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Olde Andover?

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Woman seeks to change name of North Andover

By Associated Press, 3/21/2004 06:12

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) A local resident has organized a petition effort to recognize North Andover's historical roots by changing the town's name to Olde Andover.

Karen M. Kline insists that North Andover, which split with Andover in the 1800s, is the original Andover and she has collected signatures in hopes that town selectmen will petition the state for a name change, The Eagle-Tribune reported Sunday.

''We are Andover. The town that's Andover now bought the name,'' said Carol J. Majahad, director of the North Andover Historical Society.

In 1854, Andover's more industrialized North Parish sought to break away from the more agricultural South Parish. When the Senate Committee on Towns recommended the parishes be split into two towns, the South Parish paid between $500 to $600 to establish the town farm of Andover, Majahad said. The North Parish became North Andover.

Kline said Olde Andover ''just sounds right. It just sounds poetic.'' But Benjamin C. Osgood Sr., whose family has been in the town for 11 generations, did not welcome the proposed change.

''I think it's stupid,'' he said. ''It's North Andover and it's been North Andover since 1855, and that's the way it should be. You don't change a name just whimsically like that. It's been there for 150 years. I think that's ludicrous.''

Majahad of the historical society said a name change movement in the 1950s fizzled, but she couldn't remember the proposed new name.

Changing North Andover to Olde Andover requires a majority vote of Town Meeting and special legislation from state lawmakers, Town Clerk Joyce A. Bradshaw said.

Martha J. Larson, president of the historical society, said the name change would be more fun to discuss than to implement, but she said North Andover should be able to reclaim the name of Andover and have the current Andover take the name of South Andover.

''Every time Andover puts up a sign like they have now that says 'Established 1646,' those of us here say, 'You can't do that,''' Larson said.

Kline said she hopes the discussion of a name change will give residents a chance to learn about their town's history.

''It's not just a piece of land,'' she said. ''It's a powerful place, a very powerful place with very forward-thinking people who came from England looking for a better life.''

Residents of Essex County's Manchester-by-the-Sea, formerly Manchester, made their town's nickname official in 1990 to distinguish itself from other Manchesters in New England.

From The Boston Globe

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