America’s “best-preserved Puritan town”


Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634 in an area the Indigenous people called “Agawam.” The historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green are well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th-century residences. Opposition by the people of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the King is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, with the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.” Over 50% of the land in Ipswich is protected, with forested rolling hills, salt marshes, sandy dunes and one of the most beautiful beaches in New England.

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Flight from Rooty Plain

News arrived in Rooty Plain that the Regulars had come in to Ipswich, and every man was called for, to meet the enemy. One aged man. Mr. Stephen Dressr thought he would sit down a while and smoke his pipe, and waited but they didn’t come, and had quite a comfortable nights sleep.

Linebrook Parish

This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.

Thomas Dennis, legendary Ipswich joiner

The extraordinary furniture of Thomas Dennis of Ipswich (1638-1706) took on the status of historic treasure, and over time more pieces were attributed to him than he could have produced in his lifetime.

The Cold Friday of January 19, 1810

The Cold Friday on Jan. 19, 1810 brought terrible winds and frigid temperature. Many people froze to death while traveling along the highways. Houses, barns and vast numbers of timber trees were blown down or broken to pieces.

Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials

During the Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Howe of Linebrook Road was tried and hanged. The Ipswich jail was filled with the accused, but the ministers of the town opposed the trials as a delusion. Residents blocked the bridge to prevent the accusing girls from being brought into Ipswich.

Arthur Wesley Dow’s images of Ipswich

Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922) was one of the town’s most famous residents. View his paintings, ink prints,and a slideshow of over 200 cyanographs.

George Dexter’s early photos of Ipswich

Perhaps the best-known early Ipswich Photographer was George Dexter (1862-1927). His photographs along with those of Edward Lee Darling (1874-1962) and Arthur Wesley Dow provide a visual history of the town of Ipswich.

The Peat Meadows

Deep in Willowdale State Forest is a bog which in the 1832 Ipswich map is the “Peat Meadows.” “Turf” as it was also called, became a commonly-used fuel when local forests were depleted and until anthracite coal became widely available.

Smallpox

One of the most progressive citizens of Ipswich, Dr. John Manning opened a practice in 1760, and began inoculating members of his family for smallpox, incurring the wrath of the Town. An epidemic of smallpox spread through Boston during the British occupation of the city at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Ipswich and the breach with Britain

On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.

Saving the Rooster

The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.

Market Street

Photos of Market St. from the present day back to the early days of photography.

The defiant Samuel Appleton

In 1687, a warrant was issued for the arrest of several Ipswich men for being “seditiously inclined and disaffected to his Majesty’s government.” The 62-year-old Major Samuel Appleton scorned the appearance of submission and remained imprisoned in the cold Boston Jail through the winter.

Theodore Wendel’s Ipswich

Theodore Wendel (1859–1932) was an Impressionist artist who lived for thirty-four years in Ipswich, where he painted the village, bridges, farmlands and landscapes, and left behind a magnificent collection of paintings of his adopted home town.

Strong drink

Colonial liquor licenses were granted to Ipswich men of highest esteem. They were bound “not to sell by retail to any but men of family, and of good repute, nor sell any after sunset; and that they shall be ready to give account of what liquors they sell by retail, the quantity, time and to…

The Town Wharf

The Ipswich Town Landing is one of several locations along the River where wharves were located over the centuries.

County Street, Sawmill Point, and bare hills

The town voted in 1861 to build County Street and its stone arch bridge, connecting Cross and Mill Streets. A Woolen mill, saw mill, blacksmith shop and veneer mill operated near the bridge.

The Fox Creek Canal

The Fox Creek Canal is the oldest man-made tidewater canal in the United States, dug in 1820. In 1938 it was dredged to accommodate ship-building at Robinson’s Boatyard, where small minesweepers were constructed for World War II.

The Devil’s footprint

Imprinted into the rocks in front of the First Church in Ipswich is the footprint of the devil, left there forever in a legendary encounter with the traveling English evangelist George Whitefield in 1740.

Why does Crane Beach have purple sound?

Crane Beach belongs to the Trustees of Reservations and is part of the historic Crane Estate. The property includes Crane Castle, miles of shoreline, and over 5 miles of marked trails through the dunes at Castle Neck and Steep Hill Beach, open year-round.

Winter walks in the dunes at Castle Neck

Crane Beach and all of Castle Neck are protected by the Trustees of Reservations. Pitch pine and scrub oak rise from the masses of marsh grass, sage green hudsonia and dune lichen lining the trails that wind through the dunes.

South Main Street

In March 1692 the Selectmen laid out 23 small lots with the condition that the owners not encumber the highway, provide drainage to the river and paving for foot travelers, and “keep horses from spoiling the same.”

South Congregational Church

The South Congregational church burned on December 10, 1977. The lot is now a small park with two benches and a bell, surrounded by the old foundation.

Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894

Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, several businesses on Central Street went up in flames. Three months later the other end of Market St. burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.

Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, January 15, 1919

On January 15, 1919, people in Boston’s North End were startled by a loud rumbling noise. They watched in horror as a five-story tank broke apart, unleashing a wave of molasses 15 feet high and 160 feet wide.

The Green Street Bridge

Twenty years after building the County Street Bridge, construction began for the Green Street Bridge. The original structure was made of wood but was later replaced by an arched bridge of stone on May 14, 1894. This was the fifth bridge built on the Ipswich River in the Town of Ipswich.

Manning’s Neck

The first settlers of Ipswich were given rights to use of the Common land. Unfenced tillage lots beyond the residential area were assigned in areas set apart for this use, including the area of Newmarch Street which was known as Manning’s Neck.

The Ipswich Female Seminary

The Ipswich Female Seminary was established in April 1828 by Zilpah Grant and 24-year-old Mary Lyon for the secondary and college-level education of young women. It was the first endowed seminary for women and the first to give diplomas to its graduates.

Ipswich to Marietta, December 1787

In December 1787, a group of Revolutionary War veterans and adventurers set out from Ipswich on an 800-mile journey through the wilderness by horseback and rafts to establish the first settlement in the Ohio Territory.

The Great Snows of 2011 and 2015

The winter of 2011 received the most snow in Ipswich since the Blizzard of ’78, but during the Snowmaggedon of 2015 we received over 100 inches in less than a month.

Diamond Stage

In 1673, two fishermen from the Isles of Shoals, Andrew Diamond and Harry Maine, arrived together in Ipswich. Mr. Diamond built a platform for salting and shipping fish, and became quite successful. The location is still known today as Diamond Stage.

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