ANDOVER — An 18th century homestead on the National Register of Historic Places is on the market after belonging to the same family for 230 years over eight generations.

Nick Chandler, a software developer from Boston, said that his family has owned the Merrill House, a 9,600-square-foot mansion, and the property it sits on at 10 South Arm Road since 1789, when Ezekiel Merrill — the first generation of Chandler’s family — purchased a homestead plot in the River Valley and became one of eight families to settle on land that would come to be known as Andover.

“(Merrill) took advantage of an opportunity by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to buy homestead plots in that region and he moved his family there,” Chandler said.

Ownership of the property and the Merrill House has stayed with the descendants of Merrill since it was built.

Two generations after Merrill settled in Andover, Henry Varnum Poor – Merrill’s grandson – purchased the homestead and founded Standard & Poor Corp., a financial services corporation that is still in existence today.

He also redesigned the Merrill House into its current look.

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The Chandler family are direct descendants of the Merrills and Poors, according to Nick Chandler, and have owned and managed the property for the last several decades.

“My grandfather took ownership of it until it went to my father, and for the last 20 years, it’s been with me and my siblings,” Chandler said.

An interior shot of the historic Merrill House in Andover, which is on the market after being owned by the same family for 230 years. Submitted photo

While Chandler and his family have used the property as a gathering place for family reunions and gatherings, he said that they occasionally rent it out to people for weddings or reunions as a means of sustaining it.

“We never exploited the revenue potential of the property,” Chandler said. “We never ran it as a bed and breakfast or an official venue. None of us were interested in turning it into a commercial property. The rentals were a means of sustaining the property over the years.”

In 2019, nearly 230 years after Chandler’s descendants bought the homestead plot, Chandler said that he and his family decided to put the homestead on the market as it was becoming too difficult to manage.

“My siblings live all over the country and I’m the only one left in New England,” Chandler explained. “It’s a big place and the burden of managing has fallen to me. It’s a big burden.”

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The 110-acre property comprises the Merrill House; a 6,000 square foot barn; a four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot cottage; a 2,000-square-foot workshop; and three sheds, according to information from Hebert Realty Group, the group representing the property while it’s on the market.

Chandler said that he and his family have listed the property in three formats: one listing that offers the entire 110 acre property, including the Merrill House, for $1.3 million; one listing that offers the main structures on the property and the 25 acres they rest on for $850,000; and a final listing for 85 acres of forest and valley lots costing $650,000.

He added that one thing that most people don’t know about the homestead is that the soil along the riverfront is “beautiful,” making organic farming a possibility.

“I ran into a woman from Virginia recently who said that she used to live around here, and she comes up to the Andover valley to harvest fiddleheads along the Ellis River because the soil is so pure,” Chandler said. “Plus, the property is so close to the Rangeley Lakes, the Western Mountains of Maine, and all kinds of ski resorts. It makes for good backcountry adventuring.”

Chandler said that he’s hoping the buyer is “someone who appreciates the history of the building and the beauty of the property, because it’s a wonderful location.”

“The depth of memories here goes well beyond me and my siblings,” Chandler said. “My cousins and distant relatives came here for family reunions and have memories of staying here, but it’s time for someone else to enjoy this as much as we have.”

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