Constructed in the early 20th century, Andover Lake is a man-made recreation area. While residents of Andover and other nearby towns enjoy swimming and boating on the property’s 159 acres, few may appreciate the role the lake played in challenging racial boundaries during the Civil Rights Era.

In 1926, after years of research and planning, contractors began clearing trees and brush out of Cheney Hollow to make way for the construction of a lake. At 3:30 pm on April 30, 1927, a sluiceway gate in a nearby dam closed and water began filling what soon would become Andover Lake. Charles White and 10 other initial investors watched with pride during the following decades as the little section of Andover became a prosperous resort area.

Resort Area Becomes Battleground for Civil Rights

In 1955, William M. Philpot, an African American minister at the New Haven Baptist church, bought a cottage on the lake. Despite buying what his attorney described as an “implied easement” for access to the lake upon purchase of the home, Philpot encountered resistance as the Andover Lake Property Owners Association (ALPOA) repeatedly denied him access to the lake by refusing him membership in the owners’ association.

« More »