In the centuries before 451 Andover St in North Andover was a dentist office and medical park that it is today, it used to be the homestead of the Wilson family. This family was one of the earliest families in North Andover, with Joseph Wilson arriving in what was then Andover around 1670, according to the North Andover Historical Society. A couple of decades later, his wife and daughter would be arrested in the Salem Witch Trials mass hysteria but would later be released after multiple families in Andover petitioned for their release.
In the years between when the Wilson’s first moved in and when the last of them left, the town had changed drastically. Back then, North Andover and Andover were one town and just called Andover. In fact, one only has to walk a few minutes from our dental office to where Andover Street turns into Elm Street and find themselves in Andover. This transition took place over the course of a few years, starting with the town being split into two parishes when the town was allowed to build a second church. The North Parish eventually became North Andover and the South Parish stayed Andover.
Despite there being a dental office at the site of their North Andover farm today, none of the family members were ever associated with dentistry. Over the centuries the family wealth was rumored to have grown quite substantial and in 1881 a couple of twin brothers who were students in the nearby Philipps Academy in Andover broke into his house hoping to rob it. Tragically one of them was shot and killed during the break-in. The resident of the house at the time, Abiel Wilson, was the last of the Wilsons to live there.
The house stood there for decades after his death and you can even see it in this old picture of a car crash that took place in front of what would eventually be our dentist office in North Andover. The legacy of the family was strong in North Andover, with the intersection where Merrimack College, our dental office, and Bertucci’s meet being know as Wilson’s Corner for a long time. The area looked quite different back then, with trolley tracks running down the street, and farmland where Merrimack College is.
Although our dentist office has replaced the Wilson Homestead, we wanted to write this post in order to preserve this important part North Andover’s history.