ANDOVER BOROUGH, NJ - The small town of Andover Borough, located on Route 206, was incorporated in 1904 after splitting off from Andover Township.
Andover Borough is a truly historical town, with many buildings dating back to the 1800s. Christine Cassidy, President of the Andover Borough Historical Society, became interested in the history of the Borough when she moved there several years ago.
“I’ve always been interested in history, and when I moved into my home, I wanted to learn the history of it,” Cassidy said.
While learning the historical significance of her own home, Cassidy realized the history of many of the homes around her.
“Many of the homes on Railroad Ave [behind the municipal building and museum] look exactly as they did in the beginning of the 1900s,” Cassidy said.
She soon joined the Historical Society and discovered the old Andover Borough Museum.
The Andover Borough Museum originally opened when the Historical Society began in 1989. However, it had been closed for repairs until 2011. Now the Museum is open on the third Sunday of each month from 1pm to 4pm. Groups or individuals can arrange for tours by appointment as well.
While it may be a small town of 600 people today, in the 1900's the town was bustling with new businesses and technology.
In 1904 when the town was incorporated, Andover Borough officials brought electricity to the town, a huge step forward in a community during that time period. These leaders encouraged business through the iron mines, the railroad and farming techniques.
According to research done by Cassidy, many of the houses built between 1865 and 1922, are still standing, such as the houses on Railroad Avenue, which used to line the railroad tracks of 1904.
Many of the buildings on Route 206 are also still standing from the early days of the town, but unfortunately some of the buildings have been burned down over the years.
One of the memorable fires happened in 1908 and started in the Municipal Building on Main Street.
“Luckily, the whole town was spared due to the three story red brick structure halfway down Main Street, which acted as a fire barrier,” Cassidy said in a report written for the Andover Borough Museum.
As the town was rebuilding the former three-story brick building, they included the original plaque reading “Smith’s Centennial Hall, 1876” in the new stucco building.
The Andover Inn on Main Street was standing until 2006 when it burned down. A new building has been built in the same area, which looks similar to the historical Andover Inn, but with many updated features.
The United Methodist Church, once located on Main Street (Route 206), was burned down in 1991, and was not rebuilt. The fire was arson and the church was one of three historical buildings burned down within a month.
One Andover Borough business owner only imagines what the town would have been like if the beautiful church were still standing. The Andover Borough Historical Society was scheduled to receive the building only a few days after the fire occurred.
Other historical buildings include the Grist Mill with the Wishing Well in front, the Andover Presbyterian Church with the old one-room Andover School House, and the Iron Master’s House. These buildings demonstrate the rich history of Andover Borough and give the town its beauty and charm that residents love.