Follow the Ipswich River, starting at the Willowdale Dam and continuing past all four stone arch bridges in Ipswich, then along Water Street to the Town Wharf and out to sea. Many of these photos were digitally developed by the Town Historian from original glass negatives taken by three early Ipswich photographers:

  • Arthur Wesley Dow, the famous Ipswich artist who operated a summer art school at the Howard House on Turkey Shore Rd. Dow and George Dexter were friends and were photography enthusiasts.
  • George Dexter, early Ipswich photographer. These glass plate negatives are from the collection of Robert Cronin, Ipswich native. Dexter left his collection of glass plates in the barn owned by Cronin’s father. Robert wrote about working at his father’s store on the wharf.
  • Edward L. Darling, glass plate negatives courtesy of Bill Barton, from the collection of Bill’s late grandfather William J. Barton. In the 1960’s, William J. Barton wrote his memories of these locations on the back of his framed collection of Darling photographs. His notes accompany the photos below.
  • Other photos are from the Town Historian’s archives or courtesy of the Ipswich Museum. The identity of these photographers are often unknown.

Additional information is from The Industrial History of the Ipswich River, produced by Alan Pearsall and John Stump.

Visit the Ipswich River Watershed Association site

Clicking on a photo opens a slideshow. Exit the slideshow by clicking on the small X in the upper left corner.

4 thoughts on “Along the Ipswich River

  1. Hi, THNKS for lovely paint set! I LL get me a brush and get busy U are very thoutful

    Here s. That river stuff again. Pic one day in river w our place Wot s big house?..appears whr Wburn s house is now We had old bt hse; is this aunt s or does it go w big hse? Xxx, A

    Sent from my iPad



  2. This was really wonderful. Thank you. I do hope you’re considering putting together a book of these photos and that you preserve the wonderful tones and coloring . It would be great to see this published in print with all the captions you’ve provided. Let me know if it’s ever published it would be great to have a copy. My earliest North American ancestor spent part of his boyhood hear back in the 1600s I’d love to have this to look at. Sam. NYC


  3. Lovely pictures – especially of Choate and Country Street arched bridges. Delightful reminiscences.

    Re the steamer Charlotta – “It was always high tide at eleven o’clock on a full moon, so they would start the return trip home. There was no music on the return trip. Every one would cuddle up to someone on the steamer as it was cold in the early morning, and enjoy the full moon. After all, that was what this excursion was run for.” Sounds wonderful.

    Ipswich has such an interesting topography which these old photos really capture. Thank you!


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