The Ballardvale Dam is probably the most historically significant structure that survives in the village of Ballardvale, in Andover. Without the dam this section of town would never have been developed into the industrial complex that was created by the mid 19th century. The Ballardvale dam, in 2017, remains as the last working dam on the Shawsheen River in Andover. Other dams since removed or breached were located down stream at Abbot Village, Marland Village and Shawsheen Village formerly Frye Village. All sites were once active sites in Andover's Industrial history beginning in the 1600's to the present day.
In the “Historical Sketches of Andover” 1880 by Sarah L. Bailey Mills & Manufactures she writes the following : In 1753 “Humphrey Holt sold to Asa Abbot “one half of a saw-mill erected on Shawshin river, so called, and near the Pine Plaine, called Preston’s Plain, with Intrest and Privilidge of one quarter part of the Dam built across said river for the use of sd mill and the Grist-mill adjoining thereto, with Liberty to lay Timber and Boards on the land (of William Chandler, late of Andover, deceased) adjoining to said mill, and also to carie Timber and Boards to and from sd. Mill across said Land, as there shall be Necessary Ocation in the use and improvement of said Mill and dam as there shall be occasion forever, which sd Mill & Privileges thereof [he] did purchase of sd William Chandler, Decd.”
“In 1764, Asa Abbot sold this interest in the saw-mill to Nathan Abbot.”
“In 1786, Asa Abbot, Jr., conveyed a part of the same property to Nehemiah Abbot, -- one fourth “part of the saw-mill that stands on Shawshin River, near Timothy Ballard’s Dwelling-house.”
In 1794, Timothy Ballard owned a mill-privilege, probably the same. This was the early “improvement” of the water-power at Ballardvale.
Thomas Chandler of Tewksbury sells his share in the mill and land to Nehemiah Abbot & Timothy Ballard on Mar. 23, 1795. Timothy Ballard would later own the Gristmill and Saw Mill with the water privilege.
Timothy Ballard was born on July 28, 1757, oldest son of Timothy Jr. and Sarah (Abbot) Ballard and one of six siblings. Timothy married on October 30, 1783 to Mary Foster b. July 21, 1763 daughter of William & Hannah Foster. Timothy and Mary had no children and his estate went to his widow and sibling heirs. Timothy Ballard died intestate on Feb. 29, 1828, taking his life "who cut his own throat" at age 70y 7m. He is interred at South Parish Cemetery.
Ballard’s estate was settled by Attorney William Rogers of Tewksbury as P.O.A. for the heirs in 1828. On August 15, 1833, Abel Blanchard, a Paper Maker, purchased the Corn & Saw mills with water privilege for $4000. Rodgers' held the mortgage. On June 9, 1834 the deed was sold to Daniel Poor, Abel Blanchard, and Abraham Gould & Mark Newman, both book sellers in Andover under the name Poor, Blanchard & Co. Paper-makers. It is said that Daniel Poor & Abel Blanchard laid the foundation of half of present brick mill (on west side of river) for a paper mill. Decided instead on woolen goods. Poor & Blanchard Co. then partnered with John Marland, a Manufacturer in their cotton-woolen production here in 1835 - 36.
The Ballard Vale Co. then formed with these residents as proprietors and built the brick mill standing today at the west end of the dam. Erza Abbot, yeoman, sells for $625. his flowage rights to the new company on July 10, 1834. “The right and privilege of flowing my lands in said Andover on the Shawsheen River as far and as high as the same will be flowed by raising their dam in Andover on the said river, being the same dam that was formerly owned by Timothy Ballard, deceased, eighteen inches above its present height with all the water privileges of said River, so far as I am interested, resulting from the right to flow here by conveyed” The dam was raised and improved at this time.
In May 1838 a suit of damages was filed against the Ballard Vale Co. by land owners above the dam because their properties along the river had flooded with the height of the dam. Job Abbot, Joshua Ballard, Samuel Gray agent for Capt. Stephen Abbot, Ebenezer Jones, David Hidden, James Travis and Amos Blanchard Esq. were all awarded compensation for damage to their meadows below Chandlers’ bridge. Referees Paschal Abbott, James Abbot & James Butterfield were asked to settle the claims and give opinion as to cause.
In the deed compensation was paid and Mr. John Marland for the Ballard Vale Co. & Capt. Joshua Ballard & Capt. Jones and Capt. Job Abbot, “we give it as our opinion that there would be $540. Less damage to pay if the dam was lowered at the Ballard Vale Mills nine inches, viz.to Capt. Job. Abbot $200. Deac(on). Ebenezer Jones $140. – Capt. Joshua Ballard $200.
“We are of the opinion that the water will from year to year gradually be higher at the head of the Pond by the bed of the stream filling up & will probably injure Meadows that are not now inatvertly damaged – Referees Paschal Abbott, James Abbot & James Butterfield….up with watter [sic] running over in the center about two inches and the dam about two or two and a half inches lower than the top of the iron bolt driven into a hole a large stone on the easterly side of the River about two rods below the Bridge placed there by us in the company of Mr. Poor which is not to be removed by the parties & it is understood that the watter [sic] is to be drawn off so as to lower it nine inches below the top of the dam as it now stand. For eight working days annually at such time as will best suit the majority of the meadow owners for Gitting their hay” Respecfully submitted Paschal Abbott, James Abbot & James Butterfield.” (notation Mr. Poor reffered to above is Mr. Daniel Poor) rec. July 18, 1851.”
John Marland was the driving force of the woolen mill, acting as agent. The wooden mill building on the east side of the river on the site of the former Ballard Grist and Saw mills was built in 1844, "designed to be used exclusively for the manufacture of worsted goods,".... "The first attempt to fabricate delaines in the United States was made in a mill at Ballard Vale, by John Marland, agent of the company".
In July 1848, recorded on Dec. 19, 1848, John Marland deeds to the Ballard Vale Co. “flowage rights of raising dam as “high as the top of an iron bolt fixed by Solomon Holt, Caleb Livingston & Paul Pillsbury, referees, in the Westerly end of said Company’s brick factory, and also an iron bolt fixed by said referees in a large stone at the water’s edge on the south easterly side of said River a little below the bridge across said river, next above said factory”
John Marland became insolvent in 1849 and much of the property was sold off to creditors. The worsted mill was leased however to Jeremiah S. Young, John's brother-in-law, who transferred the business to the Pacific Mills, in Lawrence, in 1853. Company treasurer J. Putnam Bradlee from Jan. 15, 1842 would later purchase the mills in 1866. Mr. James Shaw was Superintendent of the mills for over 25 years. He died in October 1881.
J. Putnam Bradlee died on Feb. 2, 1887 and his estate was administered by William H. Hodgkins and William J. Strong. Hodgkins would later become president of the company and Strong, a selling agent for company, later became Mayor of New York City. Hodgkins administered to the Bradlee estate until 1905 when the holdings were sold to the Ballard Vale Mills Co. on Feb. 6, 1905. The company continued production until 1926. In 1896 Joseph Shaw was Superintendent, and Howell F. Wilson, Manager of the mills.
Ballard Vale Mills Co. with Philip French as president sold the building to the Northern Rubber Company on Sept. 29, 1927. The Ballard Vale Mills Co. held the mortgage deed, which was later assigned to Susan A. Hodgkins, widow of William H. on Apr. 12, 1932. Northern Rubber Co. would later default on the loan and Hodkins took possession of the property on Mar. 25, 1933 - Susan Hodgkins of Melrose, MA died in 1937 and her estate was administered by trustees Warren C. & Helen A. Kendall of Washington, DC & Charles Wood Bond on July 29, 1937. Helen A. Kendall was the daughter of William & Susan Hodgkins and inherited from her mother's will. A brother Willis B. sold his share to Warren Kendall.
Kendalls took a loan through the First National Bank of Boston in August 1938 but defaulted and the bank took possession of the property on Aug. 17, 1943.
Wool Warehouse, Inc., Geo. L. Anderson Treas., purchased the mortgage on May 29, 1944 and then sold the mill property to the Shawsheen Rubber Co., Inc. on Aug. 16, 1944. The property was divided off at this time and the dam and water right were then shared by both owners of the mill properties on each side of the river.
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
See also Form A - Area Survey - Ballardvale Mills
Historical Sketches of Andover 1880 Sarah L. Bailey – Mills & Manufactures p. 575
Lawrence Eagle Tribune: Oct. 13, 1944
Business History of Andover: Anniversary Souvenir No. of the Andover Townsman, May 20, 1896
Molley, Peter; Lower Merrimack River Valley: Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites - sponsored by MVTM and Historic American Engineering Record (Washington National Park Service, 1976)
Map plan #719 - Wilson lot -
Map plan #1460 - May 29, 1944 - Kendall to Wool Warehouse, Inc. of Boston
Map plan #4556 - July 1962 - C. Lincoln Giles
Map plan #9657 - Aug. 10, 1984
Map plan #15683
Timothy Ballard - Mar. 23, 1795 rec. Dec. 1795 - b. 160 leaf 119 - 1/5 mill
Timothy Ballard estate, William Rogers POA, died Feb. 29, 1828 intestate Probate
William Rogers POA - May 2, 1828 - b. 250 leafs, 11,12,13,14 & 101-103
Abel Blanchard - Aug. 15, 1833, rec. Sept. 3, - b. 272 leaf 169 - Corn & Saw Mills
Daniel Poor, Abel Blanchard, Abraham Gould, Mark Newman - June 9, 1834 - b. 271 leaf 303
Poor, Blanchard & Co, Paper-makers - June 9, 1834 - b. 271 leaf 303
Daniel Poor, Jr. & Abel Blanchard - July 10, 1834 - b. 277 leaf 199
Daniel Poor, Jr., Abel Blanchard, John Marland, Abraham J. Gould, Mark Newman - July 13, 1834 - b. 281 leaf 251
Poor, Blanchard, Gould, Newman, Marland - Sept. 23, 1835 - b. 286 leaf 157 - Feb. 25, 1836
Ballard Vale Co. - July 10, 1834 b. 277 leaf 199– mill, dam and flowage rights
Ballard Vale Co – July 13, 1834 – b. 281 leaf 251
Ballard Vale Company - Aug. 19, 1836 - b. 292 leaf 109-111
Josiah Putnam Bradlee - 1866 - b.
J. Putnam Bradlee estate, William H. Hodgkins,Trustee - Feb. 2, 1887
Ballard Vale Mills Co. - Feb. 6, 1905 - b. 218 p. 238 - parcel 1
Northern Rubber Company - Sept. 29, 1927 - b. 537 p. 522
Ballard Vale Mills Co. - Sept. 29, 1927 - b. 537 p. 522 - mtg. deed
Susan A. Hodgkins, to Harry E. Perkins, POA - Apr. 12, 1932 - b. 569 p. 545
Susan A. Hodgkins, widow of William H., - Apr. 12, 1932 - b. 569 p. 546 - assignee of mtg.
Susan A. Hodgkins, widow of William H. - Mar. 25, 1933 - foreclosed - Northern Rubber Co.
Susan A. Hodgkins estate, July 15, 1937 - Probate #206675
Warren C. Kendall, Helen A. Kendall, Charles Wood Bond, Trs.- July 29, 1937 - b. 609 p. 481 - Probate
Warren C. Kendall - July 29, 1937 - b. 609 p. 483 - 1/4 share of Willis B. Hodgkins
Warren C. & Helen A. Kendall - Aug. 24, 1938 - b. 617 p. 480 - mtg. First National Bk.
First National Bank of Boston - Aug. 17, 1943 - b 659 p. 119 - poss. mtg deed
Wool Warehouse, Inc., Geo. L. Anderson Treas. - May 29, 1944 - b. 664 p. 180 assignee
214 Andover St. owners
Shawsheen Rubber Co., Inc. -Aug. 16, 1944 - b. 667 p. 157
Shawsheen Rubber Co., Inc. - Oct. 19, 1946 - b. 691 p. 52
Lock Realty Co. Trust, Inez E. Cashman, Trustee - Jan. 20, 1951 - b. 749 p. 522
Shawsheen Rubber Co. Inc. - Dec. 28, 1951 - b. 758 p. 234
Wool Warehouse, Inc., Geo. L. Anderson Treas. - May 29, 1944 - b. 664 p. 180 assignee
204 Andover Street owners
C. Lincoln Giles - Aug. 25, 1961 - b. 943 p. 43 - 18.73 acres w/blds
Hillery Realty Trust, Robert P. & Janet M. Hillery, Ronald W. Haselton - July 27, 1962 - b. 964 p. 51
Haverhill Savings Bank - Aug. 27, 1964 - b. 1017 p. 132 - possession - mtg. deed
First Finance Corporation - Aug. 27, 1965 - b. 1042 p. 143
G. A. C. Discount Co. of Chelmsford, Inc. - FKA - First Finance Corp.
Applied Microwave Laboratory, Inc. - Aug. 26, 1969 - b. 1138 p. 190
Essco Real Properties, Inc. FKA - Applied Micro. Lab. Inc.
Electronic Space Systems Corp. - June 30, 1972 - b. 1198 p. 107
Home Truck Leasing, Inc. (HTL Inc. 1974) - Dec. 22, 1978 - b. 1359 p. 706
H. T. L. Inc. Augustine P. Sheehy - Apr. 8, 1981 - b. 1496 p. 122
H. T. L. Inc. Augustine P. Sheehy - Oct. 21, 1983 - b. 1736 p. 175 - conf. deed
Shawsheen River Realty Limited Partnership - Linam Real Estate
Shawsheen River Office - Apr. 12, 2007 - b. 10709 p. 260
|Historic District||Ballardvale Local Historic District|
|Historic District||Ballardvale National Register District|
|Historic Name||Ballardvale Dam|
|Original Use||Dam for water power|
|Architectural Style||First Period|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Mill buildings 1 & 2 on west and east side of dam|
|Major Alterations||1835-38, 1960's 1990's, repair 2016|
|Map and parcel||138-23|
|Recorded by||Stack/Mofford, James S. Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||1975-77, 1/16/2017|