The Andover Historical Society announces the 2018 opening of the Potter Place Railroad Station and J.. C. Emons General Store on Saturday, May 26, from 10 to PM. The buildings will continue to be open to the public until mid-October on Saturdays from 10 to 3 PM, and on Sundays from 12:30 to 3 PM. Admission is free.
The society’s facilities are located in the village of Potter Place in the town of Andover, N. H. The village is named for, and contains the homestead and gravesite of, Richard Potter (1783-1835), the well-known black magician/ventriloquist of the early 19th century, who traveled and performed successfully throughout America, and whose life is the subject of the recently published Richard Potter: America's First Black Celebrity.
Also to be open to the public in the coming months is the society's one-room Tucker Mountain Schoolhouse in East Andover, built in 1837 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It will be open on the second Sunday of the month from June through October from 1 to 3 PM. Special events at these open houses will be announced in future issues of the Beacon.
The Potter Place railroad station, built in 1874, houses a significant portion of the society's historical collection. This station is a well-preserved example of Victorian station design and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located on the Northern Railroad line (later the Boston & Maine Railroad) that ran from Boston to White River Junction in Vermont and on to Montreal. This station preserves the stationmaster's office and recreates the feeling of a busy railroad depot of the early- to mid-20th century.
The homestead site and grave of Richard Potter and his wife are located immediately across the tracks from the station. A well-preserved caboose, the Central Vermont CV-4030, built in the early 1900s, is located beside the station and is open for visitors. Adjacent to the station is the Potter Place freight house and a Boston & Maine railroad box car. The freight house, built in the early 1900s, retains most of its original features and appearance.
Across Depot Street from the station is the J.C. Emons Store and Potter Place Post Office dating from 1912. The store continued to serve the village until 1958 and the post office until 1988. The society has restored it as an exhibit of a typical turn-of-the-century village store. The original tin ceiling has been rebuilt, and display cabinets and other store fixtures have been put in place. The post office area contains the original mailboxes and sorting table. The store also houses the society's Gift Shop.
For more information about the Andover Historical Society, visit its website at www.andoverhistory.org.