North Andover is the parent town of the Andovers. The lands south of the Merrimack River around Lake Cochichewick and the Shawsheen River were set aside by the Massachusetts General Court in 1634 for the purpose of creating an inland plantation. The Cochichewick Plantation, as it was called, was purchased on May 6, 1646 when Reverend John Woodbridge, who had settled the land for the English, paid Penacook chief Cutshmache six pounds for the lands. The plantation was then incorporated as Andover, most likely in honor of the hometown of many early residents, Andover, Hampshire, England. The town was centered in what is now North Andover, but the spread of settlement south and west of the old town center created much conflict in the early years about the location of the parish church. In 1709, the matter was brought to the General Court, which set aside two parish churches, north and south. The parishes grew apart as the years went on and on April 7, 1855, the North parish (the original parish) separated from the south and was incorporated as North Andover.
There are several first period (pre-1720) houses still standing in town. The oldest house is probably the Bridges House, relocated from Marbleridge Road to Court Street in 2001; the original portion of this house probably dates to about 1690. Other first period houses include the Stevens House on Great Pond Road; the Faulkner House on Appleton Street; the Abiel Stevens House on Salem Street; the Parson Barnard House, which is a museum; a house on Andover Street near the intersection with Chickering Road; and the Carlton-Frie-Tucker House at 140 Mill Road. No house in North Andover has been scientifically dated by dendrochronology, so dates are based solely on stylistic elements, original deeds, and tradition. The Barnard House is most unusual and might prove to be one of the few examples of a house dating to an earlier year than established by architectural historians.
The North Parish Church on the North Andover Green is a historic church building built in 1836. It was the 5th meetinghouse of the Puritan church congregation founded in 1645 in North Andover. In about 1836 the congregation chose to become a Unitarian church and commissioned this Gothic building.
North Andover's development was varied, with much of the land along the Shawsheen and Merrimack being concerned with industry, and the lands southwest being more agricultural. Several mills were located in the town, and industry has continued to this day, including the Western Electric Company, AT&T's manufacturing division, which supplied telephone machinery for many years before it was split up by AT&T into the new company, Lucent Technologies. Today North Andover is considered a bedroom community of the greater Boston area.