Welcome to Andover, New Hampshire
Andover is a beautiful town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States, population 2,371. Andover includes the villages of Cilleyville, Potter Place, and East Andover, in addition to the town center. The town is home to Ragged Mountain State Forest and Proctor Academy, a private coeducational preparatory school.
Settled in 1761, the town was originally named “Emerisstown”. In 1746 it was granted to Edward Brown and others as “New Breton” or “New Britton”, having been granted primarily to soldiers who had taken part in the 1745 capture of Cape Breton during hostilities with the French in Canada. Among those soldiers was their regimental surgeon, Dr. Anthony Emery, a friend of Samuel Phillips, Jr., who in 1778 founded the Phillips Andover Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. “New Breton” would be incorporated as “Andover” in 1779, the year Phillips Andover was completed.
In 1822, an academy was established in Andover, although it would close in 1828. Another school was founded in 1848 that would become Proctor Academy, the prestigious institution around which the town’s economy is based. Andover is noted for its antique shops, Greek Revival architecture, and two covered bridges.
Potter Place Railroad Station, built in 1874 by the Northern Railroad, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and today serves as a museum for the Andover Historical Society.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 41.4 square miles (107.3 km2), of which 40.5 sq mi (105.0 km2) is land and 0.89 sq mi (2.3 km2) is water, comprising 2.14% of the town. Andover is drained by the Blackwater River. Bradley Lake is in the south. Ragged Mountain, elevation 2,286 feet (697 m) above sea level, is on the northern boundary. The northern slopes of Mount Kearsarge occupy the southernmost part of town and contain the town’s highest point, 2,460 ft (750 m) above sea level. Andover lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.
Andover includes the villages of East Andover, West Andover, Cilleyville, and Potter Place, named for Richard Potter, an African-American illusionist who lived there in the early 19th century.
The Andover Historical Society
The Andover Historical Society, of Andover, New Hampshire, was established to preserve the history of Andover through the acquisition and conservation of property, artifacts and stories, and to foster an awareness and appreciation for that history within the community.
The Society’s facilities are located in the village of Potter Place in the town of Andover, N.H.. This village is named for, and contains the homestead and grave site of Richard Potter (1783-1835), the well-known black magician/ventriloquist of the early 19th century who traveled and performed successfully throughout America.
The Potter Place railroad station, built in 1874, houses a significant portion of the Society’s historical collection. This station is an extremely well-preserved example of Victorian station design and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located on the Northern Railroad (later the Boston & Maine Railroad) line that ran from Boston to White River Junction in Vermont, and on to Montreal. This station preserves intact the station master’s office, and recreates the feeling of a busy railroad depot of the early to mid 20th century.
The homestead site and grave of Richard Potter and his wife are located immediately across the tracks from the station.
A well-preserved caboose, the Central Vermont CV-4030, built in the early 1900s, is located beside the station and is open for visitors.
Adjacent to the station is the Potter Place freight house and a Boston & Maine railroad box car. The freight house, built in the early 1900’s retains almost all of its original features and appearance. It was served by a still-existing spur from the main-line railroad.
Across the main street from the station is located the J. C. Emons Store and Potter Place Post Office, dating from 1912. The store continued to serve the village until 1958. The post office functioned until 1988. The Society has restored it as an exhibit of a typical turn-of-the-century village store. The original tin ceiling has been rebuilt, and display cabinets and other store fixtures have been put in place. The Post Office area contains the original mail boxes and sorting table.
The Society also owns an extremely well-preserved example of a rural one-room school, the Tucker Mountain Schoolhouse. This schoolhouse was built in1837 to serve a small upland farming community. It is the only schoolhouse still remaining in original condition of the 13 that existed in Andover in the 1860s. It served as a schoolhouse until 1894, but by then the declining student population in its community resulted in its closure. This little red schoolhouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
An annual Andover Old Time Fair, organized by the Society, is held on the Society’s grounds in Potter Place the first Sunday of August. This is a town-wide “Old Home Day” event, with activities and fun for all ages. Included are a country auction, an extensive flea market, a craft market, farmers’ market, railroad handcar rides, children’s games, antique vehicle exhibits, musical entertainment, and much more.
The Society’s museum buildings are open to visitors during the summer on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Hours are:
|Saturday||10:00 to 3:00|
|Sunday||1:00 to 3:00|
Memberships and contributions are gratefully received. The Andover Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For further information, please contact:
Andover Historical Society
PO Box 167
Andover, NH 03216
Andover Historical Society//
Northern Rail Trail of NH – http://www.northernrailtrailofnh.org/
Friends of the Northern Rail Trail – http://www.fnrt.org
Town Website of Andover, NH – http://www.andover.nh.us
The Troy Cheshire R.R. Depot – http://www.troyrailroadtrainstation.org
Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society – http://www.trainweb.org/bmrrhs/