41-43 Main Street

Historical Narrative: 

41-43 Main Street – Pettingill - Swift Building

The Pettingill - Swift building that formerly stood at 41-43 Main Street was an early trade building owned by Merrill Pettingill on the Essex Turnpike. Built in the mid 1800’s, the store was referred to as the Pettingill building. The 1850 tax evaluation lists Merrill Pettengill of Boston store & mech. at $1100. Andover 1852 map lists a M. Pettingill at this building. Pettingill was a blacksmith in town and his shop was located on Punchard Ave. “Merrill Pettingill was worshipful master of St. Mathew’s lodge of Masons in Andover for a period of 12 years and holds the record in that office”[1924]. The Andover Advertiser’s first publication on Feb. 19, 1853 a merchants card lists Mark Newman 2nd - Cabinet Furniture Maker at Pettingill’s Building a few doors south of the Bank. May 13, 1854 - Mark Newman 2nd – bought the rights to manufacture & sell Mudge’s Patent Washing Machines and his ad lists several Andover residents who have purchased the machines including Mrs. Benjamin Punchard.
May 17, 1856 – New Tailoring Establishment – John H. Dean – Merchant Tailor – Main Street – a few steps above Blood’s Restorator, formerly Trulan’s Store.
Aug. 30, 1856 – Dress Making – Victoria Fielding – has taken one of the rooms formerly occupied by White & Hodges. Swifts Building, directly over John H. Dean’s Clothing Store, Main St. Dress making of every description.
April 5, 1856 – Harriet Carleton – Millinery removal from her old stand to Swift’s building, No 15 Main Street – Mar. 29.
Sept. 6, 1856 - J. Walton - Millinery & Fancy Goods has taken over the store recently occupied by Miss Harriet Carleton
Oct. 22, 1859 – A brick sidewalk has been laid in front of the stores of Messrs. J. H. Dean & J. Walton, on Main Street. It would add greatly to the comfort of pedestrians especially in the muddy season of the year, if it could be extended to meet the brick walk in front of the bank building.

By 1860 Nathaniel Swift is the owner and it is listed as Pettengill’s shop & land worth $1350 in valuation. Acquired by Nathaniel Swift Jr., the building stood north of his new home at 53 Main Street near the corner of Chestnut Street. The Swift building was located just six feet north of the north wall enclosing Rogers Brook which flows through the property.

Two separate businesses rented shops here with additional space on the second floor and attic. Two photographs reveal only a slight facade change. The door on the left was switched with the bay window to give the building a symmetrical look in 1873. The building was originally only a 28’ x 28’ square and moved back about 10’ from its former alignment on Main Street. A raised board deck extended out from the entrances to meet the sidewalk. A small extension with a shed roof was later added across the rear of the building for additional space.
About 1940 a new front was constructed across the front of the property creating a “10” footer modern look to the old building.

June 14, 1872 AA – Nathaniel Swift is preparing to make great improvements in his store block on Main Street. The building will be raised or moved back, and a new front built. From Mr. Swift’s well known good taste in such matters, and interest in public improvements generally, we have no doubt his block, when completed, will equal if not outshine those of his neighbors.
September 26, 1873 AA – Nathaniel Swift is raising his store on Main Street about three feet. This will furnish an opportunity to raise the sidewalk in front of the building which is a needed improvement.
From period photographs it does not appear that Swift raised his building three feet as stated but it was lifted and moved back onto a new foundation with a full basement below.

Benjamin Brown established a shoe & boot shop in 1861 in the Deacon Albert Abbott building on the “Hill” relocated to the center of town in Swift’s building at #43 in August 1870. His son George A. Brown joined the business before 1896. They did a large trade in custom work. After the death of George in 1918 the business was purchased by Henry E. Miller who had established a shop with partner Alfred Robb on Bartlet St. “The Andover Shoe Hospital” in 1914. Later Miller moved to Central Street before locating to the Brown store in 1919. Miller’s Shoe Hospital remained in the Swift Building until September 1927. Miller built the new business block next door at 45-47-49 and moved into #49. Ferguson’s Jewelry store also moved out of #41 into Miller’s new block at #47 the same month.

The Swift building, then owned by William J. Burns appears to have remained vacant for a few years during the depression until 1932 when Morin’s Inc., owned by Frederick E. Hebert, occupied the #43. Harry M. Carter’s Confectionary store was here in 1935 but gone in 1937. Michael Jays in 1939 at #43 and by 1943 had expanded into both spaces. #41 had housed the Andover Appliance Co. 1937-1942.

A brief history of John H. Dean in 1896 states he began his men’s tailoring business in this location in 1856 and moved across the street in 1866. T. Murphy then occupied the space. The Advertiser reported in 1866 that W.F. Draper occupied the former space of Dean. Draper relocated to the H.W. Abbott house which he purchased in 1868 later became #39 Main St. and known as the Draper block.

A fire at Elm Square May 26, 1870 (site of Memorial Hall Library to Pearson Street) totally destroyed the businesses and residences of several tradesmen. In June Charles Mayers, one who lost his shop has taken rooms for his harness business in Nathaniel Swift’s building on Main Street but shortly after moved to the Draper block basement in August.

Oct. 25, 1872 AA – Mrs. R. L. Tapley has removed her millenary business to the store in Swift’s building recently occupied by John Morrison. She has been in town about two years, during which time she has had a first class, constantly increasing business, and now finds it necessary to obtain more commodious apartments for accommodation. She has also added fancy and worsted goods to her stock in trade, and taken Mrs. E. A. Hanson into co-partnership in this department.
March 9, 1873 AA – Millenary – Mrs. Tapley has taken rooms in Draper’s Block
March 13, 1874 AA – Mrs. Tapley has sold out her millinery and fancy goods business to Misses Dow of Springfield, and Neal of Hampton Falls, NH. Mrs. Tapley will soon remove to Dedham.

June 5, 1874 AA – While the store of Benjamin Brown on Main Street is being remodeled and improved, he may be found in the rear of Draper’s block.
November 13, 1874 AA- Swift’s building, on Main Street, has been remodeled and beautified and now furnishes two of the handsomest and most convenient stores on the street. They are occupied by Benjamin Brown and Misses Dow & Neal.
Dec. 11, 1874 AA – Misses Dow & Neal have just received a new lot seasonable millinery, worsted and fancy goods. The articles have all been selected with excellent taste, and lady purchaser cannot fail of being suited if they will just examine the goods.
Miss C. G. McNutt Dress & Cloak maker was here in 1885, a ladies hairdresser in 1896, and Misses Bradley Dry & Fancy goods 1897-8.

Sept. 10, 1897 p1 AT – The store occupied by Misses Bradley has changed hands and will be opened tomorrow morning under new management. The store will be in charge of Misses Alice & Sarah Riley of Lawrence, who have been with A. W. Stearns &
Co. and are experienced milliners. It is their intention to make improvements at the store and carry a more extended line of goods.

Sept. 17, 1897 AT p1 The store formerly occupied by Misses Bradley and recently purchased by Miss Riley, will be known as “The Fleur-de-Lis”. A full line of fancy goods will be kept in stock, but no millinery as was announced last week by mistake.
Miss Sarah Riley had the Fleur-de-Lis Shop, a notions & ladies shop during the teens.
July 7, 1916 AT pg.1 col. 2 Miss Esther Batchelder has entered the employ of Miss Riley at the “Fleir de Lis” [Fleur-de-Lis shop at 41 Main St. in the Swift Building]
Frances Dalton, a local artist and teacher lived 60 Main Street as a child and wrote the following about the shop.[1985]
“Across the street were two, much smaller shops. A wooden platform approached them. On the right was Miss Sarah Riley’s seamstress shop. There was a little bell over her door that tingled and announced your entry. The shop was inside and outside like something from Charles Dickens’ England. Miss Riley was a tiny woman, like my mother, only older and rather plump with gray hair combed high on her head. I used to love to watch her make buttons for the dresses she made. In those days, buttons were very beautiful and fashioned after the imagination of their maker. On the left was Mr. Brown’s shop. He was the only shoe shop in town, and he sold fine quality shoes. Here the business section ended on that side.”

In October 1923 John Ferguson moved his business of jewelry, clocks & watches from the Musgrove building to this shop. Four years later in September 1927 he moved into the small center store of the new Miller block next door at #47.
In the early 1930’s the building was extended out to meet the sidewalk and one large store was created from the previous two about 1942-3. The new front facade had large plate glass windows, brick ends and a uniform signage band at the top creating a modern “ten footer” look attached to the front of the old store. Michael Jay’s woman’s apparel shop was here through the 1960’s. The shop was then divided in half again and #41 was occupied by Colpitt’s Travel Agency in 1970 and the “Personal Touch” gift shop in #43.

A fire gutted the building on January 9, 1975 and the building was razed. The Andover Savings Bank subsidiary company ASB Development Corp. had purchased the property in 1974 and used the land in the rear for employee parking. The lot remained empty, as did the adjoining lot to the north after the former Draper Building was razed in 1957. For many years, only a split rail fence divided the sidewalk from the empty lots below. It extended from the Swift building up to the Taylor Shop in the old Barnard Building. During Andover Bazaar Day’s in June children could get pony rides at the dirt lot while residents could watch from the sidewalk about eight feet above.


Northern Essex Registry of Deeds, Lawrence MA
Essex County Registry of Deeds, Salem, MA
Andover Historical Society Archives
Andover Resident Street Directories
Andover Evaluation Reports, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920.
Andover Town Maps, 1852, 1855, 1872, 1888, Sanborn Maps, 1896, 1906
Andover Advertiser & Andover Townsman newspapers

Merrill Pettengill
Nathaniel Swift - (1778-1840)
Nathaniel Swift Jr. - (1805-1875) Estate - died Sept 29, 1875
Swift Estate, wife Almena, & issue, George F., Kate, Elizabeth F.
George, Martha, & Charlotte Swift - April 16, 1878 - probate, estate.
Martha & Charlotte Swift - July 10, 1886 - b. 87 p. 98 -101
Martha E. Swift, et alii - Aug. 29, 1904 - b. 214 pg. 85
George F. Swift
Kate Adams Swift et al - Nov. 17, 1905 - b. 226 p. 505 – 1st parcel
William J. Burns - June 7, 1927 - b. 533 p. 98 parcel #2
Andover Savings Bank - 1973
ASB Development - 1973
TD Banknorth - 2001
TD Bank

Inventory Data:

StreetMain St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic NamePettingill - Swift Building
Present UseRetail / Commercial
Original UseRetail / Commercial
Construction Date1840
Architectural StyleOther
Architect/BuilderNathaniel Swift
Wall/Trimclapboards/wood & brick
Major AlterationsFire gutted building on January 9, 1975, razed 1975
Demolition Details1975
Settingcommercial business district
Map and parcel55-93
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered4/2014