Places to Visit in Andover

Barn Quilt Tour

This self-guided tour may be done anytime of the year. It features quilt-design artwork displayed on buildings and fences at 8 different homes in Andover. Here is a brochure that includes pictures, addresses and a map.

Scavenger Hunt

For a couple of hours of fun, participate in Andover's Scavenger Hunt, which will take you to 11 of Andover's interesting sites. The scavenger hunt sheet can be picked up at the Jenny Lind Chapel, Andover Post Office, or Andover Central Bank. Or, you can print out this document. When you have finished, you can find the answers on the Special Days webpage.

Andover Lake Park

Aisle of Flags

Andover Lake Park

The beautiful ten-acre Andover Lake Park was originally the colony square. It offers visitors fishing, three picnic shelters, playground areas, tennis courts and a lighted baseball diamond. It is decorated every year during the Christmas season. For many years, the ball diamond was home to the Andover Terrible Swedes, who were Illinois state champions in 1936. The bandstand originally was by Andover’s two-story colony school built in 1858, and located on the west side of the park. It also has the only jailhouse (built in the early 1900’s) in the country located in the outfield of a ball diamond, and was featured in Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” several years ago. For additional information about the jail, click on the History webpage.

Andover's Aisle of Flags

Andover residents and area veterans are proud of the Aisle of Flags and memorial garden located on the south side of the Andover Lake Park. After raising more than $23,000 for the Aisle of Flags project, it was dedicated in June of 2013.

The 130 flags are mounted on poles containing plaques remembering veterans and other loved ones, and cover a full block along IL Route 81. The adjoining memorial garden contains monuments commemorating area veterans who have served in wars since the War of 1812. The flags are flown for Memorial Day, Andover’s Festival the first weekend in June, Flag Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Veterans Day.

Andover Historical Museum

American Woman's League Building

Andover Historical Museum

The Andover Historical Society Museum was built in 1861 by Eric Berglof as a private residence for the August Rehnstrom family. It also served as a temporary haven for Swedish immigrants in the early settlement of Andover. After purchasing the building in 1967, the historical society members worked night and day to ready the building for its formal opening in 1968.

There are five furnished rooms and a hall on the upper floor. The ground floor has four rooms, a small old-fashioned pantry and a hall with an open staircase. With the exception of the display room, the house is furnished with items from the 1860's. You can see pictures and paintings by folk artist Helen Brodd of Andover’s Steam Mill and old Tavern, which was built in 1879; the first two-story school, built in 1858; the old jailhouse; and the Andover Orphanage and Children’s Home, to name a few. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Museum is open during Andover’s Festival the first weekend in June, and for group tours by calling: 309-476-8228, 309-845-0168 or 309-521-8659.

American Woman's League Building

Andover’s American Woman’s League chapter house was built in 1911-1912 at a cost of $1,200, fully paid by U.S. publisher Edwin S. Lewis of St. Louis. A chapter could be formed if there were enough members in proportion to the community’s population. Lewis would build a chapter house if a chapter obtained a lot for it. The members of this chapter house were generally poor people who strained all their resources to come in on the ground floor. It became the hub of social life during the next few years; and, later was used by the Andover American Legion and Auxiliary as a meeting house, the Andover School District as part of its school buildings, and as a private residence.

In 1981, this house was one of ten chapter houses in Illinois added to the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1986, a fire caused extensive damage to the then private residence. Shortly after the blaze, the Andover Historical Society purchased the building and had it restored to look as close to the original as it could be made. It is used as a meeting house for the Historical Society and to house historical items.

Jenny Lind Chapel

Augustana Lutheran Church

Jenny Lind Chapel

The Jenny Lind Chapel, which is the “Mother Church” of the former Augustana Lutheran Church in America, had its beginning in 1850 when a group of ten Swedish Lutheran immigrants established a congregation under the leadership of the Rev. Lars Paul Esbjörn. Jenny Lind, the famous 19th century Swedish singer, donated $1,500 so the congregation could start the building she never saw.

Construction wasn’t easy. Lumber, which was to have been used for the church was lost when cholera struck, and the lumber was used to make coffins. The basement of the church became a hospital for the people with cholera. A brickyard was established in the colony, but heavy rains destroyed the bricks.

Not until the fall of 1854 was the church so near completion that it could be formally dedicated. The church was built in the most plain and prosaic form. There was no hint of churchly architecture. The building served as a dwelling for many of the immigrants who could find no other place to live when they first arrived. Very few churches were built in the midst of such sorrow, pain, and tears. The Chapel without a steeple and a bell attracted thousands of Swedish immigrants to Andover. The Chapel also was where the Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Church in America was organized in 1870.

The Jenny Lind Chapel was dedicated as a shrine of the Evangelical Augustana Church in America in 1948. In the early 1970's, a local committee raised $40,000 to renovate the Chapel. It was admitted to the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. in 1975. An immigrant museum is housed in the basement. Hundreds of visitors come to the Chapel every year, many of them from foreign countries.

Augustana Lutheran Church - website

Just ten years after the completion of the simple structure now known as the Jenny Lind Chapel, the membership of the Lutheran congregation in Andover had grown so rapidly that it was decided to construct a new church, which was completed in 1870.

It was decided to build a church of brick that would seat a thousand people. The architect hired was Charles Ulrickson of Peoria. Every man of the congregation was to donate his services to brick making. The exterior is an imposing one, and there are 500,000 bricks in the structure. The church is 125 feet long, 60 feet wide, and the cross on the spire is 136 feet high. The roof is a wonder of itself - it is self-supporting and composed of eight rafters weighing 5,000 pounds each, making an aggregate of 20 tons in weight in rafter alone!

The permanent altar pulpit, altar rail, the pews, and all the woodwork were finished in time for the Augustana Synod Convention, which was held there in June of 1870 with 2,000 persons in attendance. The organ was installed in 1874, and had 800 pipes in it (127 new ones were added in 1955), 17 stops and two manuals. A bell weighing 2,471 pounds was placed in the spire in 1881, and the present art glass windows were installed in 1891.