North Andover contains the original 1640s compact village, which became the North or First Parish after the parish split in 1708. North Andover and Andover were established as separate communities in 1855.
More About Welcome to North Andover
The town that is North Andover today contains the original 1640s compact village of seventeenth century Andover.
Established in 1642 by John Woodbridge and other English settlers from nearby Ipswich and Newbury, Andover was settled around Lake Cochichewick and originally called Cochichewick Plantation. The first Puritan church was established in 1645. The town of Andover was incorporated in 1646 and likely named after the English town of Andover, in the county of Hampshire, where some of the earliest settlers originated. In 1692, Andover consisted of present-day Andover, North Andover, and the part of Lawrence that is on the south side of the Merrimack River.
The first meeting house and burying ground were located in the North End, on the northeast side of town. By the early 1700s, families living to the south and west no longer wanted to travel the long distance to attend meeting, and so a South Parish Church and “burying-yard” were established in 1709-10, followed by a West Parish Church and burying ground in 1826. In 1855, the south and west parishes together assumed the name Andover, while the north parish became North Andover.
Today, North Andover is a more rural community than its neighbor Andover to the west. North Andover is home to numerous nature reservations and state forests, among them Osgood Hill Reservation, Weir Hill Reservation, Reas Pond Conservation Area, portions of Harold Parker State Forest, Boxford State Forest, and the Charles W. Ward Reservation.
In 2010, the population was just over 28,000 people.
Some of the notable people from North Andover include Simon Bradstreet, co-founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the last governor of the colony, his wife Anne Bradstreet, the first published writer in North America, and Samuel Osgood, who George Washington appointed the nation’s first Postmaster General under the U.S. Constitution.
In 1692, one of the three people executed for witchcraft in Andover lived in what would become North Andover in 1855. Mary Parker, widow of one of the “original proprietors of Andover,” Nathan Parker, was hanged for witchcraft on September 22. More than twenty other people from the North End of Andover were accused and jailed. More were related to Andover’s elderly minister, Reverend Francis Dane, including two of his daughters and five of his grandchildren, than any other family. Four members of the Barker family were accused. Their farm, started in 1642, is the oldest continually operated business in Massachusetts and one of the oldest in the country.
A view of Lake Cochichewick from Route 133.
The North Parish of Andover Unitarian Universalist Church is located down the hill from the site of the original meeting house. The building dates to 1836.
A memorial to Anne Bradstreet, first published writer in North America, stands in the First Burial Ground.
The origins of the Town Common go back to 1825. The Village Improvement Association, founded in 1885, was responsible for the slow-but-steady creation of this beautiful park, which was officially given to the Town of North Andover in 1959.
The Stevens-Coolidge Place on Andover Street has been a Trustees of Reservations property since 1962. Formerly called Ashdale Farm, it was owned for years by one of the founding families of Andover, The Stevens.
Barker's Farm is the oldest continually operated business in Massachusetts. They operate a farm stand on Osgood Street (Route 125).
A photo of North Andover's old center in 1867. From the archives of the North Andover Historical Society.