Historic homes and scenic landscapes

Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634 in an area the Native Americans called “Agawam” and is known as America’s best-preserved Puritan town. There are more remaining First Period houses (1625 through 1725) in Ipswich than any other town in the country, and the historic neighborhoods of Meeting House GreenHigh Street, the East End, and the South Green offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th-century residences.

Resistance by the citizens 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.”

View the Ipswich calendar of events

The General Laws of the Massachusetts Colony The Body of Liberties, the “Ipswich Connection,” and the Origin of written Constitutionalism in Massachusetts - However benign John Winthrop’s intentions were, the system he tried to construct rested on the discretion, or will, of individual magistrates. However, he was defeated by the Ipswich Connection’s campaign for the “skill” or “rule” of written law; and if we still prize the ideal that government should operate based on laws, not men, we owe that partly to their promotion of the Body of Liberties.
Woodcut of historic Ipswich Town Hill Prominent Members of the early Ipswich bar - Ipswich boasts a long line of legal luminaries – lawyers and judges – going back to the dawn of the Town’s existence. Not only is this the “Birthplace of American Independence” but the home to many notable statesmen, and the caliber of the bench and bar of a people is in part a measure of the quality of the culture.
Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society - The Ipswich Historical Society was founded in 1896. In 2010, the Ipswich Historical Society was renamed the Ipswich Museum, featuring two significant properties, the Heard House built in 1800, and the Whipple House, dating to 1677.
Native Americans of the North shore - The Puritan settlers of Ipswich established the town in 1634 in an area the Native American inhabitants called "Agawam."
Ipswich in the World War - On the afternoon of Thursday, November 7, 1918, a rumor spread through Ipswich that an armistice had been arranged. News of the end of the war was received on Monday morning, November 11. Ten blasts on the fire alarm whistle proclaimed the news, church bells began to ring, whistles were blown, all business was suspended, and the streets were filled with people.
First Period Howard House, Turkey Shore, Ipswich MA Ipswich First Period houses (before 1725) - The First Period of colonial American architecture was approximately 1626 through 1725. There are more remaining first Period houses in Ipswich than anywhere else in the country.
George Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States George Washington’s Farewell Address - "The alternating domination of one faction over another... will gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual who turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty."
Applications are requested for the 2020 Mary Conley Award - Every year the Ipswich Historical Commission presents the Mary P. Conley Preservation Award to the owners of an Ipswich property noteworthy for a recent restoration, or to a person that has made a significant contribution to the preservation of Ipswich history.
Who Were the Agawam Indians, Really? - It’s hard for people to change their stories—so embedded in deep time and official canon, even when there is a better explanation or a closer truth. I hope it will be possible to change public knowledge about the Native Americans who lived here and get closer to the truth.
John Wise house Tercentenary sign, Essex MA The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich - The concepts of freedom about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence originated from the pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich: "The origin of civil power is the people...and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please."
The Cape Ann Earthquake, November 18, 1755 - A series of earthquakes in the 17th and 18th Centuries gave rise to recurrences of religiosity through New England. June 1, 1638:  Believed to have been centered along the Connecticut River Valley with a magnitude of about 6.5, this was the strongest known earthquake to hit New England: […]
The Ipswich discovery of PaleoIndian artifacts at Bull Brook The Bull Brook Paleo-Indian Discovery - in the early 1950's, a group of young amateur archeologists men discovered one of the largest Paleo-Indian sites in North America along the banks of Bull Brook and the Egypt River in Ipswich, with over 6,000 artifacts uncovered.
Ann Bradstreet, America's first published poet Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the colony’s first published poet - Often alone in Ipswich while her husband Simon was engaged in government, Anne Bradstreet wrote a collection of poems published in London in 1650 titled, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America...by a Gentlewoman in these Parts."
“At long last, sir, have you left no sense of decency?” - On June 9, 1954, before a nationwide television audience, Joseph Welch of Waltham replied to Joseph McCarthy, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness."