6-12 Maple Avenue

Architectural Description: 

Mansard roof; no heating

Historical Narrative: 

6 – 12 Maple Ave. Wilbur Block
Themes: Architectural, community development.

Maple Avenue was laid through his land by John Flint about 1874
[Goldsmith, Bessie. Townswoman's Andover, 1964]

This large apartment block was called "Wilbur's Ark" - originally described as an 8 tenement block. In 1879 - early 1880's there was a private school held here run by Miss Bronson. The Rev. Mr. Wilbur permitted missionaries to live here rent free. Rev. Worcester Willey, a missionary to the Indians, was so fortunate. Another was Rev. Frohalk. It has served as income apartment s for 129 years before conversion into condominiums in 2007.

Rev. Henry Wilbur was called to serve as minister to the Baptist Church in April 1872. He filled that position four years, retiring in October 1876. Henry Ripley Wilbur was born in Boston on April 5, 1825, son of Asa & Caroline Ann (Ripley) Wilbur Jr. His father was partners in the firm Wilbur & Story. Henry was educated at Phillips Andover Academy, Hampton Academy, Colby University and Newton Theological Seminary. He served as minister in Pretoria and Galena, Ill. as well as Andover. Henry also served on the Andover School Board and was chairman for several years. Henry married Susan Eliza Knowlton in 1852 and they had four children: Susan Maria b. 1853, Ellen "Nellie" b. Aug. 17, 1853, Henry Knowlton b. 1862 and Arthur Sidney b. 1866.
His wife Susan died in 1867. Henry re-married on Mar. 8, 1870 in Brookline, MA to Rebecca M. Merrill b. Feb. 15, 1834 in Methuen, MA daughter of Fidelia Merrill. Rebecca was a graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover in 1855. Henry & Rebecca would have one daughter Caroline C. Wilbur b. Sept. 1872 in Andover.

Rev. Henry Wilbur, called "the little minister", first owned 40 High Street. In 1870's he received a family bequest which he used to buy real estate. He would own six other houses on High Street, including #38 (Merrill House), #36 (Abbott House), #30, #32, #34 and #42 (called New House - 1900 records). Also owned six houses on Maple Ave. and Wilbur Court.
Henry purchased the Sylvester Merrill house at #36 High St. on Oct. 19, 1877. This property was larger and it is now believed that Henry built the home on the rear of the property now #38 High St. This house then became the Wilbur residence.
Henry sold the home at #40 High St. on April 20, 1885 then re-purchased property
on July 6, 1889. This Wilbur house would remain in family hands until the death his daughter Caroline Wilbur in 1956.

Rev. Henry R. Wilbur died on May 29, 1898; AT June 3, 1898 - Obituary; Sudden Death of Rev. H. R. Wilbur - Rev. Henry R. Wilbur of High Street dropped dead of heart disease at seven o'clock Sunday night, while in attendance at the Christian Endeavor society meeting at the Baptist Church, of which he was one of the most prominent and influential members. The end came apparently with out a struggle in the church which he had labored many years. He was surrounded by friends, and many willing hands laid him gently on a pew-cushion after he had fallen from his seat and did all that could be done to restore him. A messenger was sent for Dr. Leitch, who had been attending Mr. Wilbur of late, but he could not be found, and Dr. Abbott promptly responded to the call.
When the physician arrived he saw at once that life was extinct and ordered undertaker Messer to be notified to remove the remains to Mr. Wilbur's late home on High Street.
The service was interrupted by the sad event and many children and members of the church stood in tears by the silent form until the body was carried gently from the church.
More than one person made a note that it was sweet to think that the good man passed away in the church for the support of which he had done so much. .....
Mr. Wilbur's death is a keen blow to the members of the Baptist church for he had been its guiding spirit for twenty-five years, four years as pastor and for nineteen years its clerk. He had constantly contributed generous sums to the financial support of the church, and gave freely to the poor of the town, and to Christian benevolence. (Rev. Henry Wilbur was later interred at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA)

Henry's wife Rebecca inherited the estate along with her step-children and daughter Caroline. Rebecca and family sold the “Wilbur Block” to Mary Walworth on Oct. 5, 1898. She owned one month then sold to John Carden of Lawrence on Nov. 14, 1898. Carden then sold to business partners John Campion and Henry W. Barnard on Jan. 2, 1899. After Campion’s death, his daughter Gertrude M. sold his half to partner Barnard on Feb. 12, 1934. Henry W. Barnard died Nov. 10, 1938 and his holdings went to his estate.
Marion B. Cole sold the block to Clifford E. & Ruth S. Marshall on Sept. 3, 1952.

Some Tenants:
1926 James & Constance Turnbull #6 [James was a chauffeur]
John & Helen Anderson #8 (John was a mill operator)
Essie & Lester Hutchins #12 (Lester was a rubber worker)
Eliz. & Hugh Thompson #12 (Hugh was a rubber worker)


Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Townsman 1898
Wilbur, Caroline - daughter of builder
Goldsmith, Bessie. Townswoman's Andover, 1964
Andover Historical Society files

John H. Flint, wife Frances A. - land on Maple Ave
Rebecca Merrill Wilbur & Henry Ripley Wilbur - June 27, 1878 - b. 52 p. 46
Susan Maria Wilbur - July 13, 1878 - b. 52 p. 47
Henry R. Wilbur - July 15, 1878 - b. 52 p. 49
Henry R. Wilbur estate, heirs: wife Rebecca and children
Mary Walworth - Oct. 5, 1898 - b. 164 p. 269
John Carden - Nov. 14, 1898 - b. 166 p. 280
John Campion & Henry W. Barnard - Jan. 2, 1899 - b. 166 p. 223
John Campion & Henry W. Barnard - Jan. 29, 1904 - b. 209 p. 81
John Campion estate, to Henry W. Barnard - Feb. 12, 1934 - b. 576 p. 56
Henry W. Barnard estate, heirs Marion B. Cole
Clifford E. & Ruth S. Marshall - Sept. 3, 1952 - b. 766 p. 461
William F. & Georgina Lane - Feb. 3, 1959 - b. 888 p. 152
Georgina Lane, to Thomas J. Raferty Trustee - Feb. 15, 1991 -
New Bank of New England, F.D.I.C. - Aug. 16, 1993 - b. 3807 p. 39
Hills-Mor Construction Co., Inc. - Feb. 25, 1994 - b. 3993 p. 68
Westcott Realty Trust, Eugene A Cormier, Tr. - June 7, 1994 - b. 4059 p. 208
J & G Realty Trust, George E. Hayes, Trustee - Mar. 23, 2007 - b. 10680 p. 98
Martin H. Hayward - Nov. 1, 2007 - b. 10960 p. 139 Condo Unit 1
William A. & Irene T Bates - Jan. 29, 2018 - b. 15376 p. 35

Inventory Data:

StreetMaple Av
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictAndover Historic Building Survey
Historic NameWilbur, Rev. Henry House; "Wilbur's Ark"
Present Usetenement; 8 condo apartments
Original Useapartments
Construction Date1878
SourceERDS, NERDL, style,
Architectural StyleSecond Empire
Wall/Trimclapboards/wood shingles/vinyl covered
Major Alterationsreplacement windows, vinyl siding, condo conversion
Acreageless than one acre, 20628 sq. ft
Map and parcel38-141
MHC NumberANV.366
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, June 18, 2019