58 Haverhill Street

Architectural Description: 

Greek Revival - cape style cottage

Historical Narrative: 

The house is listed in the Shawsheen Village National Register Historic District, surveyed in 1977 and created in 1979. It was designated a National Register Historic District in 1980 by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Shawsheen Village was named in October 1919 after the Native American name for the river Shawshin, which means Great Spring. Prior to Shawsheen Village this area was known as Frye Village.

John Robinson - Alexander E. Cohen House
58 Haverhill Street – Frye Village

The original two-acre parcel of land with house is part of the current property at 58 Haverhill Street in Shawsheen Village. The house, set back from the road, is sited at the corner of Haverhill Street and Fleming Avenue about 200’ east of the Boston and Maine Rail Road tracks. The small cottage sits high above the street and fronts on an access way connecting Fleming Ave. (formerly Hillside Ave.) to Haverhill Street. Cohen’s former lot included numbers 60 & 62 Haverhill St. and 15, 19 & 25 Fleming Ave. running north about 435 feet deep with the west boundary now the east side of Fleming Ave.

The land was owned by Arunah Bell and sold to John Robinson, a machinist, on April 22, 1850. for $200. Robinson hired Jacob Chickering, house-wright, to build the home in 1851. Chickering held the mortgage deed on the property. Chickering then assigned the mortgage to Isaac Wilson of North Andover in Aug. 1854. On an 1856 map of Andover, there are two houses marked near this location, the first structure is owned by William Lawson (4 Fleming Ave.) and just east of him is John Robinson. The 1850 town valuation lists John Robinson, 2 acres and house at $400. In 1860 a John Thomas is listed here with a property value of $520.

Robinson paid off the mortgage and then sold the home to John Thomas, wife Charlotte A. on Mar. 28, 1859. John died and his widow Charlotte then sold the property to Alexander E. Cohen of Lawrence, "Teacher of Languages" on September 12, 1861. Cohen paid $650. and assumed a $450 mortgage owed to Isaac Wilson by Thomas.

Alexander Ezekiel Cohen was a Polish Jew, born in Lipol, Poland on July 4, 1819 and was the son of David and Linda Cohen. After immigrating to America he met and married a woman named Ann who is said to have been of English decent. Alexander’s occupation was given as a laborer but his obituary suggests that he may have been a teacher and scholar at one point before coming to America. The deed of sale from Thomas states Cohen as "Teacher of Languages". The Cohen’s came to Andover about 1860 and first resided on Baker’s Lane in Abbott Village before purchasing the house in Frye Village. The 1870 Valuation lists A. E. Cohen’s house at $200, barn $100, 2 acres of land $150 and farm stock at a value of $90.

The couple had lived in Andover for twelve years before Ann Cohen died on July 10, 1872 at age 60. Anne was then interred in the West Parish Cemetery. The years that followed were not kind to Alexander. Deeply depressed by his loss, Alexander became a recluse and lost all interest in his personal well-being and the upkeep of his property. When his health deteriorated, he was moved to the nearby Almshouse for care. (7 Argyle St). He spent a few days under their care but always returned to his home.

An item in the Andover Advertiser pg. 4, November 18, 1881 - The house of Alexander E. Cohen in Frye Village, was broken into a few nights since and $25 dollars stolen there from. Mr. Cohen was in bed at the time. On an evening not long since, as he was entering his barn, two men put a coat over his head and demanded money, but did not get any. Mr. Cohen is an inoffensive man and the boys should be made to cease teasing him, as they have been accustomed to do.

An excerpt from Reminiscences of Frye Village of Alice Morrison Bell, from her estate and transposed by Mrs. Joseph P. Rand, December 15, 1950 – Vertical files at the AHS.
Cohen
"Living in a wee house beyond the Railroad tracks on Haverhill Street was a small Russian Jew, named Cohen. He was a well educated man. He lost his wife and at the same time all standards of personal cleanliness. He was lonely and because of his unkempt condition, no one could associate with him. He walked the street and all the children would run when they saw him coming near. If far enough away for protection, they would call names, which plagued him. He was fond of children and animals and flowers.
His cats and hens and dog used to share his house with him and his flowers liked the dirt and grew well for him.
Always in the spring, he had the loveliest lilacs and the children would muster up the courage to beg a few branches – but when he would appear at the door with the knife to cut blossoms, one could not see the children for dust.
He was so dirty that some of the town men took him to the old Slaughter house, there being no free baths with abundance of hot water and soap, and gave him a real Turkish Bath and a supply of clean clothes.
One day he took a good sized field stone from his land and marked on it his wife’s name, date of birth and death – put it on a wheelbarrow and started for the West Andover Cemetery – Just before he reached the Richardson school it rolled off into the gutter and there it stayed until the weather wore off the paint."

Alexander’s health continued to deteriorate and in the spring of 1888 he summoned for the proprietor of the Almshouse the he was dying. When the doctor reached Cohen’s house Alexander had passed away. The Andover Vital Records list; he was a laborer, born in Poland and died of Chronic Nephritis. (Acute or chronic inflammation of the kidney caused by infection, degenerative process, or vascular disease.) Alexander died at the age of 74 years and 11 months and was buried next to his wife Ann in West Parish Cemetery.

His story might have ended here but a Boston paper published an obituary about Cohen being a hermit who once was a teacher, scholar and had held a chair at the Andover Theological Seminary. It also stated that his wife was of noble birth and died in poverty. The Andover Advertiser denied such claims as pure fantasy and their articles on Mr. Cohen were less than kind.

John S. Gile, the public administrator of Lawrence, was appointed to settle the estate of Alexander Cohen. On June 1, 1888 Cohen’s house was leased to Joshua Bailey for three years. Mr. Bailey completely renovated the house and moved his family in on Saturday, June 17th. At the end of the lease the Cohen real estate was sold on November 17, 1891 at public auction. John Barrett of Andover purchased the two acres of land and house for $550. On the 1888 map lists J. Barrett as the owner of the property adjoining Cohen’s at #54. From the Cohen estate, Administrator John Gile must have provided for the headstone for Alexander but for his wife Ann, her grave remains unmarked.

John Barrett, a farmer, rented the former Cohen house until 1900.
Aug. 14, 1891 -Frye Village – Joshua Bailey has moved his family from the Cohen place to the house recently vacated by James Robinson.

The house was sold in 1900 to Mary A. Keleher, who later married George A. Black. The house was then sold to Alexander & Elizabeth Mura on March 7, 1901. Mura family are listed at 58 Haverhill Street in the 1900 Valuation, House $300, Barn $100, and 3 ½ acres of Wilson land at $250. Alexander Mura worked at the Washington Mills, Marland Mill and then Pacific Mills in Lawrence by 1908. The Mura family sold to Leonides Hamel in August 1908.

Hamel was a carpenter & box maker, his wife Delphine a housewife. Treffle Hamel is also listed in 1916. In 1926 the Hamels own the small variety store at #52 Haverhill Street and are living at #62 Haverhill Street, as is the Town Chief of Police Frank M. Smith and his wife May E. Smith. Albert, Germaine M. and Treffle Hamel are residing at #58 and a John J. & Edith Ready are also given at #58. Hamel acquired several more acres in the neighborhood and subdivided the Cohen lot. first to build a new house for his family at 60 Haverhill Street. The property remained with the Hamel family until purchased by Philip L. & Germaine Beaulieu on June 3, 1940.

The historic home was dismantled in March 2019 and moved to Lovejoy Road near the corner of Lowell St. to be reassembled. All permitted by Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Andover Preservation Commission in accordance with the Town bylaw through Special Dimensional Permit. When completed it will hold a preservation restriction on the deed.

Bibliography/References: 

Essex Country Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Maps, 1852, 1856, 1872, 1888, 1906, 1926
Andover Street Directories
Andover Townsman
Mills, Mergers and Mansions, by Edward Roddy 1982
See Map plan #704 - American Woolen Company - Sept. 1927
#877 - June 1932 - Textile Realty Company
#975 - Oct. 29, 1921 - Dufton to AWCo.
See Plan #4383 lot B – 1960

Owners;
Arunah Bell - 1850 - 2 acres land
John Robinson, wife Harriett April 22, 1850 - b. 432 leaf 221 - land 2 acres
Robinson to Jacob Chickering - Mar. 11, 1851 - b. 442 leaf 100 - $300 mtg.
John Thomas, wife Charlotte A. - Mar. 28, 1859 - b. 583 leaf 294 - $650.
John Thomas estate, heir - Charlotte A. Thomas - 1861
Alexander E. Cohen - Sept. 12, 1861 - b. 627 leaf 176 Salem deed
Alexander E. Cohen estate, John S. Gile Adm. - Sept. 12, 1891 - Probate
John Barrett - Nov. 17, 1891 - b. 116 p. 366
Mary A. Keleher - May 26, 1900 - b. 178 p. 5
Alexander & Elizabeth Mura - Mar. 1, 1901 - b. 190 p. 438
Leonides Hamel - Aug. 13, 1908 - b. 319 p. 189
Nellie W. Paine - July 11, 1912 - b. 319 p. 189 - deed transfer
Leonides & Delphina Hamel - July 11, 1912 - b. 319 p. 190
Philip L. & Germaine Beaulieu June 3, 1940 - b. 631 p. 453
Henry J. & Pauline E. Beauleiu Mar. 17, 1960 - b. 911 p. 490 subdivide lot
Aubrey L. & Fay J. Mitchell - Nov. 15, 1961 - b. 948 p. 214
Fay J. Mitchell - Dec. 18, 1985 estate of Aubrey
Katherine W. I. & Trevor E. Tasker - Apr. 27, 1999 - b. 5410 p. 284
Mathew R. & Pamela M. Preston - Sept. 27, 2002 - b. 7122 p. 90

Inventory Data:

StreetHaverhill St
PlaceShawsheen Village - Frye Village
Historic DistrictShawsheen Village NRH District
Historic NameRobinson - Cohen - Barrett House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1850 - 1851
SourceERDS, ENRDL, assessers' rec./style-njs
Architectural StyleGreek Revival
Foundationstone
Wall/Trimcement/aesbetos siding
Roofasphalt - gable
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresattached garage
Conditionexcellent
Settingresidential
Map and parcel18-13
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975 - 1977, 8/21/2015

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Map: