“A priceless reservoir of early American history”

Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634, and is America’s best-preserved Puritan town. The opposition by the people and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, with the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.”

Architectural Preservation District - The  2014 Fall Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 established an Architectural Preservation District (APD) for the most historic areas of the town. Architectural Preservation District Bylaw Architectural Preservation District Map The bylaw was adopted at Town Meeting under the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution and will be administered by an Architectural Preservation District … Continue reading Architectural Preservation District
Ipswich woodcut,1838 attributed to S. E. Brown. Ipswich Historical Commission - The Ipswich Historical Commission  acts to preserve, protect, and develop the historical and archaeological assets of the Town. The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Town Manager with the approval of the Selectmen for staggered three-year terms.  Powers and responsibilities are prescribed in the town Administrative Manual and in accordance with Section 8D of Chapter 40 … Continue reading Ipswich Historical Commission
Summer Street by Arthur Wesley Dow Walking tour of historic Ipswich - Location: The tour starts across the river from the Ipswich Visitors Center at the Ipswich Riverwalk Mural behind the EBSCO buildings and Zumi’s. View at Google Maps. From the mural, the tour continues to the South Green. The Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk takes you to Water Street, Summer Street and County street, full of First Period Homes. It … Continue reading Walking tour of historic Ipswich
Ipswich Massachusetts: Birthplace of American Independence - The legendary and heroic opposition by the people and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.” This act of resistance has been called ‘the foundation of American Democracy,’ and was the beginning of a … … Continue reading

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Bygone Ipswich – Photographs by early Ipswich photographers George Dexter, Arthur Wesley Dow and Edward Darling.

Featured pages and posts

Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich MA The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich - In September 1898, The Ipswich Chronicle began publishing the Ancient Records of Ipswich as a column. The collection was later published as Vol. 1. Volume 1: 1634-1660 (view online) Town Records online: 1600 – 1916 These online documents are available on the Town of Ipswich site. Birth, Deaths, Marriage, Intentions 1663-1733 Births, Deaths, Marriage, Intentions 1663-1783 Birth, … … Continue reading
John Balch house, Beverly MA First Period houses of Essex County - Featured image: John Balch House, Beverly MA The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 By Abbott Lowell Cummings, 1979 Abbott Lowell Cummings was Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (aka Historic New England) and a member of the faculty at Antioch College, Boston University, and Yale University. This richly … … Continue reading
Ipswich Open Space map Ipswich Open Space - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land, through the Open Space Program, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. … Continue reading
Early Inhabitants of Ipswich - Featured image: The Pilgrim Fathers: Departure of a Puritan family for New England 1856 by Charles COPE Sources: Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Abraham Hammatt. Vital Records to 1850 Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol. I, Appendix A:A summary of the Names of the first settlers from 1633 to 1649 with the year when … … Continue reading
Ipswich burying grounds - Descriptions and interment listings for 10 Ipswich cemeteries Old North Burying Ground Index by map location Alphabetical index of graves Section maps Memento Mori: 1935 alphabetical index with inscriptions Read the book Memento Mori online Index with inscriptions (single page) Read the Essex Antiquarian Last names A-K, Last names K-Y. Findagrave site Complete guide to … … Continue reading
Historic maps of Ipswich - Maps of historic Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1634 – 1910 1641 maps of 1641 land grants, from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Diagram No. 1 Diagram No. 2 Diagram No. 3 Diagram No. 4 1717 Ipswich village maps Map 1 Map 1 inscription Map 2 1795 Ipswich town map 1795 Plan of Ipswich by Barnabas Dodge (zoom) … … Continue reading
Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society - The Ipswich Historical Society was founded in 1896 by the Reverend Thomas Franklin Waters, the author of a two-volume history of Ipswich, Volume I published in 1905 and volume II in 1917. Because they contain a history of virtually every significant house in the town, these two volumes can be considered the base from which … … Continue reading
Ipswich Open Space map Ipswich outdoors - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land as Open Space, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. The town’s investment adds to other preserved land surrounding the town, including Willowdale State Forest, Appleton Farms, Crane Beach and other Trustees of Reservations properties. In the … … Continue reading
The East End Historic District - The Ipswich East End Historic District was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1980. View a complete description in the Nomination Report. View a walking tour of the East End Historic District The East End includes the seafaring portion of the original village of Ipswich and offers an architectural history of the … … Continue reading
Ipswich Mills and Factories - From a paper by the Ipswich Historical Society At the very beginning of the settlement of our Town, a grist mill was an imperative necessity, and at the first Town meeting of which definite record remains in 1634, “It is concluded and consented unto that Mr. John Spencer and Mr. Nicholas Easton shall have liberty … … Continue reading
View an interactive Google map of historic houses in Ipswich, Massachusetts Interactive map of historic houses in Ipswich Massachusetts - Click on any of the house icons on this map to read the story of the house and its owners. View Ipswich historic houses at Google Maps To embed this map on your site, click on the link symbol in the top right corner of the map.
High Street Historic District - The High Street Historical District in Ipswich was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. High Street was once the main residential and commercial street of the new community and several of the 17th, 18th and 19th Century houses still remaining once served as taverns, stores, or craftsman’s shops. High Street was … … Continue reading
South Green Historic District - The South Green Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The proposal was submitted by Margaret E. Welden for the Ipswich Historical Commission and is copied below. View also: Walking Tour of the South Green Historic District. The South Green dates from 1686, when the town voted that the area … … Continue reading
Meeting House Green Historic District - Featured image: Meeting House Green, 1839 The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that have been determined significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. Ipswich has a total of seven listed historic districts and 62 individual structures. Boston was only three years … … Continue reading

A town of immigrants - Featured image: Immigrant workers at the Ipswich Hosiery Mill, by Ipswich photographer George Dexter. The earliest evidence of habitation in Ipswich was discovered in the 1950’s at the Bull Brook Paleoindian site, where hundreds of stone instruments were recovered, made by early Native Americans who migrated here after the ice age glaciers receded. The Agawam Indians who greeted the first … … Continue reading
Ipswich Streets, Roads and Neighborhoods - The first roads in Ipswich followed ancient paths of the Native Americans who called this place “Agawam.” The English settlers built their homes in a half-mile radius of the Meeting House. In the year 1639, the General Court instructed that “all highways shall be laid out beforeth the next General Court. Every town shall choose two or three men who … … Continue reading
Historic people - Alice Keenan wrote, “When we moved to Ipswich, this lovely old town, its long history, ancient houses and interesting people became almost an obsession. Dry names and dates mean little to me until one firms out the flesh of the past, for it’s those long-ago people without whom Ipswich and its history would be dull.”
Ipswich Cornet band, Ipswich MA historic photos 1889 Photos from Ipswich - Many of these photos were digitally developed from original glass negatives taken by three early Ipswich photographers, Arthur Wesley Dow, George Dexter, and Edward L. Darling.
Little Neck, Ipswich MA Little Neck, a photographic history - In 1639, two wealthy brothers William and Robert Paine (aka Payne) procured a grant of land in the town of Ipswich from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In about 1649 Robert offered to “erect an edifice for the purpose of a grammar school, provided the town or any particular inhabitant of the town would devote, set … … Continue reading
Pillow Lace Sign, High St., Ipswich MA Pillow lace - The Pillow Lace plaque is located in front of 5 High Street in Ipswich. In the mid-18th Century a group of Ipswich women started making and selling lace with distinctive patterns. Small round lap pillows were used to pace the bobbins and needles as the lace grew around it. Ipswich lace quickly became very popular and … … Continue reading
A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam - Until 350 years ago, the Ipswich River ran unencumbered from its origin 35 miles upstream, carving its way through a 148-square-mile watershed. Herring, shad, salmon and alewife swam upstream to spawn. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that, “Great shoals of alewives came up the river in the Spring and were seined at night by the light of torches … … Continue reading
The Ipswich Hosiery Industry - In the mid-18th Century a group of Ipswich women started making and selling lace with distinctive patterns. Small round lap pillows were used to pace the bobbins and needles as the lace grew around it. Ipswich lace quickly became very popular and played an important roll during the American Revolution. At the height of its … … Continue reading