Elbo-Edge 100th Anniversary Gathering Retraces Memories

Cabin project required lots of local help

By Bardsley Family
A group of people, all in some way involved or related to people who were involved in the Elbo-Edge Cabins over the years, gathered on May 3 to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of its founding by Will Bardsley in 1922. Photo: Charlie Darling

 A group of Elbo-Edge guests, employees, descendants of employees, family members, and the great-grandson of the real estate agent who arranged a big sale in 1922 joined Bill Bardsley at the corner of Elbow Pond Road and Franklin Highway at 5 PM on May 3.

It was the 100th anniversary of the first ride on Elbow Pond Road by Bill’s father, Will, and his Aunt Hildur.

The Elbo-Edge cabins signpost, on Elbow Pond Road. Photo: Charlie Darling

Bill has a copy of a typed April 27, 1922 letter from his father in New Jersey to Vernon Fisher, the real estate agent, saying he expected to be in Andover on May 3 in the afternoon.  On that copy, a handwritten note says, “Hildur and I first rode in the camp road about five o’clock that afternoon”.  An arrow is drawn to the May 3 date in the letter.

Mr. Fisher must have been on that ride too.  He had suggested an abandoned farm on “Elbow Lake” which might suit Mr. Bardsley’s requirements for a place to build a family camp.  Bardsley had been searching from the Adirondacks to Maine for a year or more.  He bought the Andover property…..and the next 100 years are history.

This year’s May 3 party drove in the road to commemorate the occasion.  The group included Les Fenton, the Vernon Fisher great grandson; Susan Schnare, whose grandfather Fred Smith supervised construction of all the Elbo-Edge cabins between 1923 and 1927; and Andover Town Administrator Marj Roy, whose grandfather painted the farmhouse in the mid-1930s and whose mother and aunt were a teen-aged bed making/sweep the cabins team in the late ’30s; and finally current part-time employees Samantha and Tom Mackey.

Gregory and Anne Walsh and their mother, Maren, represented the guests.  The Walshes came to Elbo-Edge in 1969 and have come back every year since.  This will be their 54th year, more than half the hundred since 1922.

Along with two spouses and another mother, Bill’s daughters, Jen Sjostedt and Christina Guevarra, both of whom had turns running the business in the 1980s, and his nephew Eric Andrews rounded out the celebrants. Eric and his brother Bill as young teen-agers did chores in the early and mid 1960s.

With the sale of RP Johnson’s to Belletetes, Elbo-Edge appeared to become the oldest family-owned business in Andover.  In the past 100 years, it has registered guests from 33 states and 10 foreign countries.  Several guest families are now in the third or even fourth generations.  What will the second hundred years bring?