It’s hard to find any news this week except talk about the pandemic and the good snowstorm we had on Friday, although I still haven’t heard any snowmobiles. One imagines that the snow is not deep enough to cover up the rocks on some trails, which would discourage riders.  For great snowmobiling, cross country, and snowshoeing, it seems we need another 6-inch or plus storm.

Being newsless, if there is such a word (spellcheck just showed me there isn’t, but I’m going to use it anyway), the local book, “Andover: The First 175  Years” is a treasure trove of information, some of which I’ll share with you. Did you know that in the year 1900, there were 206 horses in town? There were also 257 cows, 12 oxen, 775 sheep, and 93 swine. At that time livestock were taxed. Andover was a farming community that produced over 6,000 bushels of oats, 5,322 pounds of wool, and 9,599 pounds of potatoes along with 16,095 pounds of butter. Other crops of interest were hay and honey, which we still do today.

At one time, in the late 1800s early 1900s, Andover was quite self-sufficient with several stores including a print shop, three hotels, and it was a summer vacation place for people from Boston and Philadelphia. For some, it was just a stopping-off place on their way into the lakes, Richardson that is. People came for the entire summer to escape the heat of the cities, to fish, and to otherwise enjoy a laid-back lifestyle. Supplies came to town via horse-drawn vehicles after being picked up at the railroad station in what is now Bryant Pond or Rumford.

Of all the stores that have been, including Dave’s on the corner, Akers across the street, and Mills’ Market, which has been at two different locations, only Mill’s Market survives. In the 1970s when I arrived on the scene, we had three general stores. Today there is only one. Now we think nothing about getting in our cars and driving to Rumford to shop. When I came here someone told me that people put up their cars for the winter until the 1950s. We can hardly imagine staying in Andover for a few days now, let alone the entire winter.

Want more information about the past here, get “Andover: the First 175 Years” at the library.  Believe me, you’ll enjoy looking at the past in our town, it’s very interesting.

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