Lanam Club History

The Lanam Club Property, formerly known as “Orlando,” has graced Andover's Shawsheen landscape for more than 100 years. Built in 1916 on a luxuriant hillside overlooking the winding Shawsheen River below, the original house mirrored the vision and spirit of its owner, William M. Wood, late president of the American Woolen Company.  William Wood had a fascination with building and architecture. The prospect of grandchildren gave him another excuse to build. He began construction of a mansion located 150 yards south of his own home, “Arden.” The new home “Orlando” was completed by late 1916. 

Because of what they say about the dreams of the original owner, details about the architecture, construction and landscaping of “Orlando” are of high interest to anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting or dining at the Lanam Club.  The names of the original  properties themselves - “Orlando” and “Arden” - signify Mr. Woods’s interest in Shakespeare.  Orlando was a royal character in As You Like It.  Arden was the name of the forest where the action took place.  (One of Mr. Wood’s daughters, Rosalind, was named after the heroine in the same play.)
This three-story, stucco edifice done in Spanish Colonial Revival style had a green tile roof with dormers and exterior chimneys.  There was a porte-cochere entry vestibule with Palladian-inspired doorway.  Reflecting Mr. Wood’s belief in firm family foundations, “Orlando” was built with two stories underground.  The sub-basement, containing the furnace, was blasted out of solid rock.  Steel beams were used in critical areas, helping to explain why the ceilings have not cracked or the doors jammed.  Supporting local trade and  industry, Mr. Wood ordered his lumber from the J.E. Pitman      Company and engaged one Chester S. Patten as the constructing contractor.  The house was designed by Perley S. Gilbert, and was reputed to have cost $400,000 in 1916.



                When certain items were unobtainable locally, Mr. Wood did not hesitate to procure them from out of the region or even from out of the country.  The marble fireplace on the second floor, for example, came from the Fifth Avenue brownstone mansion belonging to Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.  The silver light fixtures came from Tiffany’s in New York.  Two of the red marble, gold-crowned columns at the foot of the main staircase were imported from a quarry in Italy, the only one in the world known to contain that type of marble.  When unavailable locally, skilled labor was also brought in from the outside.  For instance, two German craftsmen, who became American citizens before World War I erupted, were hired to do the intricate hand carvings of the quartered-oak panels, which decorate the interior on all three floors (the two upper and the ground floor) and on the balustrades and banisters between the floors.  The ceilings on the first floor are of hand-molded plaster with festoons of garland and rosettes.  Wood imported several Roman plaster craftsmen to do this work.  The seventy-by-thirty-five-foot dining room boasted a carved mahogany table that could seat fifty dinner guests and a huge, hand woven oriental rug that covered the entire floor.  A large modern kitchen with a walk-in cold room was connected to the dining room above by a large dumbwaiter, which is still in operation today.
                In 1957, “Orlando” became the Lanam Club and today is recognized as the finest business and social club in the area.  Also, of course, with its incomparably designed gardens and terraces and its irreplaceably elegant interiors, it is an ideal facility for members and their guests to celebrate weddings, holidays, and special occasions of all kinds.  The name is an original and descriptive one – “L” for Lawrence, “A” for Andover, “NA” for North Andover, and “M” for Methuen.
                This magnificent building and its beautiful surroundings are a living monument to William M. Wood.  So too, the Lanam Club is a living tribute to the foresight and imagination of that  original group of business and professional men who purchased “Orlando”, renamed it, and over the years have seen “a dream come true”.