64 Central Street - William Abbott – Sweeney House

Architectural Description: 

Style: Second Empire

Other features: Basement headroom 7ft.; Mansard roof

Historical Narrative: 

The house was built in the Second Empire style constructed by William Abbot about 1880. The “French Roof” or Mansard design feature became popular in Andover in the 1870s and continued on into the late 1890’s. Several homes in town had their roofs converted to this style from the more traditional gable and hip roof styles. William Abbot purchased the lot of land for $1000 from John Abbot. A deed provision included that he must build and maintain a suitable fence or wall between his newly acquired lot and the land of John Abbott.

William Abbot was born Dec. 16, 1809 in Andover, son of John Lovejoy & Phebe E.(Abbot) Abbot. William lived in Charlestown, MA with his brother Samuel and was a grocer, also dealt in flour and meal. William married about 1836 to Amelia Hull, dau. of Amos Hull. Amelia died and William remarried on Dec. 24, 1845 in Charlestown to Susan E. Hunt b. Nov. 6, 1816 in Charlestown, dau. of Enoch & Esther (Kittell) Hunt. In 1870 William is listed as a Real estate broker. When he retired they moved to Andover and built the home. William's wife Susan died on June 17, 1902 and William two months later on Aug. 28. They had no children: They are interred in South Parish Cemetery.

The property was sold to Frank R. Shipman, minister of South Church 1893-1913 on Nov. 6, 1902 by Susan Randall, his niece and executrix. Rev. Shipman sold to Hattie C. Foss of Boston in 1920 who then held the property for five years.

In 1925 the house was sold to Arthur and Mildred L. Sweeney of Lawrence. Mr. Sweeney was a lawyer and co-owned the firm Sweeney & Sargent in Lawrence. Arthur was also Chairman of the board of Bay State Merchants National Bank in 1945. The Sweeney’s had three children, sons Arthur Jr. and John P. and daughter Joan b. 1926. Arthur Jr. was in the U.S. Navy and John in the U.S.A.A.C. during WWII. John later entered Harvard College. Joan attended Bennett Jr. College and Peirce Secretarial School in Boston. She became a medical secretary and lab technician. The Sweeney family occupied the home for 53 years. Arthur died in September 1978 a few months after they sold their home to Grover and Marcia Nix. Mildred Sweeney died in May 1980. Both are interred at Spring Grove Cemetery.

Mr. & Mrs. Nix placed the home in the Oxshott Realty Trust. Grover b. 1943 was also an attorney and wife Marcia b. 1944 is listed as a housewife in 1984. The property transferred to the Andover Bank in 1991 and was purchased by Robert G. Millar III and wife Mary Ann Lucyk Millar in 1992. Robert was a Fund Raiser in 1996 and Mary Ann a Physician.

Central Street was the main street before Essex Turnpike built (present Main Street). Later, 19th century development of Central Street was response to growing industry in Andover. It was the major route to the Ballardvale Mills. Commercial businessmen built their mansions, residences like #65, which displayed wealth and success.

William Abbot, resident 1901

"I Take a Walk with My Memory" - By F. Tyler Carlton, May 1961 (excerpt from his childhood)

F. Tyler Carlton – 1904-1968 - b. 1904 d. August 14, 1968 age 64. F. Tyler Carlton, grew up at 67 Central Street, was a native of Andover, married Alice Loomer and had one daughter Mary Barbara, wife of Carl W. Tapp, of Portsmouth, NH. Graduate of Northeastern Engineering School, Boston, and was an engineer until his retirement. He was a member South Church, past president of the Andover Historical Society, a member of the Scouters Organization of Lawrence and the Engineers Club of Boston.

Number 64, now Arthur Sweeney's, was to me the Shipmans and Tom, being my playmate, it was as familiar as my own home. Reverend Frank Shipman came to Andover in the 1890's as minister to the South Church. He married May Ripley and they had two children - Mary (now Mrs. Mian), and Thomas L. The house boasted a cement crescent walk and a tangent to the side door - one of the first in town. Cement was new then, first used as barn door apron and carriage-wash-room "floors. Also as drip pads under the new horseless carriages to protect the wooden flooring from oil. Consequently you will find many of the maker's trademark nameplates with a horse's head on them. A slightly pink tinge made it distinctive. No driveway at No. 64 in my day, but a wide gate gave access to the southwest lawn.

About midway of the house on the north side, a projection of the hedge next to Abbot's field shut off the back yard. Behind this screen was a hen coop, which at various times had. Wyandottes, bantams, and even rabbits. At the very back corner was an old hen house which we youngsters cleared out and used as a clubhouse. We had a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and usually one member. This worked fine until the member got sore and quit to form his own club with himself as president.

Directly behind the house was the garden, tended as was the lawn and shrubs by Andy Murphy. The other back corner was lawn-garden and lawn divided off by walks. At the front edge of the lawn a rope swing and trapeze, and forward of the walk a sandbox. Nearer the house was the summerhouse from the roof of which ran the well-waxed slide or “shoot-the-shoots.” Access to the roof was by means of a ladder, or by the corner post, or by the adjacent apple tree.

The rear entrance was from a small porch - up possibly four steps on the front and six at the back - just big enough to allow the screen door to swing. The porch, a little wider than the steps, made an eighteen-inch fenced alcove opposite the door. Summer mornings would find four to eight field mice laid out in graduated sequence, heads out, tails toward the door; the Persian cat on the railing waiting to be recognized. After which, one by one the mice disappeared.

The side door gave access to the back stairs. On the right was the kitchen, on the left two doors into the dining-room and living room respectively. The latter I remember chiefly as the place where we met after breakfast for Bible reading and morning prayers.

The chimney was on the inside between the living room and parlor, with a closet next to the outside wall in the living room. There was a Franklin stove in the parlor which was in the front corner of the house and overlooked the porch that went from the south side across the front, then back on the northeast side as far as a window in the dining room which balanced the living room. A butler's pantry balanced the back hall and led to the kitchen. Back of the kitchen was the cook's pantry on the north, the shed and back door to the south.

Using this base plan, let us approach by the seven or eight steps from the crescent walk to the front door off the porch. The hall goes straight through to the dining room with a door on the right into the parlor; stairs on the left, up two steps to a landing, over which was a fixed window, the clear center pane surrounded by smaller colored panes. There was another landing three steps below the second floor.

The upstairs hall was over the lower hall and one end of the dining room. The front of the upper hall space formed a small dressing room for Mrs. Shipman; the master bedroom was over the parlor; Mary's bedroom over the living room. Mr. Shipman had a dressing room over the north corner of the dining room beyond the head of the stairs. At the rear was a back stairway with a bath at the left, over the pantry. Then one went around the stairwell to the right and on still further to reach the nursery over the kitchen. Even beyond that there was a glassed-in sleeping porch. This gave Tom a big linoleum-floored playroom and he needed it, for he had many toys and the nursemaid had a hard time picking up after him. The third floor under the mansard roof was given over to bed chambers, one each for nursemaid and cook, the rest for storage.

Among Tom's Christmas toys each year was a new pair of roller skates. These were usually found the next spring rusty and uninteresting to Tom- somewhere out in the yard where he tossed them in the snow after skating on the cement sidewalk. They would end up in the Carlton boys' workshop and appear as "skatemobiles." One skate was taken apart, oiled up, and nailed to the ends of a three foot 2x3 (usually two boards nailed together), then a soap box at the front end with a broom handle across it, a lard can one-candle-power headlight - and we had the equivalent of a modern scooter. We had more fun making and playing with these up and down the tar sidewalk than Tom had with his store-new toys.


Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Townsman

1880 tax list, Centre district, William Abbot 2nd, house and land $13,700
1884 map, William Abbot (John H. Abbot next door at #56 Central Street)
1885 directory, William H. Abbot, rubber worker

John Abbot - land
William Abbott - Sept. 11, 1870b. 6 p. 501 land - $1000
William Abbott estate, Susan C. Randall Extrix. - Sept. 22, 1902 - probate
Frank R. Shipman - Nov. 6, 1902 - b. 200 p. 486 - $5050
Hattie C. Foss - Aug. 10, 1920 - b. 431 p. 162
Arthur & Mildred Sweeney - Apr. 18, 1925 - b. 511 p. 169
Mildred L. Sweeney
Marcia Ann Nix - June 27, 1978 - b. 1345 p. 426
Oxshott Realty Trust – Grover H. Nix III trustee - Oct. 9, 1985 - b. 2058 p. 231
Oxshott Realty Trust - b. 2058 p. 255
Oxshott Realty Trust - Samuel J. Concemi trustee - Oct. 10, 1985 - b. 2656 p. 195 mtg.
Andover Bank - Dec. 18, 1991 - b. 3379 p. 60
Robert G. & Mary Ann Millar - May 7, 1992 - b. 3494 p. 63
Mary Ann Millar - Mar. 31, 2010 - b. 11990 p. 23-25

Directory of Andover, 1901
Andover Townsman, 9 Sept. 1976

Inventory Data:

StreetCentral St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictCentral Street NRH District
Historic NameWilliam Abbott – Sweeney House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1880
SourceAndover Bldg. Survey
Architectural StyleSecond Empire
Architect/BuilderWillian Abbott
Foundationstone & granite
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresmodern garage and small garden shed
Acreageless than one acre; Lot size: 39,020 sq. ft.; Approx. frontage: 115'
Map and parcel74-2
MHC NumberANV.116
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-1977; updated 12/2013