2-6 North Main Street

Architectural Description: 

Cluster of two Federal period houses, hip roofs, that were used a private homes and retail businesses.

Historical Narrative: 

Herman Abbot Furniture Store - 3 Elm Square - Built circa 1800

The site of the Memorial Hall Library was once the home and business site of Herman Abbott Jr. a cabinet maker who had his furniture business at this location. The property was acquired by the Boston & Maine Rail Road Company, who had purchased the former Andover and Wilmington Rail Road (1838-1848). The former rail line and the depot were directly behind the library until about 1848 when the tracks were moved further west down Essex Street to the present location. The railroad relocation was made for rail service to the new city of Lawrence and then reconnected with the old line to Haverhill..

The B & M Railroad owned most of the property from Essex Street to Amos Abbot’s house at the corner of Pearson Street. It appears that they were divesting themselves of unneeded property along Main Street and westward down the hill to the river.

On July 7, 1851 Joshua Abbott purchased the corner five sided lot from the B & M Rail Road for $1135.80. The lot had two Federal Style homes on the property and connecting out-buildings. The lot contained 1358 square feet of land. One exclusion within the deed was “The small house owned by Samuel G. Valpey on the above described land is not included in this sale.” Nearly four years later Joshua sells half of his parcel #1, one undivided half part the property to Herman Abbott Jr. for $567.09.

An abbreviated description; 89 ½ feet on SE by the street leading from Merrill’s Tavern [Elm House] to the Baptist Meetinghouse, 72’ 7” south by Essex Street, 80’ 7”, west by land now or late of Higgins & Abbott, 83’ on the north side by land now or late of George Foster. This line commencing at the corner of Higgins & Abbott’s land then SE four feet to the corner of Foster’s land. The 89’ to the street formerly Essex Turnpike, together with one undivided half of the buildings there on. Joshua Abbott, now of Boston, sells his remaining half to Herman Abbott Jr. in Feb. of 1858 for $1500 subject to the mortgage of $1200 on the whole of the property.

Andover Advertiser - News items.
June 15, 1854 AA - Removal – Herman Abbott, Jr. has removed his furniture shop to the corner of Main & Essex St. opposite the P.O. Sept. 9th
Sept. 9, 1854 AA - Herman Abbott Jr. has removed his furniture establishment to the corner of Main and Essex Streets opposite the Post Office.
Oct. 27, 1855 AA – Herman Abbott, Jr. Manufacturer and dealer in Cabinet Furniture – large ad. – Ware rooms opposite the Post Office.
Feb. 6, 1858 AA – Death of Herman Abbott, age 86y 10m 28days. Mr. Abbott has been growing feeble for some years but retained his mental faculties.
March 20, 1858 AA - H. Abbott Jr. – Wholesale & Retail Dealer in Cabinet Furniture, chamber sets, pictures framed, furniture made to order, Repair & painted., coffins & robes made. Opposite the Post Office.
April 17, 1858 AA - WHITE WASHING – by Leonard Bean – order left at H. Abbott’s Furniture.
April 16, 1859 AA – Mrs. Springer – will give drawing & painting instruction to small classes for the present at their residences in Andover and vicinity. Her residence over Abbott’s Furniture Rooms, near the Post Office.
Joseph Abbott – Job Work at the Furniture Shop of Herman Abbot 3/25/59
Joseph T. Abbott died Jan. 9, 1864 age 55 years - Obit. Jan. 21, 1864
Sept. 18, 1868 AA The Furniture ware rooms of Herman Abbott will be auctioned off on Saturday the 19th – household goods. [Essex & Main Street – Elm Square]

A destructive fire that began in a barn, about where the current gas station is located on the corner of Pearson Street and spread south to Essex Street. tThe fire destroyed several properties. It was after this fire that John Smith of the Smith & Dove Co. thought the site would be a good location for a public library and a memorial to the men who served in the Civil War.

June 3, 1870 AA – Sunday morning May 29, 1870 a fire completely destroyed the entire block from the corner of Pearson Street south to Elm Square and the corner of Essex Street. The fire was first discovered just before 2 o’clock, in a barn on North Main Street, owned by the heirs of the late Hon. Amos Abbott, and the flame soon communicated to an old house on the same premises, occupied by Michael McLaughlin, as a tenement, and by Charles Mayer, for a harness shop. Both buildings were entirely consumed, together with a cow and two swine, belonging to Mr. McLaughlin. His furniture and the stock and tools of Mr. Mayer, were saved. The paint shop next south of the above , owned by Eben P. Higgins, was soon enveloped with flames and destroyed with some stock and tools , a wagon left to be painted by George H. Chandler, a sleigh owned by John Findley, three pung sleighs and a lot of oats stored by Holt & Higgins…..
The livery stable of John Cornell, with hay, grain and three sleighs shared the same fate. Mr. Cornell saved all his horses, carriages and harnesses. The many friends of “Jerry” and “Jim”, two favorite horses were greatly relieved on learning that they were saved.
The fire next reached the wooden buildings of Herman Abbot, on the corner., and they with a portion of their contents, were entirely destroyed. The buildings were occupied by the owner for coffin and picture framing rooms, and by Joseph Abbott, as a residence, and for furniture ware rooms. The principal part of the furniture and other articles were saved, although a large number of coffins, caskets, and fixtures were lost.
The dwelling house of Mrs. Edward S. Merrill, on Essex Street, was almost wholly destroyed, the bare walls only remaining…..

April 5, 1870 AA – Town got a pledge of $25,000 from John Smith to build Memorial Hall if the town will match and purchase the Herman Abbott lot on the corner of Essex and Main Street – former site of Joseph Abbott’s shop.

July 29, 1870 AA – Herman Abbott is preparing to erect a new building on the burnt district corner of Essex Street and Main Street. It will be 50 x 36 feet, three stories on Main St. and four stories on Essex St. and is to be fitted up for business purposes.

Sept. 2, 1870 Town is negotiating with Herman Abbott to purchase lot at Main & Essex Street- 11,675 square feet, price asked $3930. 3200 sq. feet will be cut off to straighten the street.

Sept 16, 1870 Herman Abbott Jr. sells his lot to John Smith for $3000. Mr. Abbott had commenced laying the foundation of a building upon the premises, but relinquished the undertaking for the sake of securing the erection of the “Memorial Hall” as a great public improvement.

Joseph Abbott Nov. 24, 1899 - Obit. Andover Townsman
Died on Wednesday 22, after a three year illness during which time he could not stand. Born in West Parish Sept. 6, 1811. Learned the cabinet trade with John Flint. Late engaged in the furniture business with his brother Herman, in a shop formerly on the site of the library. Also worked with his brother as an undertaker. Mr. Abbot then embarked in the picture selling and framing trade in a building now occupied by P. J. Hannon’s tailoring establishment.
Belonged to Free Church and was a charter member. He was much interested in the anti-slavery movement and it was from this cause that he withdrew from the South Church, to found the Free Church.
He married Abigail Caroline Foster who died in 1852. Joseph lived on High St. for about 30 years. Survived by one grandson George A. Smith, whose mother, Mr. Abbott’s daughter, died only a short time ago.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Advtiser
Andover Townsman

Boston & Maine Rail Road
Joshua Abbott - July 7, 1851 - b. 455 lf. 283
Herman Abbot Jr. - Mar. 13, 1855 - b. 509 lf. 57 parcel #1
Feb. 4, 1858 - b. 565 lf. 234 parcel #2
John Smith - Sept. 16, 1890 - b. 6. p. 482
Town of Andover - June 25, 1871 - b. 10 p. 143 – Lawrence Deeds

Inventory Data:

StreetNorth Main St
PlaceElm Square
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameAbbott Furniture Store
Present UseMemorial Hall Library
Original Useresidence & office
Construction Date1800
Foundationstone & granite
Roofcedar shingle
Conditiondestroyed by fire 1870
Demolition DetailsFire 1870
Map and parcel55-71
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredApril 2014