7 Oak Street

Architectural Description: 

LHD - Old Style late Greek Revival, Italianate entrance hood, side porch ornamentation.

A single family residence with 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. The main structure has 2 stories, while the ell is 1 story. There is an open side porch.

Historical Narrative: 

The Ballardvale Machine Shop Corp., John Marland, President, purchased much of the property in the center of Ballardvale in 1847. Some land was then sub-divided into house and store lots and the company began selling off parcels in 1848. John Marland and John Howe Jr. owned the large parcel along Centre St. (now Center St.) and auctioned off 35 lots on July 28. 1847. The auctioneers were Loring, Abbott and Porter of Boston.

Samuel Abbott of Boston and William Abbott of Andover followed suit with their property on Oak and Tewksbury Streets and began auctioning of lots on April 5, 1848. The greater portion of the village center was developed at this period of time.

William Finn purchased two lots along Oak Street. The first on July 28, 1862 for $50. and the second lot on May 2, 1863 paying $94.63 from William Abbot of Charlestown and Anna M. Butterfield & Lucinda Abbot heirs of Samuel Abbot. William Finn was born in Ireland in 1830, son of Patrick & Bridget Finn. William married on Jan. 15, 1855 to Margaret Banner, age 23, b. in Ireland, daughter of Roger & Margaret Banner. They had one daughter Margaret. Both William and his wife died young. Michael Gallagher was appointed guardian of their daughter Margaret, a minor, to settle the estate. A public auction was held on Nov. 5, 1868 and the properties were sold to Patrick C. Finn for $750.

Patrick C. Finn and wife Rose held the property four years then selling to William Fitzgerald on Apr. 24, 1872, the two lots with buildings. Fitzgerald then sold to James McAvoy that day for $550. The 1882 map of the village does not show the home at #7. The 1885 Birdseye map of Ballardvale also does not include this house. A barn seems to occupy the lot with the homes at 5 Oak and 11 Oak on either side. We do know that bay windows were in vogue in the mid 1870s and continued to be added to homes well into the 1900's, as built or during remodeling. The 1888 map of Ballardvale does include both homes at 5 & 7 Oak St. with the name J. McAvoy. The home was most likely built by James McAvoy between 1885 and 1888. Both homes occupied the some property until sub-divided in 1987.

The 1920 Andover Valuation schedule lists Mrs. Ellen McAvoy, Oak St. B.V. - two houses $800 & $1000, barn $150, 1 1/2 acres Oak St. $250. and 11 1/2 acres Oak St. $250.
James McAvoy died intestate on Dec. 20, 1933. His estate was probated through the courts with his widow Ellen McAvoy and daughters Mary E. Cleary and Julia Frances McAvoy as heirs.

From the Andover Street directories we find Julia Frances McAvoy b. 1894, occupied #5 Oak St. This house was rented by Leonard Fraser & Gertrude W. Colpitts in 1943. Leonard was a Maintenance man for the Tyer Rubber Co. Both he and Gertrude were born in 1908. When the property was sub-divided in August 1987 by James F. Cleary, the Colpitts family then purchased the home.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Historical Sketches of Andover, Sarah Loring Bailey 1880
Andover, A Century of Change, Eleanor Richardson 1995
Andover Advertiser, Andover Townsman
Andover Historical Society files
Marland & Howe map Ballardvale Center - house and store lots July 1847
Ballardvale Machine Shop Corporation May 1848 - Franklin Darracott Engineer
Samuel Abbott & William Abbott house lots amp 1848
Andover maps; 1852, 1856, 1872, 1884, 1888, 1906
Andover Valuation Schedules, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920
Andover Assessor's Office, Andover MA
Andover street directories
Map plan #10860 - Aug. 7, 1987 - Sub-divide James F. Cleary - lot 1 - 37,370 sq. ft.

William Abbot and Samuel Abbot - April 5, 1848 land lots on Oak St
William Abbot, Anna M. Butterfield, Lucinda Abbot - 1863
William Finn - July 28, 1862 - b. 640 leaf 234
William Finn - May 2, 1863 - b. 651 leaf 38
William Finn estate, widow Margaret Finn heir - July 28, 1862 - b. 640 leaf 234
Margaret Finn estate, Michael F. Gallagher, guardian Margaret Finn
Patrick C. Finn - Nov. 14, 1868 - b. 761 leaf 266 - $750 at auction two lots
William Fitzgerald - Apr. 25, 1872 - b. 14 p. 152 - two lots with blds.
James McAvoy - Sept. 24, 1872 - b. 17 p. 340 - $550 lot 1
James McAvoy estate, d. Dec. 20, 1933 - intestate
McAvoy heirs, Wid. Ellen McAvoy, Mary E. Cleary & J. Frances McAvoy
Mary E. Cleary & J. Frances McAvoy
Julia Frances McAvoy - Mar. 30, 1934 - b. 577 p. 182 - $1500.
Julia Frances McAvoy estate, James F. Cleary - Probate #356845
Leonard F. & Gertrude W. Colpitts - Sept. 16, 1987 - b. 2590 p. 267
Michael & Mary Kate Bronder - Nov. 30, 2004 - b. 9217 p. 59

Inventory Data:

StreetOak St
Historic DistrictBallardvale Local Historic District
Historic NameJames McAvoy house
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1885 - 1888
SourceAndover Assessor's Office
Architectural StyleOther
Roofasphalt - gable
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresgarage
Conditionaverage (1996) good
Acreage0.858 acre; 37,370 sq. ft. lot 1
Map and parcel138-39
MHC NumberANV.417
Recorded byRuth A. Sharpe (Andover Historical District)
OrganizationAndover Historical Society
Date entered25 Aug 1996