43 Essex Street
Site of History 🛈The Site of History tag is given to properties that were lost before this building survey was undertaken.

Architectural Description: 

Gothic Revival structure, repeated Gothic arch design on front and side facades. Three entrances to symbolize the Holy Trinity. Excellent copper work on steeple.

Excellent example of intact roof balustrade on the Rectory

Historical Narrative: 

Present owner; Parish of St. Augustine, St. Mary's Church Society of Lawrence.
Themes - Architectural, Community Development, and Religion.

The first Roman Catholic Church to be built in Andover was located at 71 Central Street on the site of the present Belknap House. On June 22, 1852, the Archbishop of Boston, John Bernard Fitzpatrick, purchased a lot of land on Central St. from Mathew Culley. A modest church structure was built along with a cottage house and small barn was erected on the site by Rev. James O'Donnell O.S.C. of Lawrence. St. Augustine's Parish was a mission church from St. Mary's Church Society of Lawrence. The church was served by Lawrence clergy until 1866 when St. Augustine's was established as an independent parish.

Rev. Michael F. Gallagher, O.S.A. became the first pastor. "On his untimely death in 1869, he was succeeded by Rev. Ambrose A. Mullen, O.S.A." Father Mullen was a former president of Villanova College, came with "experience and wisdom" vastly developing the parish.

July 9, 1875 Andover Advertiser (AA) - William Corse has sold his land and buildings on Essex Street to Father A. A. Mullen. James Howarth executed the deed transfer from Corse to Father Mullen on July 12, 1875. As the property contained the William Corse home, the deed stipulated that Corse had use of the east side tenement rent free for the remainder of the year and a Mr. Osborn, renting the west side tenement, could continue to rent for the same period of time. William Corse was an Andover merchant who had a shoe store in the basement of the Baptist Church later moving to other locations.

St. Augustine's church relocated to 43 Essex St. in 1879 to a more central location for the parishioners. Sadly Father Mullen died in 1876. Rev. Maurice Murphy, O.S.A. continued Rev. Mullen's work and "set about building a permanent church, a wooden structure on the site of the present rectory."

June 27, 1879 AA – Father Murphy was seen one morning this week, pick in hand, working with the laborers on the foundation of his new church on Essex Street. The work of putting in the foundation of the new Catholic Church on Essex Street is progressing rapidly. The structure will be of wood, 60 x 80 feet, seats for six hundred persons. The expense will be about $10,000 and the building it is expected will be completed by Christmas.
The Andover Advertiser (AA) - Dec. 3, 1880 - St. Augustine’s new church to open.

The large Gothic Revival building took three more years to complete and services were conducted in the basement while the upper church was finished. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1883.

What slowed the construction down of the new St. Augustine's was noted on April 22, 1881 AA pg 2. col. 9 - At a meeting of the Catholic Church, recently held, it was voted to suspend further work on their church edifice for the present, and proceed at once with to build the church at Ballard Vale.
Pg 3. Ballard Vale. Work on the new Catholic Church on High St. has already commenced and the building will be completed in a few months. It will have a seating capacity for 300 persons. Builder, James Bulger of Burlington, VT. who is the contractor.
May 20, 1881 AA - Foundation in for the new Catholic Church – built under the supervision of John Stack. (St. Joseph’s Church on High Vale St.)
September 2, 1881 AA - St. Joseph’s Church at Ballard Vale, has stained glass windows from the establishment of Messrs. Cook, Reading and Congress. Co.
Sept. 11, 1896 – pg. 5 BV – New belfry on St. Joseph’s Church greatly improves its appearance, especially at a distance.

Father Murphy was succeeded by a priest of equal zeal in 1887, the Very Rev. Jeremiah J. Ryan, O.S.A. who remained until 1894. The Very Rev. Thomas A. Field then began his work for the parish. He painted the exterior of the church, now ten years old, affixed a new copper cross to its steeple, and made other improvements. The church however, caught fire and burned to the ground on November 8, 1894.

"Undaunted by the unexpected blow, Fr. Field immediately made plans for a new edifice. It would be made of wiped brick, with a stone facing; modern steel trusses would support the magnificently-arched ceiling. He began his work immediately, holding services in the town hall until the new church could be used. A Mr. Holt of Boston was the architect.

Additional lots of land on Essex and Pearson Streets were purchased for the new structure.
Land on Essex St. #1 parcel; at land of Aaron Sawyer Jr. N as the fence runs to land of Alfred N. Davis, W as fence runs by Davis land and land formerly of Patrick Hannon, it being the second parcel described to land of Smith & Dove Manufacturing Co. then S. to Essex St. East on Street to first bound to grantor from Maurice J. Murphy el al, Apr. 26, 1895 – b. 141 p. 5.
#2 parcel on Pearson St. north on Pearson St., East by Davis land South by first parcel and land of Smith & Dove and W by land of George Stewart.

May 3, 1895 AT. - Catholic Church Contract Awarded – Cochrane & Co. of Lowell – Hardy & Cole sub contract to remove the remnants of the old building.

The cornerstone was laid for the present church in August 1895. It took five years to complete. "Every organization in the small but spirited parish took part in raising the almost fabulous building cost of $40,000." The Very Rev. Daniel J. O'Mahoney, O.S.A. succeeded Fr. Field in 1898.

The first rectory for St. Augustine's priest, Rev. Michael F. Gallagher, 1866 -1867, stood at foot of Pearson Street, south side. Later moved to top of Pearson Street and in 1950, was tenement behind Fraser's filling station. This rectory stood where the second church edifice was built 1879-1883.

In 1903, present rectory built on spot where first wooden church has been burned.

Land originally acquired from M. Christopher Andrews who had house on site.
William P. Reagan architect from Lawrence, plans for new parochial residence for St. Augustine's. Regan also designed the Indian Ridge School on Cuba St. and the Musgrove Building. May 19, 1905 Andover Townsman (AT) p1. - The beautiful new parochial residence of St. Augustine’s Church is now receiving finishing touches in the shape of lawns and walks. The grading is being done by M. J. Stack which is sufficient guarantee that and attractive result will be secured.

As for the former first Catholic church on Central Street;
April 1, 1881 AA pg. 2 . "B. Frank Smith has purchased the “old Catholic Church edifice” and land connected with, situated on Central Street. The building has not been used since the Society have occupied their new church on Essex Street." Smith paid Archbishop John J. Williams $1010. for the property. The following day Smith sold the land to Lyman A. Belknap for $1 and more considerations. Smith would later sell the cottage and barn on the site to the Andover Electric Co. and they were moved to Lupine Rd. Belknap however kept ownership of the old church building.

April 26, 1889 AT pg. 1 -Hardy and Cole have contracted to build Lyman A. Belknap’s new residence on the site of the old Catholic Church. The cottage which was on the lot and the old barn have been sold to the Electric Light Company for removal to their premises. The Church having been sawed in two, Mr. Belknap has moved the front part to his lot this side of E. H. Barnard’s; the back part, unless sold, will be moved back and made into a stable.
May 16, 1890 - AT pg. 4 - B. B. Tuttle has purchased of L. A. Beklnap a part of the Old Catholic Church building and it has been moved by Wilson to land next to the blacksmith shop of Anderson and Bowman on Bartlet St. He will use it for a stable.
May 24, 1889 AT - On the site of the old Catholic Church, Mr. Belknap’s new house is being framed (by Hardy & Cole) Soon to go over the fine cellar which Napoleon IV has nearly finished.
(See 71 Central St.)


A.T. March 11, 1904 p. 8, col 4.
Andover Historical Society files
Cole, John; Glimpses of Andover, 1896
One Hundredth Anniversary: St. Augustine's Parish, Andover, Mass. 1892-1952. Lawrence
Saint Augustine's Parish, Andover, Mass. 1866-1966, 100th Anniversary, 1966
Essex Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA

William Corse - homestead lot
James Howarth - July 13, 1875 - b. 35 p. 512
Rev. Ambrose A. Mullen - July 13, 1875 - b. 35 p. 512
Christopher A. McEvoy – Aug. 22, 1883 – b. 73 p. 27
Rev. Maurice J. Murphy, John Devir and Peter C. McGowen, Trust - Aug. 22, 1883 – b. 73 p. 28
Trust – Land held in Trust for support and maintenance of religious worship and observances in accordance with the doctrines, Roman Catholic Church, for the use and benefit of the congregation of Catholic “Church of St. Augustine” in said Andover.
Rev. Maurice J. Murphy, John Devir and Jerimiah J. Ryan , Trust - Sept. 9, 1884 – b. 77 p. 95-96
Rev. Jeremiah J. Ryan, trustee - St. Mary’s Church Society of Lawrence - Apr. 26, 1895 – b. 141 p. 4 lot #1
Rev. Maurice J. Murphy, to St. Mary’s Church Society of Lawrence, – Apr. 26, 1895 – b. 141 p. 5 lot #2
Andover Savings Bank – May 1, 1896 – b. 163 p. 359 – mtg. $8000. b. 146 p. 359
St. Mary’s Church Society of Lawrence, Rev. James J. O’Reilly - May 1, 1896 - b. 146 p. 359
Essex Savings Bank – June 25, 1898 – b. 163 p.34
Lawrence Savings Bank – Jan. 5, 1905 – b. 217 p. 128
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston – Oct. 8, 1917 – b. 38 p. 503?

Other deed referenced properties;
47 Essex St - Moody Russell – Oct. 11, 1872 – b. 17 p. 436 Lawrence Deed - pd. $500.
Moody Russell – b. 512 leaf 216 - Essex Salem Deed
William Corse – Jan. 15, 1875 – b. 33 p. 309 - mtg. $2500
Andover Savings Bank – Mar. 25, 1879 – b. 33 p. 309 - mtg. sale
Maurice J. Murphy – Mar. 25, 1879 – b. 54 p. 571-573 - $2550. at auction
Andover Savings Bank – Mar. 25, 1879 – b. 54 p. 574-575 mtg. $2500 dis. b. 133 p. 136
26 Pearson St. - Edward O’Hagen – Feb. 5, 1948 – b. 707 p. 251 – house behind church - Plan #1852
22 Pearson St. –Edward J. & & Barbara M. Madden – July 10, 1998 - b. 5117 p. 26 lot1
Mary Lonergan Kane – June 26, 2001 – b. 6220 p. 188 – lot 2

Central Street: first location;
John H. Abbott & Lyman A. Belknap – Jan. 4, 1887 – b. 89 p. 172 - Central St.
Lyman A. Belknap – Jan. 4, 1887 – b. 89 p. 172 - Central St.

Nathan Swift et alii. to John H. Fitzpatrick (Bishop?) – Jan. 2, 1854 – b. 520 leaf 155 – passageway Central to Lupine [deed says County road to new street Rail Road St. near Harwell Abbott’s bridge]

Nathan Swift et alii. to John J. Williams (Bishop) – Jan. 8, 1884 – b. 98 p. 463 – passageway Central to Lupine [deed says County road to new street Rail Road St. near Harwell Abbott’s bridge] Check - Dec. 26, 1888

John Abbott, W. Phillips Foster & Daniel P. Abbott – four parcels
Mary Ann Perry – May 31, 1856 – b. 533 lf. 68 - four parcels
Mary Ann Perry, wid. – June 13, 1879 – b. 56 p. 365 - four parcels
Lyman A. Belknap – June 13, 1879 0 b. 56 p. 367 - four parcels #4 Catholic Church lot

Inventory Data:

StreetEssex St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameSaint Augustine Roman Catholic Church & Rectory
Present UseRoman Catholic Church
Original UseRoman Catholic Church
Construction Date1895 - 1897
SourceAndover Historical Society files
Architectural StyleGothic Revival
Architect/BuilderMr. Holt of Boston/Architect
Foundationstone & granite
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresRectory built 1905 Garage
Major Alterationsrectory renovated 1950
Acreageless than one acre; 30,960 sq. ft. with approximate frontage of 203'
Map and parcel55-61
MHC NumberANV.197
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, updated 3/2014