397 Lowell Street

Architectural Description: 

Brick construction, hip slate roof with monitor window dormer.

Historical Narrative: 

The handsome brick building on the left as you enter parking area of the current Robert E. McQuade Water Treatment Plant on Lowell St. was the first Water Works plant built in Andover in 1889. The building is one of a handful of that period that survives in the state. Prior to the construction of this facility nearly every home, business, and school in town had well water. A series of small reservoirs near the center of town, ponds and the Shawsheen River supplied water to some homes and were used for fire suppression. The Town began a study in 1887 for a municipal Water Works and construction began in 1889. The three acre site was purchased from Mrs. Margaret Millis, wife of George of Chelmsford on August 16, 1889 for $900. A holding reservoir was also built on Bancroft Road and a pumping house as part of this project.

At Town Meeting March 7, 1887 the voters appropriated $5000 for a Waterworks, which was not spent, and $1000 for Survey for a Waterworks and Crafts & Forbes was hired to survey and report to the town the best options. They had predicted that the process would take two years before construction could begin.

AT - March 8, 1889 –p.4 Town Meeting Warrant, Art. #17 – “The water question was not debated, but a motion was carried to appoint John H. Flint, Jas. P. Butterfield and Felix G. Hayes a Committee to take the matter into consideration and report to the town which of the four schemes recommended by the Engineers is the best for the town to adopt, and any other recommendations they seem fit to make.” These men would later be elected as Andover’s first water commissioners.

AT - April 19, 1889 – p. 4 Special Town Meeting – The Water Works – Report that Haggett's Pond supply best source as recommended by the engineers in 1887. To supply to a reservoir to be built near Albert Bancroft’s (Bancroft Rd.) Cost $150,000. Full report on pg. 6. 19 miles of pipe, 149 hydrants, all necessary gates, etc. not to exceed $150,000. Mr. Forbes the engineer – Town had appropriated $100,000.

The 220 acre Haggett's Pond was the best source to use and the first reservoir to be built on Bancroft Road to distribute water out to the residents. May 9, 1889 - Special town meeting on June 8, 1889 to create a commission and act on original Act of 1887, “An Act to supply the town of Andover with water”

June 21, 1889 p.1 – The Board of Water Commissioners having organized, (Mr. Flint being Chairman and Mr. Hayes Secretary) has promptly begun preliminary work. They are to occupy as an office in the north-west ante room in the Town-House, which has been used for some time as a Police headquarters.
The Water Commissioners have made a contract with Percy M. Blake of Hyde Park, Mass, to make surveys, plans, specifications, and inspections for the water works; he is to commence operations next Monday morning. Mr. Blake is a civil engineer of experience and good standing, and has successfully put in several water-systems including those in Dover, NH and Wakefield, etc.
AT – Aug. 2, 1889 –p. 4 Andover Water Works bids out, Camden Iron Works of Philadelphia – Pipe contract, 12, 10, 8, 6, & 4 inches. Water Works will be near Bailey’s Grove
AT - Aug. 16, 1889 – p.1 - The town has purchased of Margaret Millis, the Heatherwood Land, next west of Bailey’s grove at Haggett’s Pond, to be used as a place for the pumping station of the water works.
p. 4 Contract for Laying the Water Pipes Awarded. Charles H. Eglee of Flushing, NY.

Mr. Eglee hired 200 Italian workers to dig the trenches and lay the pipes throughout the town. His laborers were housed in buildings near the pumping station site. The brick Water Works building was constructed by Hardy & Cole of Andover. The building is 25’ x 75’, was divided into two rooms, Boiler and Pump and Engine room, slate trussed roof, and had a square chimney 80’ tall. The boilers were fueled by coal and the pumps steam driven. A 14” pipe went out into the pond and rested on a filter crib. The pump was capable of pumping 1200 gallons per minute into the reservoir on Bancroft Road and predicted to supply 432,000 gallons of water for every ton of coal burned. By November the building was completed and the reservoir nearly done. The only delays were a labor shortage and the arrival of the pumps. Residents and businesses began the process of applying to the commissioners to install water service into their buildings. It should be noted that electrical service also came to Andover in 1889.

AT- Nov. 1, 1889 - Andover News p. 8 – Regulations and Rates of the Andover Waterworks.
List of 10 regulations, Rates for Dwelling houses, Boarding houses, Hotels, (Offices, Stores, Markets and Barber Shops), Stables, Hose, Manufacturing purposes, Building purposes, Miscellaneous, ie. Fountains, greenhouses, garden hydrants…, Measured Water, and Meter Rates.

AT- Nov. 15, 1889 p. 2 includes a Map of Andover Water Works, pipes being laid to the town center, Frye Village and Ballardvale. Also a drawing of the Geo. F. Blake pump to be installed in the pumping station and a complete page of stats on the Pond, Station, Reservoir, etc.

Dec. 20, 1889 p. 4 – Andover News – The pipe layers on the waterworks have reached Haggett's Pond and are now at work on School Street. The pump for the station at Haggett's Pond has been shipped, and a potion is already here.

Dec. 27, 1889 – p. 4 – Waterworks Progress – The warm weather is a great factor in the rapid progress of laying pipe, and though this is but a small force at work, the streets are being rapidly piped. School, Chestnut and Elm Streets are finished, and the surface layers follow closely after.
The pump has arrived at the reservoir and the workmen are putting it together as fast as possible.
Geo. S. Cole is putting up the coal sheds at the pumping station.

January 15th 1890 had been set as the date that service would come online but delays pushed it back. We do know the first water main break came in February. AT Feb. 28, 1890 p. 4 Abbott Village – A break in the water main on the road to Haggett’s Pond occurred near the home of David Cunningham last Sunday. It was speedily repaired by a gang of workmen. (Cunningham lived at 149 Shawsheen Rd.)

The pumping station was online for over 70 years and went through several updates in technology along the way. The first engineer and superintendent of the Water Works was John E. Smith in Nov. 1889. John Ellsworth Smith b. Feb. 7, 1862 in Dedham, MA, son of John L. & Mary E. (Barker) Smith. His father owned Smith & Manning’s provisions store at 11 Essex St. John attended public schools, then Phillips Academy. He enrolled at MIT in the engineering school for two years then worked as the assistant at the Boston Water Works for six years. John also assisted in developing the town’s sewer system. John married on Dec. 4, 1890 to Mary H. Howarth b. Oct. 21, 1865 in Andover, dau. of Oberlin & Mary (Whitcomb) Howarth. John & Mary lived at 56 High St. They had seven children; John Lowe b. Aug. 21, 1892, Mary Elizabeth b. May 7, 1893, Helen Saunders b. June 15, 1894, Dorothy Howarth b. Oct. 13, 1895, William Butterfield b. Sept. 15, 1897 and Anna Janet b. 1902. His wife Mary died on Feb. 14, 1903. John married again to Jane Sherwood Dorrington b. 1864 in New Brunswick, Canada, dau. of John M. & Esther (Sherwood) Dorrington. In 1910 John was the civil engineer for the Tyer Rubber Co., later moved to Beverly where he died on May 24, 1916.

It soon became apparent that an engineer needed to be on site in case a problem arose. The town built a Queen Anne style home just west of the pumping station in 1892. It was constructed by H. Bourdelais for $1878.10. The first engineer to occupy the home was George Washington Spickler b. Dec. 1854 in Ohio, Engineer at the Andover Waterworks in 1892-1926. Married on March 8, 1888 in Cook Co. Illinois, to Harriet “Hattie” Cook and had two daughters; Carolyn b. Nov. 5, 1889 in Janesville, Rock, Wisconsin and Lois Ann b. July 19, 1892 in Ohio. George and his family were the first occupants of the new Queen Anne style house built for the Water Works engineer at 397 Lowell St. in 1893. George served as the engineer of the Water Works for nearly 35 years prior to his death in 1926.


Northern Essex Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Andover Townsman 1889 - 1890
Andover Town Reports, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1926
Andover Center for History & Culture
Ancestry.com - Smith, Spickler, Pillsbury, Rollins family history
Andover Town Directories

Land owners of Haggett's Pond parcel:
Isaac Carruth, wife Anna – 1836 - 1854
Thomas A. Heathwood, of Lowell – May 6, 1854 – b. 494 leaf 300 - $350 – 3a 31 rods
Mrs. Margaret Millis, wife of George of Chelmsford – Sept. 14, 1880 – b.61 p. 392 = $300
Town of Andover – Aug. 16, 1889 – b. 102 p. 120 - $900

Inventory Data:

StreetLowell St
PlaceWest Parish - West Andover
Historic DistrictAndover Historic Building Survey
Historic NameAndover Water Works
Present UseStorage
Original UsePumping station for Water Works
Construction Date1889
SourceECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs
Architectural StyleOther
Architect/BuilderHardy & Cole (builders)
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures80' smoke stack chimney 1889, coal shed 1889, Queen Anne style engineer's home 1892
Major Alterationssmoke stack chimney and coal shed razed. Engineer's home razed in 1990's
Acreage3.19 acres
Map and parcel198-25
Recorded byW. Frontiero, James S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered28 Feb 1980, 7/22/2020