96 Central Street

Architectural Description: 

Formerly 96 Central now 2 Abbott Bridge Rd. See Abbott Bridge Rd. for complete history.

3 fireplaces; original 20" floorboards SW parlor
Southwest parlor has 20" wide floor boards which are original. Fireplace has been rebuilt. There are wooden pegs on the walls, and a tulip-latch doorway. Present owner renovated in 1965.

Historical Narrative: 

See 2 Abbott Bridge Rd

Ballard Foster House
1987 - nominated to NRHP under a thematic nomination of First Period houses, Andover; accepted to NRHP; building marker 1993

Owner 1975-77: Foster, William & Margaret (since 10-29-62)
Original owner: William Ballard
Used as a boy's school 1796-1815 - Master Foster's School for Boys
Themes: agricultural, architectural, community development, education

This house is made up of three parts, of different periods and ownership. William Ballard owned house on this site in 1635, although oldest part of present structure dates from ca. 1660. First period architecture - 2 rooms and loft, chimney on outside/west side; later 4 small rooms - 2 upstairs, 2 downstairs added north end.

In 1696, William Foster purchased westerly end of south part of house form William & Eleanor Phelps Chandler - house then on Reservation Rd. 1750, moved across Shawsheen on causeway (No. bridge then) and attached to William Ballard House here. Thus, original house enlarged 1750. Two large rooms and loft brought from old Foster home (latter Shattuck Farm) - chimney enlarged.

For 22 years, William Foster Jr. kept school for boys not wishing Phillips Academy's classical course or to qualify boys to enter P.A. 25 boys lived here. In 1800, north end added to house for more dormitory and classroom space; 6 rooms and loft plus 2 small rooms on west (one is present kitchen) and 4 large square rooms.

LATER: 1) Homer Foster's farmhouse. 2) then owned by Francis Foster, assessor's rec. 1951. 3) William Phillips Foster and John Franklin Foster, owners. Students' names have been scratched on some of the windows. House has chimney 14 feet square. William Foster was secretary of Friendly Fire Society, 1829, and his initialed, personalized fire bucket is still to be seen.


Abbot, Charlotte H; "A Ballard Estate" #76:81, Feb. 11, 1898
Bailey, Sarah Loring; Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880, p. 101-102, 542
Goldsmith, Bessie; Historic Houses of Andover, 1946
Andover Historical Society files
Foster, Irene F.; "The Foster Homestead" - speech to Women's Union of West Parish Church, Oct. 1963
Carpenter, C.C.; Scrapbooks, 1887-1915 (p. 114) from Andover Townsman, Aug. 31, 1906
Fuess, Claude; An Old New England School - History of Phillips Academy, p. 117

Inventory Data:

StreetCentral St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictIndividual National Register Listing
Historic NameFoster Homestead
Present Use2-family residence (1975-77)
Original Usefarmhouse/residence
Construction Date1660
SourceAssessor's records/B. Goldsmith
Architectural StyleFirst Period
Outbuildings / Secondary Structures2 good barns; one is large, shingled - cupola & weathervane
Major AlterationsEnlarged 1750 - 1800 Central chimney renovated 1965 address changed to 2 Abbot Bridge Road in 1999 when the property was subdivided to allow two additional house lots on Central Street
Move DetailsSouthern part moved 1750
Acreageless than one acre; approx. frontage 315'; lot size 5 acres (1975-77)
Map and parcel75-17
Recorded byStack/Mofford
OrganizationAndover Historical Commission
Date entered1975-77