20 Abbot Street

Architectural Description: 

Federal/Greek Revival
20th cent. porch front and south side

Historical Narrative: 

The section of Abbot Street, from Phillips to School Streets was opened by Edward Forwell in 1879. Land was formerly owned by Forwell and later by Abbot Academy, and continued as town road.

Andover Townsman 1989: 100 Years Ago - November 1889 - "Geo. Wilson of Methuen has moved the main part of South Hall, Abbot Academy to its new cellar on Abbot St."
Re-named "Sunset Lodge" housed the retired principal of Abbot Academy.

This home at 20 Abbot Street is now owned by the Trustees of Phillips Academy who acquired all the property holdings of the Trustees of Abbot Academy upon their merger as co-educational institutions on September 1, 1973. The house was originally built on School St. on the site of the former John - Esther Art Gallery wing of Abbot Hall. The house was moved to Abbot St. in November 1889 for the relocation of Abbot Hall to this site to create the great oval campus enclosure with the redesign and enlargement of the Abbot Academy campus.

The house was built by "a carpenter named Flagg for Rev. Horatio Bardwell, an Academy Trustee about 1832. It had a stable connected with the main house by a wood shed. Subsequent residents were Rev. Henry B. Holmes, 1848 to 55 and the Rev. Josiah W. Turner. It was used as a private boarding house - primarily for Phillips Academy students, a fact which proved vexacious for Abbot Principals." (Robert A. Domingue p. 178 Phillips Academy, Andover Massachusetts 1990) The lot of land was just south of Abbot Hall which opened on May 6, 1829. It was acquired by Abbot Academy in 1865 from the Rev. Turner estate for $3600.

The house was then turned into a boarding house for the girls of Abbot Academy referred to as "Sem Fems" The house was enlarged to accommodate a dining hall and a bay window was also added in the mid 1870s. In October 1878 "German Hall" was instituted here, a dorm where only German was spoken until 1892.

With the relocation of the house in 1889 a rear addition was moved off campus to 58 Morton St. and converted into a private dwelling. The remainder of the house was placed at the current location. With the retirement of Miss Philena McKeen, Principal of the Academy for 33 years from 1859 to 1892, the house was offered to her and renamed "Sunset Cottage". Miss McKeen died in 1898 and the house was then rented out by the Trustees until 1919. Sunset Cottage then became a residence house. Principal Miss Marguerite Hearsey used the home as her campus residence from 1935-1955.

In May 1959 the home was designated the "Alumnae House" then closed after the June 1977 graduation. In 1979 the home was restored and turned into faculty housing.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Advertiser 1885
Andover Townsman 1889
Andover Historical Society files
Phillips Academy, Andover Massachusetts - An Illustrated History of the Property (Including Abbot Academy) by Robert A. Domingue 1990

Inventory Data:

StreetAbbot St
PlacePhillips District
Historic DistrictAcademy Hill NRH District
Historic NameSunset Lodge - South Hall
Present Useresidence
Original UseAbbot Academy residence
Construction Datefirst half 19th century
Sourcestyle - njs
Architectural StyleFederal
Foundationstone & granite
Roofasphalt - gable
Major AlterationsMoved in November 1885, main portion of house stood where Abbot Hall is today. An ell was moved to Morton St. and converted into a dwelling house.
Move DetailsNov. 1885 to create Abbot Circle
SettingEducational campus - residential
Map and parcel56-1
MHC NumberANV.6
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, 12/5/2015