19 Salem Street

Architectural Description: 

Classical Revival or Georgian Revival
Decorative limestone entrance surround, brick facade,

Historical Narrative: 

Present owner: Phillips Academy - 19 Salem St. 41-3 - 0.27043 acre, built. 1927-28

This property was once owned Isaac Blunt who died October 17, 1833. His estate was sold at auction and his widow Lois Blunt purchased this parcel for $438 on Nov. 19, 1834. No mention of a building in the deeds. Lois sold the lot on Sept. 23, 1837 to Mary Durant, widow, for $70. A year later on Aug. 13, 1838 Mary then sells her property with buildings for $1350 to Rev. David Oliphant of Wells, Maine.
The parcel is 29½ rods and is located on Salem Street a little northeast of a well, near the premises, then running along the Back Road 171.96’(Highland Rd.) to the store now occupied by Albert Abbot, then NW 142.56’ to Salem St. and 173.58’ by the road to the first bound. The deeds also mention a well on the property near the corner of Salem and Highland Rd. (Back St.) with a new pump that the Academy wanted to remove.

Rev. David Oliphant purchased two other smaller parcels adjoining his house from Mary Durant and Lois Blunt. The deeds state David in Haverhill, MA. The 1850 Andover Valuation list David Oliphant non-resident in Amherst, NH, Dwelling house & barn $1500. No acreage is given. The 1860 Valuation list 1/8 acre, Dwelling House $900 and Personal estate Money $1500. Oliphant had actually sold his property to the Trustees of Phillips Academy on July 10, 1859. David was born in Nov. 9, 1791 Waterford, NY, son of Duncan & Rachael (Woodruff) Oliphant. David graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1813 and at Phillips Academy from 1852 – 1868. He married Sept. 27, 1815 in Andover to Mary Pearson b. May 3, 1793 dau. of Dr. Abiel & Mary Pearson. They had six children, four sons, two daughters. Mary died on Aug. 22, 1868 and David on Oct. 26, 1871. David & Mary are interred in the Chapel Cemetery at Phillips Academy. They are listed in the State census of 1865 as are Rev. William L. Mather and family.

The Trustees sold to William L. Mather on Oct. 9, 1865 for $2700. Rev. William Loomis Mather b. July 15, 1806 in NJ., married in Boston in 1836 to Amanda Palmer b. April 22, 1815, Children; Anna S. b. 1841, Isabella T. b. 1843 and Wallace C. b. 1848 all live in the home on this site. Two other children; Frances A. & William C. died in infancy. William died on July 15, 1868 and is interred in the Chapel Cemetery. The 1870 Valuation lists Wm. L. Mathers estate; House $1750, barn $150, ¼ acre $200 = $2100. After the death of William, Amanda sold the property to Charles C. Carpenter for $3000 on Aug. 20, 1872. Carpenter held the property of three years then sold for $3500 to widow Rebecca A. Tilton on June 29, 1875. Rebecca Abby (Hobbs) Tilton was b. April 1834, dau. of Jonathan & Mary (French) Hobbs. Rebecca was married to James Seavey Tilton b. 1822 – 1872. James served during the Civil War as Corp. Co. B 8th NH Infantry. They had two children; Mary B. b. Jan 1856 in NH and Edward James b. 1859 NH.

The 1880 census has Rebecca, Mary and Edward residing here with 8 Theological students, 6 Academy students and one domestic Mary Donovan. Rebecca died on Dec. 3, 1903 of cancer age 70. Mary B. Tilton inherits the property after her mother’ death. Mary Tilton then held for 12 years, selling the property to the Trustees of Phillips Academy on Jan. 5, 1915. Mary died in 1932 and is interred in Chapel Cemetery with her mother.

The Academy then sold the property to the Rogers Associates, Inc. on Jan.1, 1916. A $3900 mortgage was given at the time of sale. The deed was for 999 years and came with restrictions as to what type of structure could be built on the site. Only a single family home or club house could be constructed for no less than $4000.

The Rogers Associates, Inc. later took a $30,000 mortgage with the Andover Savings Bank on Feb. 26, 1928. A new Club House was built at this time. It is not known whether the former Durant – Oliphant house was moved off site or razed for the new building on the site.

The Club house was occupied by Alpha Gamma Chi (AGC) “The AGC was founded in 1904 by ten students: Zeus Benner was appointed their Faculty Advisor. The founders believed that the true function of a society should be “real interest in working for the school and scholarship”. Their first house, called “Bill’s”, was located “off Bartlet Street” (now Chapman Ct.). From 1915 to 1927 they rented a cottage (Erving House) at 49 Salem Street so the society could be closer to school and its activities. In 1927 they moved into this new clubhouse. The Societies were phased out and the Academy who held the mortgage took possession in 1951.

The clubhouse was then name Benner House and was converted to use as a grill for the undergraduates seeking snacks, alternate meals and a gathering place or student canteen it was nicknamed the “Beanery”. It was named for Dr. Allen Rogers Benner, Professor of Greek at the academy and first advisor of AGC’s. It closed in 1977 and was converted into a ceramics studio for the Academy art program.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Directories
Phillip Academy, Andover Mass. An Illustrated History of the Property, by Robert A. Domingue. Secret Societies.
Isaac Blunt’s estate, Samuel Merrill adm. 1834
Lois Blunt, widow Nov. 19, 1834 – b. 295 leaf 224 - $438 – land at auction
Mary Durant, widow – Sept. 23, 1837 – b. 304 leaf 139 - $70 piece of land
Rev. David Oliphant – Aug. 13, 1838 – b. 307 leaf 257 $1350 – 29 ½ rods w/blds.
Rev. David Oliphant –May 31, 1841 – b. 328 leaf 59 - $12.33 – 1¼ rods of land
Rev. David Oliphant, wife Mary – Sept. 15, 1843 – b. 339 leaf 106 - $200 – 35 rds of land
Trustees of Phillips Academy – July 10, 1859 – b. 594 leaf 136 – all parcels
William L. Mather - Oct. 9, 1865 – b. 691 leaf 43 - $2700
Wm. L. Mather estate, Amanda P. heir – Sept. 11, 1872 – b. 17 p. 233
Charles C. Carpenter, wife Jemia – Aug. 20, 1872 – b. 17 p. 244 - $1500
Rebecca A. Tilton –June 29, 1875 – b. 35 p. 142 - $3500
Rebecca A. Tilton estate – died Dec. 1, 1903
Mary B. Tilton – heir – 1904 Probate
Rogers Associates, Inc. – Jan. 5, 1915 – b. 349 p. 597
Trustees of Phillips Academy – Jan. 1, 1916 – b. 366 p. 57 - $3900 mtg.
Rogers Associates, to Andover Savings Bank – Feb. 26, 1928 – b. 545 p. 37 mtg. $30,000
Trustees of Phillips Academy – Dec. 1, 1950 – b. 779 p. 536 possession

Inventory Data:

StreetSalem St
PlacePhillips District
Historic DistrictAcademy Hill NRH District
Historic NameBenner House
Present Useacademic building
Original Useresidence - Fraternal Society house
Construction Date1928
Architectural StyleGeorgian Revival
Foundationstone & granite
Roofgable - slate
Map and parcel41-3
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredApril 2, 2015