About The Stevens-Coolidge Place
Enter a World of Early 20th-Century Country Elegance.
The Stevens-Coolidge Place is a signature example of an estate designed in “The Country Place” style. From about 1890 to 1930, wealthy Americans showcased their travels and taste by drawing inspiration from European garden design in order to transform their rural land holdings into summer retreats. The Stevens Family, one of the founding families of North Andover, acquired Ashdale Farm in 1729 and farmed the land for generations. Helen Stevens inherited the property, and after her marriage to John Gardner Coolidge the property became their summer home. Around 1914, she and John began the decades-long transformation of the farm into an elegant agricultural estate.
John Gardner Coolidge was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, a nephew of Isabella Stewart Gardner, and a member of the wealthy Boston elite. John served as a diplomat in Pretoria, Mexico, Nicaragua Europe and Asia. He and Helen filled their country house with art and furniture from their trips around the world. The house itself was re-designed in 1918 when the Coolidges hired preservation architect Joseph Everett Chandler to remodel the Italianate style home (originally two connected farmhouses) into the Colonial Revival style that stands today.
Strongly influenced by French design themes, Helen and Chandler added the walled rose garden, greenhouse, serpentine brick wall and potager garden (or French vegetable garden) that exist today. Typical of The Country Place Era, the fields, orchard, and woodlands remained part of the working estate and served as a pastoral backdrop to the formal gardens.
In 1962 Helen Stevens Coolidge died. Wanting the property to be enjoyed by the public, she bequeathed Ashdale Farm to The Trustees of Reservations. It was renamed The Stevens-Coolidge Place in to honor Helen and her husband. Additional land was acquired in later decades, and restoration efforts by The Trustees have been ongoing. For more information, visit the History tab on this webpage.
Visitors today can enjoy this peaceful outdoor “hidden gem” year-round. They can also tour the Main House where Chinese porcelain and other Asian artifacts mingle with American furniture and American and European decorative arts. The entry hall mural was painted by Spanish artist Joseph Remidas. A dramatic split staircase, delft-tiled dining-room fireplace and tavern ballroom are also on display.
For more information about hours and facilities, visit our Admissions & Fees tab. The Main House is currently not open to the public except during special events listed on our Programs tab.
When to Visit
Gardens: Open year-round, daily, 8AM to sunset. Gardens are most vibrant mid-June though September. House tours are currently not available.
Public restrooms (seasonal).
Regulations & Advisories
Main House - photography is not allowed inside the Main House
Gardens and Fields – professional photographers and artists that use the property as a backdrop for portraits, either commissioned or in-kind, must sign The Stevens-Coolidge Place Photography and Property Use Agreement and pay a fee ;prior to scheduling your session at the property. Yearly passes are available. (see Maps and Resources tab for more info.)
- Smoking and alcohol are not allowed anywhere on the property.
- Pets must be leashed and are not allowed in garden beds. Please pick-up after your pet.
- Please carry-out all trash, we do not provide trash barrels.
- Parking is only permitted in the designated lot on Chestnut Street. Vehicles are not allowed on the interior access road unless authorized by the Superintendent.
- Mountain Biking is not allowed on the property. Visitors who arrive on bicycles are advised to dismount and walk through the gardens. Bike racks are not currently provided.
- A small herd of Belted Galloway cows is in seasonal residence on the property. Please do not feed or harass the animals and be advised that they are enclosed by an electrified fence.
137 Andover Street
North Andover, MA 01845
Get directions on Google Maps.
From I-93, take Route 125 (Andover By-Pass) North 7.3 mi. At end of road, merge left onto Route 114 North. At traffic lights opposite Merrimack College (on left), turn right onto Andover St. (remains route 125) and follow for 0.2 mi. Turn right at traffic lights (remains Andover Street) and follow for 0.5 mi. The Main House will be on the left, however the designated parking area is across the street from the property. At the Stevens-Coolidge Place Sign take a right onto Chestnut Street and then an immediate left into the parking lot (15 cars). From the parking area kiosk, follow the short path and cross Andover Street at the crosswalk. The property can be accessed from the entrance at the end of the crosswalk or from the entrance in front of the Main House.
The historic home of John and Helen Coolidge is closed to the public except during special tours and events.
Gardens and Fields
Members and Nonmembers: FREE; on-site donations are welcome. Open daily and year-round. Hours are 8AM to sunset. Public tours are offered during special events. Contact Superintendent Kevin Block to schedule group tours.
See the Programs tab of this webpage for information about special tours and events. Current information is also posted in our on-site kiosks.
Our maintenance garage and attached brick building are closed to the public. The Field Sheds store machinery, and for your safety, the public is not allowed inside these structures. Our Greenhouse is maintained by staff and volunteers—please feel free to ask us for more information about this historic structure during your next visit.
There is always something to see at The Stevens-Coolidge Place. In the spring, shrubs and bulbs bloom next to the bright green fields hosting nesting Bobolinks. The decades-old lilacs produce wonderfully fragrant white and purple flowers.
Our seasonal herd of Belted Galloway cows arrives in the summer for grazing. Stop and smell the flowers in our Perennial Garden and Rose Garden while chatting with our weekly Volunteers. Learn something new in our ever changing French Garden planted with herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, annuals and perennials. Stroll through the pick-your-own Cutting Garden and purchase your own bouquet on Fridays and Saturdays July through August.
In the autumn, ornamental trees produce apples, pears, and peaches. We welcome all the fiery colors of the season in our mature trees and open fields. Even in the winter, when the urns are wrapped and everything is asleep, we hope you will stop-in to see the Serpentine Wall, specimen evergreens, sculptural century-old Orchard trees and bright berries of the season.
Originally the 18th century farmstead of the Stevens Family, Ashdale Farm was inherited by Helen Stevens. In 1914 Helen and her husband, John Coolidge, made the property their summer home and began its transformation into an elegant agricultural estate typical of the “Country Place” style.
The Main House
The Main House was originally two connected late-Federal period farmhouses built by Helen’s grandparents sometime between 1800 and 1820. Town records and a ballroom located in one of the wings of the House indicate that the family may have also operated a tavern. The house was remodeled around 1850 in the Italianate style.
When trends shifted to the Colonial Revival style in the early 20th century, Helen and John hired preservation architect Joseph Chandler to transform the House with dormers, bow windows and other design elements from America’s Georgian and Federal-Colonial periods. Chandler doubled the size of the original dining room and added a brick terrace at the rear of the house. He included his trademark delft-tiled dining room fireplace and a “good morning” double staircase similar to one he installed at the Mayflower House in Plymouth, MA. The renovation increased light and air flow in the living space, and improved the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The House is furnished with an eclectic collection from the Coolidge’s world travels. John’s extraordinary collection of Chinese porcelains and other Asian artifacts complement early American furniture, particularly regional pieces from New England. Other souvenirs include Anglo-Irish cut glass, European porcelain, needlework samplers, paintings, and prints. The entry hall mural was painted by itinerant Spanish artist, Joseph Remidas and its outdoor scenes bring nature indoors.
Joseph Chandler was also commissioned to continue the Colonial Revival aesthetic into the outdoors. True to this style, the formal gardens were sited behind the house to offer privacy and what Chandler described as “...simplicity and an indescribable air of peace.” These formal rectilinear outdoor “rooms” were planted with perennials, roses and shrubs in informal arrangements. Potted greenhouse plants were brought into these rooms during the summer months just as we do at the property today. The property’s oldest garden, however, was installed by Helen’s sister in 1907. After our 2014 restoration you can stroll through the Perennial Garden in her footsteps.
Because of Helen’s love of French Chateau gardens, in 1931 Chandler created a French Garden next to the Serpentine Wall. This eastern edge of the garden is only one brick thick, and modeled after walls designed by Thomas Jefferson for the University of Virginia. The garden was eventually converted to lawn, but in 2000 the original layout was restored with an incredible display of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees.
Ashdale Farm maintained its agricultural heritage in the dairy cow pasture beyond the formal gardens. Assisted by a large staff, the Coolidges kept farm animals, grew vegetables in the kitchen garden, filled vases from the flower cutting garden, and harvested apples from the orchard – even making hard cider during Prohibition. Today’s fields and woodland edges provide critical habitat for native plants, animals, pollinators and migratory songbirds.
Property Acquisition History
In 1962 Helen Stevens Coolidge died, leaving the property and an endowment to The Trustees with additional land purchased in 1980. The property was renamed to honor John and Helen. Additional land was added to the property through the generosity of Jane Whitehilll in 1985 and by Robert and Samuel Stevens through the Massachusetts Land Conservation Trust in 1999.
Archival material related to The Stevens-Coolidge Place is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Stevens-Coolidge Place Collection (45.0 linear feet)
Regarding Ashdale Farm (now called Stevens-Coolidge Place), the Stevens Family, the Kunhardt Family, and the Coolidge Family, 1761-2012.
Finding aid available at the Archives & Research Center.
The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tours of the Main House and Gardens are currently being offered during Special Events only.
Check-out The Trustees events calendar for more details about all the exciting happenings we’ve got planned for you this year at The Stevens-Coolidge Place. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at our gardens as we celebrate National Public Gardens Day, and hang-out with history during our monthly Open Houses from June through August. There will be plants for sale, light refreshments and tours at our annual Home Sweet Home event on May 31 and a harvest celebration during Trails and Sails in September.
Pick-Your-Own Flowers at The Stevens-Coolidge Place Cutting Garden
Join us for our fourth season! We are excited to offer your favorites including zinnias, dahlias and rudbeckia along with new varieties that will add pop and flair to your bouquet. Pick your own organically grown flowers on Fridays and Saturdays, 10AM–5PM from July 17 to September 26. The garden is fun for all ages and there is always something new to learn. Admission is free and you are welcome to enjoy all the gardens on the property year-round. Flower picking is only available at The Cutting Garden and only during PYO hours.
Members: Adult-size bouquets are $10 and child-size are $5.
Nonmembers: Adult-size bouquets are $20 and child-size are $10.
Be sure to stop by the tent to pick-up your scissors, cup and water before starting your bouquet.
Our favorite local herd of Belted Galloway Cows will be moo-ving around our fields again this summer. Stop-by for a visit and learn more about this amazing, rare breed.
Conservation and Stewardship
A Balanced Approach
The Stevens-Coolidge Place is a beautifully maintained example of an historic country estate featuring elegant gardens within pastoral surroundings. These gardens and fields also serve as critical habitat for a wide range of plants and animals. Our property is visited by all kinds of pollinators including native bees, the threatened Monarch Butterfly, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds who travel over 2000 miles each spring just to spend the summer with us. Foxes, owls, hawks and frogs also call the property home. In an increasingly urbanized environment, our uniquely diverse landscape provides an important refuge.
Visit us year-round and bring your binoculars! Male Bobolinks arrive in the spring to establish nesting territories. Listen for performances by migratory songbirds on their way north. Throughout the summer our gardens are alive with photogenic butterflies including the Baltimore Checkerspot, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Red Admiral. Bring a family picnic in the fall and watch the Red-tailed hawks and Turkey Vultures circle overhead. And in the winter there are lots of tracks to follow in the snow.
Stevens-Coolidge Place management plan
Maps and Resources
Self-guided landscape tour brochure distributed free from the bulletin board in the parking area and from a brochure rack on the verandah of the main house. You may also download a watercolor map of the grounds.
Notice regarding photography: Be advised that events and property maintenance are scheduled throughout the year and may impact your photo session—please notify the Superintendent of your planned session time. We are a non-profit, member supported organization and photography fees help maintain the gardens and facilities. Our staff reserves the right to protect public health, welfare, and safety by restricting activities or access to sections of the property during your session.
Even if you are not a professional photographer or artist, please respect the grounds and other visitors while setting up equipment or gathering for a group photo.
Your Special Day in a Special Place
The Stevens-Coolidge Place is a beautifully maintained historic property that welcomes small outdoor private functions. We are honored that so many of you have celebrated your wedding ceremony with us! The property’s facilities can accommodate groups of no more than 30 people and the Main House is not available for functions. We do not provide catering and alcohol is not allowed on the property. Public restrooms are open from spring through fall.
Please be sure to read The Stevens-Coolidge Place Photography and Property Use Agreement for more information about our policies. We look forward to helping you make your day special! For more information about the property and scheduling, contact Superintendent Kevin Block at email@example.com.
Planning Your Visit
Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
- Protect wildlife and plants.
- Guard against all risk of fire.
- Help keep air and water clean.
- Carry out what you carry in.
- Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
- Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
- Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
- Enjoy and share the landscape with others.
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
Enjoying Trustees Reservations
About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land
Tell Us What You Think
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.
Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.
Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.