Andover MA: A Comprehensive Guide to the Town’s Highlights

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Andover, Massachusetts, situated in Essex County, is a town steeped in history with its origins dating back to 1642. It was later incorporated in 1646 and the 2020 census showed the population of the town at 36,569. Andover is located approximately 20 miles north of Boston and 4 miles south of Lawrence, making it an accessible and desirable suburb for many families and businesses.

The town is recognized for its progressive government, focus on quality and responsiveness, and dedication to providing exceptional services to its residents. Governed by an open town meeting-board of selectmen-town manager form of government, the town charter was enacted by the Legislature in 1956 and amended in 1974. An elected 5-member Board of Selectmen oversees Andover, ensuring the town stays true to its commitment to innovation and dedication to the community.

Visitors to Andover can enjoy various accommodations, such as La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Boston-Andover and Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Andover. Alongside its rich history, the town offers a wide array of attractions and activities for residents and tourists alike, helping to make Andover an ideal place to live, work, and visit.

General Overview


Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is situated approximately 23 miles north of Boston and 4 miles south of Lawrence. The town forms part of the northeastern part of Massachusetts.


As of the 2020 census, Andover has a population of 36,569 residents. The town was settled in 1642 and was incorporated in 1646, making it a historically significant community in the region.

History of Andover MA

Andover, Massachusetts, was settled in 1636 under the Native American name of Cochichawicke, which referred to a local waterway. The town was incorporated in 1646 and named after Andover, England, as many of its settlers had come from there. From its inception, manufacturing played a significant role in the development of the community.

The first recorded town meeting took place in the home of settler John Osgood in 1656, in what is now known as North Andover. The old burying ground there marks the center of the early town, which was surrounded by clusters of homes on lots ranging from four to eight acres in size.

In 1778, the prestigious Phillips Academy was established in Andover, originally intended as one of the United States’ first boarding schools for boys. The academy eventually became coeducational in 1973, when it merged with the Abbot Academy for girls, which had been founded in 1829.

An important event in the town’s history occurred in 1855 when North Andover, where Merrimack College was established in 1947, separated from Andover. Covering an area of 32 square miles (83 square kilometers), Andover has since become known for its blend of colonial history, manufacturing heritage, and notable educational establishments.

Education in Andover, MA

Elementary Schools

Andover is home to several top-rated elementary schools, providing a strong foundation for young learners. A few notable elementary schools in the town include:

  • South Elementary: With a student population of 462, this public school serves students from Kindergarten through 5th grade.
  • High Plain Elementary School: A well-regarded public school that educates students from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

These schools focus on academic performance and equity, ensuring a high-quality education for all students.

Middle Schools

Andover offers middle school education options for its residents. These schools provide a supportive learning environment aimed at enhancing student growth and preparing them for high school.

High Schools

Andover High School is the public high school that serves Andover, Massachusetts. Located at 80 Shawsheen Road, the school has an enrollment of students from grades 9-12. It is ranked #1,398 nationally and provides a strong academic program with an overall score of 92.17 out of 100.

Higher Education

While there are no colleges or universities within the town of Andover itself, the surrounding area offers numerous higher education opportunities. Students pursuing post-secondary education can find various options within driving distance, allowing them to continue their education without venturing too far from home.

Economy of Andover MA

Major Employers

Andover, MA is a town with a diversified economy and numerous opportunities for its residents. The largest industries in Andover include Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Manufacturing. Some of the top employers in Andover include Raytheon Technologies, Philips Lighting, IBM, and Citizens Bank. These companies bring a variety of specialized job opportunities to the town and its surrounding areas.

Job Opportunities

Apart from the major employers, Andover’s employment landscape also offers a range of job opportunities in sectors such as Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services. In this sector, the highest paying industry tends to be Professional, Scientific, & Management with an average income of $145,455.

The town’s diverse economy and numerous amenities make Andover, MA an attractive place to live and work. Despite being smaller in size, the town has managed to carve an economic niche for itself, providing its residents with ample job opportunities and a high quality of life.

Recreation and Entertainment

Parks and Outdoor Activities

Andover, MA offers a wide variety of parks and outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. The town’s Recreation Department manages approximately 500 programs, events, and trips annually, providing numerous social, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. One popular destination is Pomps Pond, which is a seasonal attraction offering swimming, boating, and fishing experiences.

Art and Culture

In addition to outdoor recreation, Andover is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene. The town boasts several galleries and studios, showcasing local and regional artists. There are also numerous community events and programs offered by the Recreation, Elder Services, Veterans, and Youth Services departments. These events range from art exhibitions to theater productions and concerts, providing entertainment and inspiration for people of all ages.

Dining and Shopping

When it comes to dining and shopping, Andover, MA offers a diverse selection to satisfy any taste or budget. The town features a mix of local restaurants, cafes, and shops, allowing you to experience the best of Andover’s unique flavors and styles. Whether you’re in the mood for casual dining at a neighborhood eatery or a refined experience at an upscale restaurant, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Andover. Similarly, shoppers can enjoy browsing through a variety of boutiques, specialty stores, and national chains, providing endless opportunities for retail therapy and souvenir hunting.

Important Landmarks

Andover, Massachusetts, is a town rich in history and scenic beauty. It is home to several noteworthy landmarks, each possessing unique characteristics and historical significance.

Addison Gallery of American Art is a top destination for art enthusiasts. This museum houses an exceptional collection of American art, featuring works by renowned artists such as Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. A perfect spot for a couple of hours, the gallery offers an immersive experience for visitors.

Another point of interest is the Ward Reservation, which encompasses 59 acres of parkland. This natural space is perfect for a relaxing stroll or a more vigorous hike, catering to both outdoor enthusiasts and casual visitors.

Within Andover lies the National Register of Historic Places listings, which includes a variety of historically significant buildings and locations. Among them, the Andover Town Hall stands out, constructed in 1858 and showcasing Romanesque Revival architecture. This iconic edifice symbolizes the spirit of the town, while the elegant Musgrove Block (built in 1895) is another remarkable structure in the area.

Outdoor explorers can venture to Holt Hill, the highest summit in the region, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Another scenic vantage point is Boston Hill, accessible via the Blue Loop trail. Nature lovers may also be drawn to the Pine Hole Bog, a glacial kettle hole bog crossed by a 700-foot boardwalk.

In summary, Andover, Massachusetts, boasts an array of landmarks that illuminate its rich history and natural beauty. Whether you are an art aficionado or a nature lover, this town has something for you to explore and appreciate.

Public Services

Police Department

The Andover Police Department is a dedicated and professional team that works diligently to ensure the safety and security of the town’s residents and properties. They develop and implement strategies for reducing crime, fostering community partnerships, and implementing best practices in law enforcement. Contact information for the Police Department can be found on the Town of Andover’s official website.

Fire Department

Andover’s Fire Department is responsible for providing fire protection, emergency medical services, and emergency preparedness support to the community. They are committed to saving lives, protecting property, and ensuring the safety of all residents. The department trains and equips its personnel to respond to a wide range of emergencies, including fires, medical issues, and natural disasters. More information about the Andover Fire Department can be found on their official website.

Public Works

The Andover Department of Public Works (DPW) manages multiple divisions aimed at maintaining the town’s infrastructure and vital services. Key responsibilities of the DPW include:

  • Engineering: Provides technical support and design expertise for public infrastructure projects.
  • Facilities & Field Rentals: Oversees the maintenance and scheduling of public facilities and athletic fields.
  • Highway: Maintains roads, sidewalks, and drainage systems to ensure safe and efficient transportation.
  • Parks & Grounds: Takes care of public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces.
  • Forestry: Manages and maintains the town’s public trees and tree-related matters.
  • Spring Grove Cemetery: Oversees the maintenance and operations of the town’s historic cemetery.
  • Recycling & Solid Waste: Manages waste disposal programs, recycling initiatives, and environmental compliance efforts.
  • Water Distribution & Sewer Collection: Ensures the proper distribution and disposal of water and sewer services.
  • Water Treatment: Provides safe and reliable drinking water for the community.

Details about these divisions and their projects, such as the Downtown Crosswalk Brick Replacement and Water Main Replacements, can be found on the Andover DPW website.

Transportation in Andover MA

Public Transit

Andover residents have access to a variety of public transportation options. The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) provides bus service in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, including Andover, with over 1 million miles of scheduled routes, as well as elderly and disabled transportation services.

For those looking to travel by train, Andover is served by the MBTA’s Haverhill Line. The line connects the town to Boston’s North Station, making it convenient for daily commuters or leisure travelers. The train station is located at 17 Railroad St, Andover, MA 01810, and offers accessibility features to accommodate passengers with disabilities.

Major Highways

Andover MA is well-connected by major highways, which provide efficient travel and accessibility to the Greater Boston area and other regions. Some of the key highways serving Andover include:

  • Interstate 93 (I-93): This north-south highway runs through the eastern portion of Andover and connects the town to Boston to the south, as well as New Hampshire and Vermont to the north.
  • Interstate 495 (I-495): The I-495 bypass encircles the Greater Boston area and offers easy access to different towns and cities. It passes through the southern part of Andover and connects to both I-93 and I-95/Route 128.

In addition to public transit and major highways, Andover provides local transportation services such as taxis (e.g., Andover Cab Bellmore’s Transportation) and airport livery services (e.g., Andover Airport Transportation, Taxi & Private Car Livery Services), which cater to residents and visitors alike. These transportation options contribute to Andover’s accessible and efficient transport infrastructure.

Future of Andover MA

Andover, Massachusetts, being part of the greater Boston area, has seen ongoing growth and development as an attractive destination for families and professionals. The future of Andover will likely include a focus on comprehensive planning that looks 10+ years into the convergence of the community’s goals and objectives related to land use, economic development, housing, open space, transportation, cultural and historic resources, municipal services, and growth-related categories.

Demographic change, housing, and economic prospects are just a few factors shaping the future of Andover. As the town continues to evolve, the comprehensive plan will incorporate public input to provide a coordinated roadmap for future development. While the master plan is not an exhaustive study of every issue in town, it serves as a framework that may lead to more detailed studies in the future, ensuring that the community’s needs are met.

In recent years, Andover has experienced a higher cost of living due in part to the high median home values exceeding $600,000. While 20% of residents rent their homes, rent prices average just below $1,500 a month. However, the average cost of living in Andover remains lower than in Boston, making it an advantageous alternative to city living for those working in the greater Boston area.

The state’s investment in Andover’s future includes $2.1 million in unrestricted funding, along with $12.2 million in Chapter 70 funding designated for Andover Public Schools. This financial support will help ensure the quality of educational resources and growth of the community, thereby attracting new residents and businesses.

In conclusion, Andover’s future is shaping up to be one of promising growth and development, where the community’s needs and aspirations align with its focus on comprehensive planning, and the town continues to build on its strengths and address challenges along the way.