108 Central Street is one of three identical houses along this stretch of Central Street (together with 100 Central Street and 110 Central Street). The three houses stood in a row until about 1900 when 106 Central Street was constructed, separating 100 Central from the others. Land on which 108 and 110 Central were built were previously part of a larger parcel belonging to Henry F. Russell.
In 1872 the lot on which #108 stands was sold to George W. Baker, the same day that his brother, Stephen H. Baker, purchased the lot on which #110 would be constructed. The Baker brothers were both carpenters and natives of Ipswich. Their father, Samuel W. Baker, is listed in the 1880 census as a house carpenter. It seems likely that the Bakers constructed the two houses themselves, although specific documentation to that effect has not been found.
George W. Baker was born in 1836 to Samuel W. and Ruth Baker; his family lived on High Street in Ipswich for a number of years. He served in the Civil War from February, 1962 until August, 1865 (in Company A, Massachusetts 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment). He occupied the house at 108 Central Street after its construction and in 1880 purchased the adjacent lot to the southeast from Nellie B. Bancroft. He retained a 20-foot wide strip of land to add to his house lot (108 Central) and sold the remainder around 1890 as the house lot for 106 Central Street.
Following George Baker’s death in 1903, the property at 108 Central Street was inherited by his wife, Ellen B. Baker, and three daughters, Mary Abbie Danforth, Ruth S. Baker Hird, and Kate C. Baker. Ellen Baker, continued to live in the house with her daughter Kate (a teacher at the nearby Winthrop School), as late as 1912.
By 1924, the year Ellen Baker died, the house was occupied by another daughter, Mary, and her husband George S. Danforth, a station agent for the Eastern Railroad at Phillips Beach in Swampscott. Town directories indicate that Mary Danforth lived in the house until at least 1936. The house was eventually acquired by Philip Danforth (son of Mary Baker Danforth) in 1939. Philip retained the property until 1942 when he sold to Chester and Margaret Hills. The property remained in the Hill family until 2001 when it was sold to Carol Lord.
- Waters, Thomas Franklin. Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony – Volumes 1 and 2 (Ipswich, Mass.: The Ipswich Historical Society, 1905 and 1917).
- Ipswich Town Directories (various years)
- Essex County Registry of Deeds U.S. Federal Census (various years)