Elm Square

Architectural Description: 

Small one room structure built in a Federal style with hip roof.

Historical Narrative: 

Elm Square Hay Scales building and Barber Shop
Built circa 1828 - 1830

This small one room building in the center of Elm Square was the Andover South Parish Hay Scales. The weigh station was used by farmers and businessmen to weigh loads of hay, straw, wood, coal or produce before delivery to customers. The wooden platform to the right of the building was the actual scale that the wagon would roll up on to. The weights and balance were inside the shop. Prices were fixed according to the tonnage delivered to the customers. A deed of adjoining land of the former Common referenced the Hay Scales in May 1830.

The first platform scale used to weigh cargo was patented by Thaddeus Fairbanks in 1831. He was a resident of St. Johnsbury, VT and received his patent on June 30, 1831. The invention ultimately replaced the time consuming balance scale. After the end of the Civil War the scales were moved to the rear of the Town House. The building in the square was also used as a barber shop of E. A. Edwards. It was razed and burned in 1867.

The lot of land at the corner of Main Street and Post Office Ave. where Simone’s building is today 2 Main Street was purchased in 1818 and Flint built a merchants store on the site. John Flint junior a cabinet maker in 1818 purchased this lot of land containing about 7 square rods from Thomas C. Foster on November 13, 1818. The lot Foster sold to Flint came with a deed restriction. He could build and improve the property “except the land north to the old county road as common and never shall be occupied with any buildings or fences nor anything else that shall injure the looks of said common.” This lot was located near Foster’s dwelling. Captain Thomas C. Foster, nephew and adopted son of William Foster, became owner of the former Ames Tavern, renamed “Foster’s Tavern” until 1825 when sold to Aaron Davis Mayo who changed the name to “Mayo’s Tavern” and then the Elm House in 1860.

The deeds to the Elm House property also mention the deed restriction of the common area in front of the Tavern - Hotel. When Merrill Pettingill, a blacksmith and Stephen Hoyt purchased Mayo's Tavern on May 1, 1830 the deed also includes one undivided 1/3 of the Hay Scales, near the Elm tree and currently occupied as a Barber Shop.
The ownership was then transferred to Johnathan Ward who purchased the Inn on Oct. 20, 1832. When William Foster purchased the property in 1835 the Hay Scales were excluded from the sale.

John Flint sold to Benjamin H. Punchard on Nov. 1, 1828. Punchard paid $2000 for the property which included “the buildings since erected by me”, Mr. Punchard begins a dry good business in partnership with his brother-in-law John Derby from 1829 – 1834.
On April 19, 1834 Punchard sells the building for $2000 to John Derby & Henry L. Stone who formed a partnership of Derby & Stone. The deed now includes an additional exception, “the land which the Hay Scales & Buildings attached, now stands”.

The 1850 Andover Valuation Schedule lists John Flint & others - Hay Scales & Barber shop - $300

July 5, 1867 Andover Advertiser (AA) – A portion of the remains of a building were removed from under the elm tree in the Square a short distance and burned. Estimated damages $000.01

September 27, 1867 AA – The old hay scales have at last been removed, and the grounds in the locality leveled, so that Elm Square now presents quite an improved appearance. If the “big tree” were trimmed, and an iron fence placed around it, a still greater improvement would be made.

Andover also had a hay scales located in the North Parish, now North Andover’s old center. Built in 1833 as a joint venture by its proprietors, it was also used as a cobblers shop by William S. Roundy. The building, nearly identical to the one in Elm Square, survives to this day next to the town green.

Dec. 2, 1854 AA – New Hay Scales - our citizens generally in the south and east part of town, will be glad to learn that a new pair of Fairbank’s Scales are now being put in on the south side of Deacon Albert Abbott’s Store. A pair of good scales have long been needed in this part of town and we doubt that all the farmers in the vicinity will try to remunerate the individuals who have thus assisted in giving the public a convenience so long needed in this neighborhood. [At South Main Street beyond the Academy]

Additional Elm Square items;
April 14, 1871 AA – One of the main limbs of the venerable old elm tree, standing in the public square, was cut off Saturday……..

July 28, 1871 AA – An attempt was recently made to blow up or blow down the chimney standing on the burnt district in this village. A quantity of powder was placed in the oven and touched off, but neither that nor the late earthquake disturbs the equilibrium of the substantial structure.

June 7, 1872 AA – Another limb of the big tree in Elm Square was blown down on Wednesday.

August 14, 1874 AA – There is a very general feeling that the big elm tree in Elm Square, should be cut down; it is badly decayed, and every severe wind has broken off limbs until it has lost its beauty, and furnishes but a meager shade. There is danger in having it longer continue standing, and the sooner it is removed the better.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem MA
Andover Advertiser

Land & Common
John Flint Jr. - Nov. 13, 1818 - b. 219 leaf 78 - Salem Deeds - 2 Main St.
Benjamin H. Punchard - Nov. 1, 1828 - b. 250 leaf 71- Salem Deeds - 2 Main St.
Mitchell Pettingill & Stephen Hoyt - May 15, 1830 - b. 258 leaf 29 - Tavern & 1/3 Hay Scales (now occupied by barbershop)
John Derby & Henry L. Stone - April 19, 1834 - b. 273 leaf 298 - Salem Deeds - 2 Main St.
Jonathan W. Ward - Oct. 20, 1832 - b. 267 leaf 122 - Tavern & 1/3 Hay Scales
William Foster family Dec. 5, 1835 - b. 285 p. 136 - mtg. deed excludes Hay Scales property

Inventory Data:

StreetElm Sq
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameHay Scales & Barber Building
Present UseElm Sq. intersection
Original UseHay Scales & Barber shop
Construction Date1828-1830
Architectural StyleFederal
Roofwood cedar shingle / hip
Demolition Details1867
Map and parcel39-27
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Historical Society - Andover Preservation Commission
Date enteredMarch 23, 2014