bar in the Middlesex Tavern in Lowell. There it served customers as opposite as hardy voyagers and trappers on the one hand, George Washington, Lafayette and Daniel Webster on the other.

The building itself is constructed in the traditional colonial style, and the exterior clapboards are hand spoke-shaped and attached to the framework with hand-molded nails. Rare old gunstock uprights support the 200 year old white pine beams in the interior and diamond-shaped antique glass windows are in strict accord with the period duplicated.

Sold at the store are its own brand of choice coffees and teas, preserves canned on the farm itself and old American cheese. An oyster bar should prove one of its most popular features, and serves oysters delivered fresh from West Chatham on the Cape and the Shattuck Farm ice-cream which has taken on the nature of a local institution. A hand loom standing in one corner of the store manufactures 100 percent wool fabrics from wool shorn from Shattuck Farm sheep, the whole store should prove both a successful commercial enterprise and a tasteful memento of historic days.”

The Country Store continued doing business as a small restaurant serving ham and bean suppers on the weekends. The popular Shattuck Farm ice cream stand next door to the west was still scooping cones out in the early 1960’s. With the construction of the interstate route 93 the highway cut through the east portion to the historic farm. River Road was relocated a few hundred yards south of the former road through a portion of the cow pasture that fronted on the farm. Many patrons, including me, enjoyed a hot summer day in the shade of Elms and Maples watching the cows graze as they licked their favorite flavored ice cream cones.

The cow pasture was sold off and Valle’s Steak House built a restaurant on the site about 1966. It is now the Chateau Restaurant. The Shattuck farm stopped operation by the close of the 1970. Over 600 acres on the Merrimack River were rezoned by the town for an industrial park. The Shattuck farm was purchased by Arkwright-Boston Insurance Co. and then acquired by Digital Equipment Inc. The historic farm and site threatened by development and demolition. The largest barn 60’ x 200’was dismantled by Paul DeBow of Tewksbury for reuse in future buildings. The remaining out-buildings and sheds were demolished. While Digital owned the land Arkwright owned the buildings. Both the State Massachusetts Historic Commission, and Town Selectmen became involved with the site and the saving of the historic buildings.

J. Terrance & Patricia Sullivan later purchased the now vacant two historic houses and the country store and moved them all to High Plain Road for restoration in 1982. The former Paddy Burke house, aka Counrty Store is now the house at #243. The old Shattack Homestead is #239 and the Shattuck house that had the ice-cream stand ell attached to its eastside is now located at #233 High Plain Rd. The Sullivan family spent many years restoring the exteriors and interiors of the houses.

The country store was converted into a residence once again. An addition was added on the east side of the building at the time of renovation in the 1980’s. It has been recently enlarged again on the west end in 2013. Although most of the historic fabric of the original house has been altered and changed through the years, the post and beam construction remains. The house however carries an interesting history that continues with it as long as it remains standing.

Bibliography/References: 

Andover Historical Society files
Fitts, Deborah; "A Way of Life Will Go Under When the Industries Move In", Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Jan. 3, 1974 p. 6-7
Goldsmith, Bessie; "Historical Houses of Andover", compiled for Tercentenary, 1946.

Inventory Data:

StreetRiver Rd
PlaceWest Parish - West Andover
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameShattuck, Edward Farm Country Store
Present Useabandoned in 1975 (future fate uncertain)
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1760
SourceAndover Historical Society files
Architectural StyleOther
Foundationstone
Wall/Trimclapboards/wood
Roofcedar shingle
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresattached garage 1950's addition
Major AlterationsMoved to site in 1941,restored for country store Opened in early1942
Conditionfair
Moved?Yes
Move Details1941 and 1982
Demolition Details1982 garage addition
Acreage1.3 acres
Settingresidential/commerical
Map and parcel165-1A
Recorded byN. J. Stack/Mofford
OrganizationAndover Historical Commission
Date entered1975 - 1977

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