Digital Recording Project Preserves Andover’s Past

Forty years of conversations digitized for web

By Susan Norris

The Andover Historical Society is currently organizing our substantial collection of well over 100 oral histories and video recordings. Bob Norander has completed the challenging job of digitizing the entire audio collection, which will gradually be uploaded to the web. 

The recordings, which took place over the past 40 years, consist of conversations with longtime Andover residents. Here are a few examples:

Alan Thompson relives working as a kid for the Winter Hill Ice Company.

Ted Hall describes farm life growing up on Beech Hill.

John Graves Sr. talks about growing up on Taunton Hill and roofing the chicken house for the Bachelder farm.

Katherine Fidler recounts memories of her grandmother’s Ragged Mountain Camp for girls on the northern end of Elbow Pond and her father’s Ragged Lake Camp for boys on the east side of Elbow Pond.

Dorothy Fenton, the paternal aunt of Paul and Dennis Fenton, looks back on what it was like to be Andover’s first high school teacher.

Jim Hersey remembers growing up on the family farm in East Andover, the farmhouse with the now-famous red door.

The Andover Historical Society will continue with this long-term project to preserve all of these treasures, both audio and video, and make them available for the benefit of Andover residents, history buffs, and researchers from around the world.

At this time, you can watch a number of our videos on our YouTube channel at We’ll be adding to that collection throughout the year as we process and upload video and audio recordings from our “vault.” 


We also plan to create a new section of devoted to our audio and video assets. Here’s hoping you will take the time to taste our collection of stories and videos and savor the past.

History of the Historical Society

The Andover Historical Society (AHS) itself came about in 1981-82, conceived and organized by Barbara Upton and Dorothy Dunn. Barbara was a newcomer to town and Dorothy Dunn a life-long resident. She and Barbara soon become friends, and Barbara recalled, “In one of our conversations, she (Dorothy) mentioned she would like a historical society, and I said, ‘Let’s do it!’” 

Dorothy volunteered her husband, Jim, who was a lawyer, to do the legal work. Barbara confessed, “I didn’t even know there was legal work involved.” And so the AHS came into being, delivered by Barbara and George Upton, Dorothy and Jim Dunn, and Kimball Elkins. Barbara served as the first AHS president.

Within a year, Barbara also started the Oral History Project. She attended workshops to educate herself in the art of interviewing in order to catch stories and voices before they were gone. She built a library which continued to grow, an archive of conversations with town residents. She did it, as Barbara put it, “so even people who think they don’t like history can find out they do.”