The Ipswich Mills and Brown Mills neighborhoods are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The houses in this late 20th Century aerial photograph were built in the early 1900’s by the Ipswich Mills Company to house the workers of their mill, located just east of this area. The company was the largest employer in town and the largest producer of stockings in the world. Six parallel streets, 1st Street to 6th Street plus Estes and Kimball Streets were laid out by the Ipswich Mills Company to provide housing for their workers, many of whom were Polish. This area became known as “Pole Alley”.
At various stages the Company hired English, Polish, Greek, Canadian, and Irish workers, making the Alley a very diverse ethnic area. In order to afford the houses, workers brought in boarders. One account indicates that there were as many as four to a room in these two-bedroom houses. As late as 1917, 75% of the Ipswich Mills workers were women and although the town directories list the men and their occupations, it can be assumed that many of these women were working in the Ipswich Mills. When the Ipswich Mills Company closed in 1928 the houses were sold for as little as $2000, often to the Polish residents who had worked in the mills. Most of the houses remain single-family residences today and are valued in the $300,000 range. (reference MACRIS listing by the Ipswich Historical Commission, 1990).
Due to their historic nature, the two Ipswich Mills and Brown Mills neighborhoods were each eligible for designation as a National Historic District, an area or property associated with events or developments of significance to the history of their community or which have significant architectural history or engineering achievements. Owners of properties listed in the National Register may be eligible for a 20% investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of income-producing commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings. Properties must be rehabilitated according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior.