Work Crew Demolishes Last of The Old House on Rock Island; Debris Awaits Next Community-Wide Clean-Up Effort

July 15, 2007: Volunteers cut the floorboards and beams into more manageable sections, then stacked the pieces in preparation for another removal effort.

A small crew of experienced volunteers took the clean-up of Rock Island to a new level: one floor down.

On July 15, a half dozen veterans of clean-ups on Foster's Pond and the Shawheen River went after the remains of the two-story house that once stood on Andover's only Town-owned island. Their objective: to reduce the ground floor of the house to pieces small enough to be hauled off the island by hand.

Everything above the floorboards had been carted off the island by a massive community-wide effort in 2003. But the floor itself - supported by massive timbers - was too much for the 2003 volunteers to manage.

Coordinated by Foster's Pond Road resident Dave Adilman - who serves as the Town's "warden" for the one-acre island - the crew of experts included Mark Florio, Gerry Fogden, Bert Batcheller, and Ken Doran. They used chain saws, circular saws, and pry bars to hack their way through the treacherous ruin. They then stacked the pieces near-by.

This was the first floor of the house on Rock Island. It's all that was left after a massive clean-up in 2003 got rid of the rubble from the two-story structure that once stood here.

The work had the blessing of the Andover Conservation Commission, which has jurisdiction over the island.

The next step is to organize another large-scale removal effort. The Town, the Foster's Pond Corporation, and other groups will cooperate to recruit volunteers from the area and across Andover to hand-carry the rubble to the water, ferry it to the mainland, and throw it into 30-yard trash containers.

For more on the community efforts to clean up Rock Island:

Island Clean-Up, November 22-23, 2003 The first massive effort to remove the rubble of an old house
"Town Wants to Try Volunteer Clean-Up of the Island"  Town Manager approves idea
"Fact-Finding Mission" Account of Al French's tour of the Island with Steve Cotton and Dave Adilman, September 27, 2003
Fleet of Canoes to the Rescue  Townsman article on Al French's proposal, September 11, 2003
Island Eyesore  First Townsman article on the Island, August 7, 2003