5 Porter Road

Architectural Description: 

When built it was an elegant Georgian Revival home with balustrades on the roof and porch entry; some detailed friezes and dentil work survives. Exquisite central ell shaped staircase, 6 working fireplaces and 3 mantels with Latin inscriptions: In the former living room - AD FOCVM COR CALIDUM (At the hearth a warm heart). In the former library - AMICIS ET LIBRIS QVID MELVIS (There is nothing better than friends and books). In the former dining room - OMNIA SALE SPARGANTVR (Let all things be sprinkled (seasoned) with salt.) These rooms have now been incorporated into three condominium units. A large wraparound porch on the front east and south sides was removed in the 1950s, as was the roof balustrade.

Historical Narrative: 

This house was built in the spring of 1894 on land purchased from J.C. Hidden by Georgianna Snow on Nov. 3, 1893. Georgianna Snow was born on May 23, 1875, Boston, youngest child of David & Georgianna (Coburn) Snow. Her father was a Fish dealer in Boston. The Snow family moved to Andover in 1880 when her father purchased the Elm House Stables on Park St. David Snow bread horses and was a very successful merchant. Georgiana Coburn died in Aug. 1884 and David in Boston on Feb. 25, 1888. The extensive estate went to his children. Daughter Georgianna married on July 25, 1894 at Christ Church to Charles Henry Forbes. Charles was a Latin teacher at Phillips academy, (1891-1932) made Professor in 1894. Charles was born on Mar. 22, 1866 in Providence, RI, son of Kenneth D. & Jane (Dunlap) Forbes. His father was a carpenter & builder. Charles graduated from Brown University in 1890 and was elected at teacher in 1891.
The wedding announcement in the Townsman July 27, 1894 - p.4 - ....."Their home will be the beautiful residence which is now about completed on Porter Street, Andover Hill."
Because he and/or his wife had substantial independent means, the Forbes’s' lifestyle was unlike any other on the hill. “He was driven to classes by a chauffeur in a large black limousine. His home was a striking example of careless opulence -- "elegantly furnished" -- with a wood working shop in the basement where he made fine furniture.” The 1900 census list Charles, Georgianna, her sister Ellen “Nellie”C. Snow and two servants; a cook and second girl. By 1910 a third servant, seamstress Margaret Keane age 52 resides with the family a job she held for 30 years as a companion. Georgianna died Aug. 23, 1907 in Nantucket of heart failure. Professor Forbes later married his sister-in-law Ellen Coburn Snow on Jan. 2, 1914 in Wayland, MA.

"Forbes was a conservative, with a preference for traditions, established customs, and well-worn roads. He disliked intensely all agitations, communists, 'smart alecks', flappers, and democrats, as well as bad manners, flashiness, irreverence, and the New Republic." This statement contradicts the fact that he was the most beloved teacher at the academy for his teaching style as he submerged the students into the culture of the Roman times and on occasion taught in a toga while reading Virgil’s Aenead with his students.

Forbes was acting Headmaster in 1913-14 and played host to Teddy Roosevelt on June 12, 1913 who spent night at Forbes home, attending his son's graduation at Phillips Academy on Friday, June 13. Charles also witnessed the transformation of the campus in the 1920’s. Charles was made acting Headmaster again in 1932-1933. The Academy and Town were stunned when Charles H. Forbes passed away from a heart attack on March 12, 1933. Charles was a fixture at Town Meetings, the first chairman of the Planning Commission and host of the annual Lincoln Spelling matches at Town Hall. His widow Ellen died the following year on August 17, 1934. All are interred at the Chapel Cemetery at Phillip Academy.

Ellen Coburn (Snow) Forbes left the property to Phillips Academy in her will. On Sept. 1, 1944 the Trustees of Phillips Academy sold parcel #1 to The Pike School, Inc. which included the mansion. The school converted the rooms to classrooms. They purchased a second parcel on the north side of the house on Oct. 10, 1956 adding annex for a gymnasium and auditorium. A wing off the back created new classroom space. In 1963 the school purchased farm land in Sunset Rock Rd and built a new modern school building. The property was then sold on Dec. 16, 1964 to George & Edith Colantino and converted the annex into apartments. The property was sold again in July 28, 1967 to Henry S. Gilbert and Milton Greenberg who then converted the house into apartments creating the Andover Arms of 11 units total. The brick veneer front façade was created at this time.

Maurice Jr. & Marjorie L. Needham purchased on June 28, 1974 and Maurice transferred his share to Marjorie in Dec. 1982. Marjorie then deeds 1/3 shares to Francis & Joyce Ritterhaus, Francis & Barbara Morey in July 16, 1985. The property is later converted to the Phillips Estate Condominiums and four more units are created at that time in 2002. Two house lots were also created off the front lawn and sold closing the original circular driveway.


Northern Essex Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Pictures from the Past by Marsha Miller, 1985 (AHS file)
Youth from Every Quarter by Frederick S. Allis, Jr., pp. 399-402 (AHS library)
Andover Townsman, July 27, 1894, Weddings - Snow-Forbes, house
Andover Townsman article
J. Batchelder survey form
Ancestry.com - Snow & Forbes family

David J.C. Hidden -
Georgianna Snow - Nov. 3, 1893 – b. 129 p. 433 – 2¾ acres land
Georgianna Snow Forbes estate, heir George H. - Aug. 23, 1907 – Probate #101,594
Charles H. Forbes, wife Ellen S. - Jan. 2, 1914
Charles H. Forbes estate, heir Ellen S. – March 1933 – Probate #175,777
Ellen S. Forbes estate – August 17, 1934 - Probate # 179,949 -to Phillips Academy by will (1934)
Trustees of Phillips Academy – 1934 by Probate
The Pike School, Inc. - Sept. 1, 1944 – b.667 p. 301 parcel 1 house lot
The Pike School, Inc. - Oct. 10, 1956 b. 843 p. 160 parcel 2 Gym lot (C.M. Howes)
George J. & Edith Colantino, - Dec. 16, 1963 – b. 999 p. 267
Edith Colantino estate, heir Geo. J. Colantino – Dec 16, 1964 probate
Henry S. Gilbert & Milton Greenberg - July 28, 1967 – b. 1187 p. 269 (converts house into apts.)
John R. & Rosalee M. Niceforo, - July 1, 1969 – b. 1134 p. 233
Maurice Jr. & Marjorie L. Needham, - June 28, 1974 - b. 1244 p.124
Marjorie L. Needham – Dec. 11, 1982 – b. 1628 b. 33
Francis & Joyce Ritterhaus, Frank & Barbara Morey, M. Needham – July 16, 1985 – b. 2006 p. 148
Joyce M. Ritterhaus – Feb. 10, 1986 – b. 2129 p. 154 - 1/3
Morey Realty 1 Trust, Barbara Morey Tr. – Jan. 9, 1997 – b. 4673 p. 160 1/3
Andover Arms Realty Trust
Phillips Estate Condominiums – Oct. 28, 2002 – b. 7207 p. 53 – 15 units

Inventory Data:

StreetPorter Rd
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameForbes House/Mansion
Present Usemulti-unit residential
Original Usesingle family residential
Construction Date1894 summer
SourceERDS, NERDL, style,
Architectural StyleGeorgian Revival
Foundationstone & granite/conctete
Wall/Trimclapboard, brick, shingle
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresGarage (razed 1964)
Major AlterationsRear addition classrooms, right addition gym & auditorium late 1950s as Pike School. Converted into apts. 1965, Brick facade added in 1960s. Condo conversion created four additional units for 11 to 15.
Acreage1.58 acres
SettingCorner of Hidden Rd. and Porter Rd. on 2.75 acres
Map and parcel57-11
Recorded bySean Craft/J. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Historical Society, Andover Preservation Commission
Date entered6/11/91, 12/20/91, 3/28/2020