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  • Katherine Harrington

The Historic Wood (Arden) Estate

The Wood Estate (also known as the Arden Estate) in Andover, Massachusetts was built in 1847 and is well-known for the Gothic Revival house at 276 North Main Street (pictured), the Arden Casino, and being home to a couple of Andover’s most important mill owners, John Dove and William M. Wood. The house showcases distinct Carpenter Gothic architecture: unique window carvings, gingerbread trim and irregular chimneys. Although the estate is noted for its appearance, it is known for much more historically. The Wood Estate is one of the Merrimack Valley’s most historic places and one of All-Pro Electric’s most interesting project sites. In 1847, John Dove had the famed Gothic Revival House built on land he had purchased from the Abbott family. This land was well-located, as it led to Frye Village and overlooked the Shawsheen river and vast pastures. Dove was a machinist from Scotland who had arrived with friend Peter Smith, with whom he would establish Smith & Dove Manufacturing Company. Dove was well-known for his great mind, and had interests that spanned across science, religion, education and benevolent social movements. A year prior to building the estate, John Dove along with members of the Smith family founded the Free Christian Church. They were all abolitionists. In 1891, Ellen and William Wood purchased the estate from the Dove. William would remodel the estate into the home he named “Arden.” Some changes included enlarging the house to accommodate barns, chicken coops, a carriage barn, and an ice house; Wood was determined to construct every building necessary to maintaining a fruitful farm. Wood also built a kids’ playhouse, tennis courts, and transformed a former wagon shop into the Arden Casino and theater. In 1926, the estate was inherited by William’s son Cornelius A. Wood and then by grandson Cornelius A. Wood Jr. in 1972. Unfortunately, in 2014 there was a devastating 2-alarm fire that led to the loss of the Arden Casino. During this time, the restoration and protection of the estate was advocated for fiercely by the family. Many of their wishes came true, such as the reconstruction of a former barn. Additionally, much of the property was deeded to the Trustees of the Reservations, ensuring the estate’s preservation and protection for future generations.

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