Andover Park Bandstand
Built - 1913
The first permanent settlers in the Andover, Massachusetts area, in 1641, was John Woodbridge and a group of settlers from Newbury and Ipswich. Shortly after their arrival they purchased a piece of land from the local Pennacook tribal Chief Cutshamache for the price of "six pounds of currency and a coat." Later in May of 1646 the settlement was incorporated as a town and was named Andover likely picked in honor of the town of Andover in England which was the original home of those early settlers. Andover split from the area now known as North Andover due to the location since the church was closer to their area and they all wished to be closer together in case of Indian uprisings although the Indians in the area were quite peaceful until the outbreak of King Phillip's War in 1675 when the Indian Chief, King Phillip, organized a revolt against white settlers throughout most of New England.
The bandstand in Andover Park, built in 1913, really has no formal name but is just referred to as the "Park Bandstand."
Andover Park itself was originally created in 1899 from two farmland parcels called Richardson Field with trees being planted in 1904 and a stone bridge built across the brook in the center of the park in 1906. The brook was diverted to an underground culvert in 1968 due to reoccuring flooding problems which would turn the bandstand into an island. The bridge was kept however although it now crosses nothing.
The bandstand structure follows no set architectural style and is made of wood and stone with a shingle roof. The base is composed of false fieldstone over a concrete frame with the uppers all being wood. Originally the stonework continued up from the base to a railing but was later, in 1983, cut down and replaced by an iron railing most likely to improve the view and acoustics of performers on stage. The wooden stairs were replaced due to wear and tear over the years and replaced with new ones. The bandstand is in the center of the park and is the showcase of the park with its wooden sections painted white although darker colors were used in the past.
The bandstand was built by the town of Andover under the supervision of the town's Park Commission for the benefit of the townspeople and other visitors to the park to enjoy concerts and as a venue for other community events. The expense for the building of the bandstand was roughly $1,000 with a special commemoration upon the completion of the structure on the 4th of July in 1913 with the Andover Brass Band performing along with a number of speakers.
The Andover Brass Band and the Andover High School Band have been the chief users of the bandstand with many others performing on its stage including the local elementary and junior high schools along with The Clan MacPhearson Scottish Marching Band and many others. Sometimes performers set up at the base of the bandstand in order to be more visible to the audience.
The bandstand is the center of the annual 4th of July events, Andover Days, annual picnic breakfasts, the summer's Clown Town" activities and other town-sponsored activities. It has been also reported, but not verified, that John F. Kennedy made a speech from the platform either for his senatorial or presidential campaign.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Andrew Grilz, Curator
Andover Historical Society