248 North Main Street

Architectural Description: 

Architect Lewis F. Dey of Philadelphia, Built of Deer Island granite, the roof was a green Spanish tile with copper cornices. A curved porch and turret on the south,
porte cochere at the front entry held a large open deck above.

Historical Narrative: 

For many years we have heard stories about “The Castle” that once stood at 248 North Main Street in the neighborhood now called Castle Heights. In May 1895, Maurice J. Curran and John Joyce of Lawrence purchased the estate named “The Croft” at 250 North Main Street from George W. W. Dove. Curran and Joyce were co-partners of the “Curran & Joyce Co.” established in 1877 as bottlers and manufactures of soda water and ginger ale. Business expanded to include wholesale dealers of import liquor and bottling agents for brewing companies in the northeast. Maurice and John were also brothers-in law, having married sisters Abigail and Mary J. Morrison. The two families moved into the “Croft” in May 1895 and shared the estate for nearly eighteen years. Maurice and Abigail Curran had four children; Mary, Joseph Frederick, Maurice Jr. and Margaret. John and Mary Joyce also had four children, two sons, James E, b. Aug. 5, 1877 d. Apr. 18, 1891 and John W., Jan. 8, 1879 d. Aug. 17, 1880 both died in Lawrence and daughters; Genevieve and Mary Elizabeth.

Joyce, born in Ireland in 1848, immigrated with his parents at age 14 and settled in Lawrence. He worked in the Washington Mills, later learned the hatter’s trade before becoming a partner with Curran. John’s business acumen made him one of the foremost financiers and capitalists in the country at this time. He founded the Shawinigan Water & Power Company in Quebec, Canada. He invested in King Gillette’s new safety razor and later became vice president of Gillette Safety Razor Co. Joyce financed many of the suburban gas companies around the Boston area and held several banking directorships. He was also once President and Vice President of the Harvard Brewing Company of Lowell, MA.

Joyce had once stated, when a small boy, that if he were ever rich enough he would build a castle like the one near his boyhood home in Ireland. In 1912 the 49 acre “Croft” estate was divided and John took 12.26 acres of land, south of the house, to build his dream castle “Ledgecroft”.

Architect Lewis F. Dey of Philadelphia created the plans. Built of Deer Island granite, the roof was a green Spanish tile with copper cornices. The twenty two room mansion had five bathrooms, several large fireplaces and an open curved main staircase. Lighting fixtures were solid silver and a stained glass window adorned the dining room. A curved porch and turret on the south corner afforded sweeping views to the Shawsheen River and meadows beyond, now Washington Park and Shawsheen Plaza. A porte cochere at the front entry protected visitors from the elements and held a large open deck above. Behind the house was a large granite retaining wall built up against the embankment. A granite stairway lead a hearty climber to the “Outlook”, a small gazebo at the crest of the hill. The landscaping included a tennis court between the two estates. A six car garage built of stucco with green roof tiles had a turntable for positioning vehicles into the stalls.

The old brick Marland house at 232 No. Main was named “The Lodge” and served as a gatehouse for the estate. Completed in the spring of 1913, John’s dream was finally realized but short lived. He died at his Beverly Hills, CA home on January 26, 1917. His wife Mary Jane (Morrison ) Joyce died just two years later on June 28, 1919.

“Ledgecroft” was inherited by the Joyce daughters, Mrs. Genevieve Johnson of Pasadena, CA and Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Shonnard of Oyster Bay, NY. They sold the mansion for $75,000 in December 1921 to the Earle Family of Lexington, MA who then sold to Vina M. and Edward M. Rickard of Haverhill in July of 1922.

Edward Rickard was owner and President of Rickard Shoe Company of Haverhill and Lynn, MA. He served as President of the Haverhill Shoe Manufacturers Association and VP of the National Boot & Shoe Manufactures Assoc. Other memberships included the Boston Athletic Association, Nashua Country Club, Pentucket Club and the Friars Club in NY. Rickard was also president of the Andover Country Club. Edward & Vina had eight children;

sons; Joacin, Henry C., James Theodore, Edward M. Jr., Charles and daughters; Edwina, Annette, and Geraldine. All the children attended prestigious colleges. Edward’s oldest son, Jochim was a passenger and reporter on the Graf Zeppelin’s first flight around the world in August 1929. The Rickard family business took a substantial financial hit during the stock market crash. The depression that followed ruined many of the shoe manufacturers in New England. By 1935 the family could no longer meet the financial obligation to the bank and the property was sold at public auction in June 1936.

“Ledgecroft” was purchased by Theodore & Kathleen Hoffacker. Theodore was a banker and President of the Harvard Brewing Company in Lowell, which had resumed operations after the repeal of prohibition. His wife was English and the couple had two young girls, Gertrude and Patsy. Theodore Hoffacker had two children from a previous marriage who lived in New York. The Harvard Brewing Co. was however headed for bankruptcy in 1937 and came under new ownership. Taxes on the estate and mortgage debt forced the sale of the estate again in November of 1940. The Hoffacker family relocated to Dallas, Texas.

On July 1, 1941 the Boston Federal Savings and Loan Co. sold the castle to Noyes Whittier Corp. developers. Demolition of “Ledgecroft” began immediately and continued for nearly two months. Razed block by block, much of the interior woodwork, fireplaces and roof tiles were salvaged and resold. The Castle Heights housing project contained 30 house lots. All that remains of the former Joyce estate is the garage which was converted into a home. Some of the granite blocks can be seen incorporated into garden walls and driveway boarders of the homes that were developed over the next ten years.

A deed restriction on the property prevented the house from being converted into apartments or multi-living units.

Bibliography/References: 

Essex Coundy Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Townsman
Lawrence Tribune
See maps. # 557 Vina M. Rickard, - # 985, T. Hoffacker Feb. 1936, -
# 1341 Sept. 1941 Noyes - Whittier, #1443 Noyes- Whittier, #1912 - Castle & Joyce Sts.

Owners
John Dove - Aug. 19, 1845 - b. 359 lf. 7 12 acres Salem deeds
George W.W. Dove & heirs - May 1, 1880 - b. 60 p. 402 Lawrence deeds.
Isabella Dove & Helen C. Dove - May 1, 1880 - b. 60 p. 402
Susan C. Dove & Geo. W. W. - July 7, 1891 - b. 113 p. 412
Ellen Ayer Wood - July 7, 1891 - b. 113 p. 412 - Arden Estate - portion of the John Dove Estate.
John Dove - Aug. 19, 1845 - b. 359 lf. 7
George W.W. Dove – 1865 – land for house “The Croft”
Susan C. & George W.W. Dove - June 22, 1892 - b. 120 p. 191-92 mgt.
Maurice J. Curran & John Joyce - May 31, 1895 - b. 140 p. 533-535 Croft Estate
Arthur P. McCormick, attorney transfer of property
Maurice J. Curran - Jan. 14, 1914 - b. 338 p. 125 divides property Croft
Arthur P. McCormick
John Joyce & Mary J. Joyce - Feb. 1, 1914 - b. 338 p 127 & b. 338 p. 130
John Joyce Estate, Trustees,Maurice J. Curran, Henry F. Hurlburt Jr.
Genevieve J. (Fahey) Johnson, Beverly Hills, CA & Mary Elizabeth J. Shonnard of Oster Bay, NY heirs, - Aug. 5, 1919 - b. 420 p.490
Arthur H. Earle of Lexington, MA - Dec. 9, 1921 - b. 451 p.410
Essie J, Earle - Jul. 21,1922 - b. 463 p. 461
Vina M. Rickard - Jul. 21,1922 - b. 464 p. 78
Vina M. Rickard & Edward Rickard - Aug. 7, 1924 Maurice J. Curran , right of way
b. 502 p. 297
Town of Andover Dec. 27, 1934 - b. 584 p.93 - Col. deed
Mortgage Exchange Trust Co. Feb. 13, 1936 mortgage sale - foreclosure - b. 596 p. 184 & 185 Vina M. Rickard & Edward Rickard
Public Auction 4PM on property - Jan. 28, 1936
Mortgage Exchange Trust Co. - Jun. 5, 1936
Henry W. Keyes Jr. - Jun. 5, 1936 b. 598 p. 412 - lot A
Theodore Hoffacker - Jun. 7, 1936 - -b. 599 p. 104 - Castle house & land lot. A
and b. 599 p. 105 lot B - Brick Gate house
Theodore & Kathleen J. Hoffacker - June 5, 1936 - b.618 p. 336 - lot. A - Castle
Hoffacker, Theodore & Kathleen - Nov. 8, 1940 -Bank Exchange Mort. Co.- foreclosure $4000 - b. 636 p.390
Exchange Mort. Loan Co.
Reconstruction Finance Corp. Nov. 8, 1940 b. 636 p. 394-98
Exchange Trust. Co. -
John & Cathleen M. Cahill (Law.) - Apr. 11, 1941 - b. 636 p. 129 - Mgt. poss.
Boston Federal Savings & Loan - Dec. 2, 1940 - b. 636 p.130 Lot A. Mtg. sale
Noyes Whittier Corp. - July 1, 1941 - b. 642 p. 501 - 11.41 acres

Castle Heights Rd and Joyce Terrace.
Noyes Whillier Corp. - Aug. 11, 1948 - b. 714 p. 219
July 1941 - 1953 - Lots parceled out.

Plan of Land in Andover #1341 and #1442
Castle Heights Rd, Joyce Terrace - #1912
Inclusive deeds of The Croft estate
John Stimson to Horace P. Holt – April 6, 1870 – b. 5 p. 320
April 29, 1870 AA - H.P. Holt has purchased the “John Stimson place” in Marland Village.
George H. Torr to George W.W. Dove – Dec. 10, 1879 – b. 58 p. 154
John Dove – George W.W. Dove - Dec. 10, 1879 - b. 58 p. 151
John Stimson – George W.W. Dove – Mar. 9, 1865 – b. 680 leaf. 288 Salem deeds
John Stimson to John Dove – July 5, 1867 – b 729 leaf 173 Salem deeds (excepting the land conveyed by Susan C. Dove to *Ellen W. Wood July 6, 1891 – b. 113 p. 412 – "Arden")

Inventory Data:

StreetNorth Main St
PlaceShawsheen Village - Frye Village
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameLedgecroft - John Joyce Caslte
Present UseNeighborhood house developement
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1913
SourceERDS, ENRDL
Architect/BuilderLewis F. Dey of Philadelphia
Foundationstone & granite
Wall/Trimbrick/granite
RoofSpanish tile
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresCarriage house
Major AlterationsRazed Summer 1941
Conditionrazed
Demolition DetailsSummer 1941
Acreage12.9
Settingresidential
Map and parcel37-56A
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredApril 2014

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