147 Main Street

Architectural Description: 

NRDIS NRMRA
Style: Federal and Second Empire
Other features: Mansard roof; bay windows;

This home was built on the Essex Turnpike in 1825 and was originally a Federal style home with a hip roof. The house had two entrances one facing south and the other east on Main Street (Essex Turnpike). Mrs. Elizabeth Hitchins contracted with John Brown, house wright, on May 25, 1825 to build the home. The home was 40 'x 18' with a wing 16' x 15', two stories high, a wood house 14' x 16', a necessary, well dug and stoned, two chimney stacks from the cellar, a cellar kitchen NE corner, a bridge laid in front of the house to the turnpike and a fence. The house had 25 windows, 12 squares each with green blinds on 23 of them. The house painted white and a porch on the south side entrance finished similar to Amos Blanchard's. Total cost $3100. to be completed by Oct. 1, 1824. John Brown built the Blanchard house in 1819.

The level of Main Street was cut down in the 1890s to accommodate the new street railway creating the elevated look of the lot. The original contract suggests a swale or gully may have been in front of the home when built. A fire destroyed the barn and rear ell on July 14, 1884 and the Mansard was added at the time of remodeling.

Historical Narrative: 

Present owner: Phillips Academy (1935)
Original owner: Elizabeth W. Hitchins 1825
Subsequent uses: student dormitory & boarding house
Themes: Architectural, Community development, Education, Political, Religion

Historical significance:
147 Main St. – America House – Blunt House

The parcel of land was purchased by the widow Mrs. Benjamin Hitchins for $260 from Mark Newman on May 30, 1825. Capt. Benjamin Hitchins b. 1783 married at Salem, MA on May 13, 1810 to Elizabeth Wild b. 1785 in Charlestown, MA daughter of Micah & Mary Wild. Benjamin and Elizabeth had five children born in Andover; Benjamin Gardner b. Oct. 22, 1813, Elizabeth b. Aug. 14, 1815, twins Mary Ann b. Dec. 4, 1817 the second twin died and George F. baptized June 5, 1825.

Captain Hitchins was Master of the ship “Clay’ of Boston, and died at sea at Batavia on Nov. 3, 1821 age 38. His widow Elizabeth joined the South Church on March 6, 1825 and had the home built, taking in students to supplement income. Her children attended the local schools.
In 1832 Samuel Francis Smith was a 24 year old student at Andover Theological Seminary, occupying the downstairs northeast room in Mrs. Hitchins' 'boarding house. It was here in February 1832 that Smith penned the lyrics to "America", set to German music given him by Lowell Mason. In 1832 the vista from the hill would have provided the steeples of South Parish and West Parish Churches which may have inspired the lines "of templed hills"

The 1850 census lists Elizabeth Hitchins and Hannah Faulkner 63, with daughters Louisa J. 33 and Julia A. Faulkner age 30 in the home. In 1860 William Barber 32, an ATS student b. in Scotland with his wife Elizabeth 28 b. NY and a son William R. age 2 b. Canada, boarding.

The 1860 Valuation on the property: House, barn, 1 acre $3100, Personal estate: Bank stock & money $4344. Elizabeth died on July 25, 1863 of consumption at age 79y 11m. She was interred in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA. Her will left the home to her grandson Benjamin, son of her son Benjamin Gardner Hitchins when he reached the age of 21. Ben was born in 1850 in Graves End, NY. Her son Benjamin was given the use of the home and all the furniture. He was a farmer and lawyer in NY. The home was rented during their ownership. Grandson Benjamin married Anna Maria Bergin on June 6, 1872 in NYC.

The 1870 Valuation for Benjamin G. Hitchins (New York): House $2000, barn $200, 1 acre $1000 = $3200
Benjamin G. Hitchins sold the property to Lucy Jane Blunt, wife of Samuel Blunt on July 1, 1874 for $3000.

Lucy Jane Burdick b. 1830 in Rutland, VT dau. of Jared C. & Lucy (Surley) Burdick. Lucy married on Nov. 11, 1851 in Rutland, VT, Samuel Wm. Blunt b. Apr. 5, 1822 in Andover, son of Samuel P. & Persis (Bodwell) Blunt. Samuel was a clerk in a bookstore. He learned the printing trade at Gould & Newman on the Hill. Sam went to NY in 1843 and was head man at Ivison & Phinney Publishing. Sam served in Co. H Mass 1st Heavy Artillery as a Private from 1862-1864. Sam and Lucy had one daughter Caroline “Carrie” Perkins Blunt b. Jan 1860 in NY. They returned to Andover in 1874. Lucy ran the boarding house. A fire destroyed the barn, laundry and the back part of an adjoining home on July 14, 1884. The main house was saved without serious damage. During the reconstruction of a new rear ell and barn the mansard style roof was added. The house was enlarged and bay windows attached on the south side of the home.

In describing the house in 1850, Emily Carter says it was a "two-story white house with a low roof, without a porch and no bay-window, more level with street….after its partial destruction by fire, it was "reconstructed as a boarding house".

Andover Advertiser - Aug 29, 1884 - pg. 2 Col. 9 - "The residence of Samuel W. Blunt on Main Street has had a new addition built to it. 23' x 36' two stories with Marseilles roof. This will furnish a larger number of rooms than were connected with the house previous to the late fire. The rooms will be heated by steam. A barn is soon to be built 17' x 25'. The job is done by Abbott & Jenkins. (JSB)

On August 10, 1889 Daughter Carrie married John Tyler Kimball b. July 3, 1854 in Andover, son of Walter & Mary E. (Gage) Kimball who lived at 50 School St. Samuel Blunt died on Aug. 22, 1889 at age 67y 4m 17d. The 1900 census list Lucy, Carrie and John Kimball and their two children; Charles Carleton b. Mar. 2, 1891 and Helen Surley b. Oct. 1892. Helen died on June 2, 1904. Lucy died on Apr. 25, 1909 and the property went to her daughter Carrie. Carrie’s husband John Tyler Kimball died Nov. 20, 1912. Carrie died on Nov. 30, 1927. The property went to her son Charles Carleton Kimball.
Charles sold to the Trustees of Phillips Academy on May 2, 1935.

"Phillips Bulletin" July 1920 Vol. XIV No. 4, pg. 36. - "It is of historical interest that the residence located at 147 Main Street known to graduates as The "Blunt House" and later as The "Clark House" has been taken over by the Trustees as a Faculty House. Last fall, when it was given up as a boarding house, it was rented by The Trustees and is now in charge of Mr. Fredrick J. Daly." -

Bibliography/References: 

Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Bacon, Edwin M. 'Literary Pilgrimages in New England' To the Homes of Famous Makers of American Literature and among their haunts and the scenes of Writings. N. T. Boston & Chicago: Silver, Burdette & Co. 1902. Chapter II.
Carter, Emily: "Main Street to Wheeler Street in Year 1850" , 'Andover Townsman' Jan. 23, 1934.
Fuess, Claude. 'Men of Andover'. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928.
Goldsmith, Bessie: 'Historical Houses in Andover', 1946
'Lawrence Eagle Tribune', Sat. July 3, 1976, A. 8-9.
Andover Advertiser - Aug 29, 1884 - pg. 2
Andover Townsman - Jan. 22, 1934
Ancestry.com., Hitchins, Blunt families
Hitchins - Brown Contract to build - May 25, 1825 - b. 239 p.122

Owners;
Mark & Abigail Newman - 1824
Elizabeth W. Hitchings - May 30, 1825 - rec. Oct. 16, 1846 - b. 373 leaf 10 Salem, MA
Elizabeth W. Hitchings estate, d. July 25, 1863 –
Benjamin Gardner Hitchings, grandson heir - Aug. 1863 – Probate on 21st birthday
Benjamin Gardner Hitchings, wife Anna M. -1872
Lucy Jane Blunt, wife Samuel W. - July 1, 1874 - b. 29 p. 165 - $3000
Lucy Jane Blunt estate, heir Caroline P. B. Kimball dau. – Apr. 25, 1909 - Probate
Caroline P. B. Kimball estate, Charles C. Kimball son, heir - Nov. 30, 1927
Trustees of Phillips Academy - May 2, 1935 - b. 589 p. 321

Inventory Data:

StreetMain St
PlacePhillips District
Historic DistrictAcademy Hill NRH District
Historic NameAmerica House - Blunt House
Present Useresidence and dormitory
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1825
SourceECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs
Architectural StyleFederal
Architect/BuilderJohn Brown/Builder
Foundationstone & granite
Wall/Trimclapboards/wood
Roofasphalt - mansard
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresmodern garage
Major AlterationsEntry porch added in late 19th century (1884) Originally at street level but land graded Enlarged (1919) Rear ell and barn razed 1990's
Conditionexcellent
Acreage0.401 acre; Lot size: 17,454 sq. ft.; Approx. frontage: 232'
Settingresidential
Map and parcel40-28
MHC NumberANV.349
Recorded byStack/Mofford, (cwo), James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975 - 1977, 3/19/2015, 10/12/2018

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