29 Essex Street

Architectural Description: 

window frame same as #28 Essex St. flush-boarded gable;

Historical Narrative: 

Themes - Architectural, Community development.

This Jacob Chickering homestead property at 29 Essex Street was once a part of the larger parcel which included #25 - #27 to the east and lots #31- #33 and #35 to the west. The property was about ¾ acre with 178’ 9” frontage on Essex St. Jacob Chickering was a master carpenter and house wright. He is noted for his delicate detailing and careful exterior decorations in wood during the period of Greek Revival architecture. He was assigned such important projects as Andover Baptist Church (1834) and the former Andover – Wilmington Railroad depot at #9 Essex St. (1836). He dissolved his partnership with Nathaniel Whittier in 1834. Many homes in town including #28 and #34 Essex St. were constructed by Chickering. He later sold his building business in the 1850’s to “Abbott, Thompson and Wilson” and turned his talent to piano manufacturing, building his factory between Essex St. & Pearson Streets. Here he manufactured the cases for the Chickering pianos which were then sent to his Boston shop to be fitted with the internal mechanisms.

Jacob Chickering was born Aug. 2, 1806 married Sarah Jane McMurphy b. Aug. 7, 1810. He built #29 Essex St. about the time of his marriage. They had six children. Milton 1838–1894, Emily 1840-1897, Augusta 1842-1845, Caroline 1844-1853, Otis 1846-1909 and Samuel 1849-1897. Jacob died on March 31, 1887 and the homestead was inherited by his wife Sarah Jane and his remaining four children. The property was quit claimed to their mother Sarah in Dec. 1887. Sarah died on March 26, 1893 and the property went to the remaining children.

Andover Advertiser - March 19, 1886 - "Mr. Jacob Chickering, whose name is familiar to every man, woman and child, who can claim Andover as its place of birth, called into the headquarters of the Advertiser, Monday afternoon, to pay a small bill. Contrary to his custom he had a few moments to spare, and was persuaded to sit down; it was very pleasing to the scribe that he took the whole conversation into his own hands, and required no urging to narrate many pleasing incidents in the history of the town. Mr. Chickering was born in his father's hotel, which was located on the present site of Stevens hall in North Andover, he moved to this town when a small boy, and the faculty for inventing which he developed in his younger days, is known to most Andover people. According to Mr. Chickering, the first machine for fighting fires was purchased in Vermont, and was named the Hydrolic Machine; when the Honeyman was purchased, which is now at Ballard Vale, the former was sold to the Smith & Dove Manufacturing Co. The first engine house in town, stood on Essex St., in one corner of Mr. C.'s garden. Among many other interesting facts, he mentioned that Gov. Phillips son was instrumental in building the turnpike road, the Mansion House , and Seminary. He also referred to the present water work supply project as an excellent thing for fire purposes if the proposed latterals would be six instead of four inches. Despite persistent urging, he would "satay no longer" but would "come again."
Jacob Chickering died a year later at age 81.

Otis Chickering purchased the property for $2750. from the family estate and by Will of his brother Samuel. Otis divided up the homestead lot selling off three parcels, #29 to Margaret English and #31-#33 to Eliza Connolly in April 1901, and #25-27 lot Timothy Hickey on May 1, 1901 for $800 which included the brick buildings thereon. Otis died on Oct. 23, 1909 and is interred in the Chickering family lot at South Church Cemetery.

Margaret English and husband Patrick held the property for 2½ years selling to Phoebe L. Coleman in Oct. 1903. Coleman held for 2 years then sold to Alice A. Conroy wife of Edward C. Conroy. The Conroy family would become long term owners of the Jacob Chickering House.
Lillian Conroy was the owner in 1940.


Andover Historical Society files - Chickering
Chickering, Jacob; Miscellaneous uncatalogued bills, building estimates, receipts, 1834-1878. North Andover Historical Society.
Poore, Dr. Alfred; "A Genealogical - Visitation of Andover in Year 1863" Essex Institute Historical Collection, vol. XLIX 1913, July - pp.239-252
Andover Townsman, Sept. 9, 1976
Interview with present owner Lillian Conroy (1976)
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA

Jacob Chickering - 1841-1887
Jacob Chickering – May 18, 1872 – b. 14 p. 528 mtg. ASB, $2000 - present homestead lot.
Sarah Jane Chickering – Dec. 31, 1887 – b. 94 p. 371
Sarah Jane Chickering Estate – Feb. 21, 1896 – b. 145 p. 112 release died 1893
Otis Chickering – Nov. 26, 1897 – b. 160 p. 228 – Chickering Homestead land
Margaret J. & Patrick English – Apr. 20, 1901 – b. 184 p. 169
Phoebe L. Coleman – Oct. 28, 1903 – b. 207 p. 253
Alice A. Conroy & Edward C. – Sept. 21. 1905 – b. 224 p. 318
Lillian Conroy – Aug. 3, 1940 – b.
Michael Murnane – July 2, 2003 – b.

Inventory Data:

StreetEssex St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameChickering, Jacob House
Present Useresidence and apartments
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1835
SourceAndover Historical Society files, Poore, Dr. Alfred
Architectural StyleGreek Revival
Architect/BuilderJacob Chickering
Wall/Trimwood clapboards, coverd vinyl sided
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresbarn at rear
Major Alterationsremodeled for apartments Former open porch on east facade with fluted columns enlosed 19 rooms, five units
Acreageless than one acre; 7,670 sq. ft. with 68' of approximate frontage
Map and parcel55-64
MHC NumberANV.193
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, updated 3/2014