The abrupt change in the name of High Street to East Street at the intersection with North Street is odd unless one knows a bit of history. When Ipswich was laid out in the 1600’s, town center was Meetinghouse Green. A road headed south and crossed the river — it was named South Main Street. It continued north from the Green one block as North Main Street and ended. From here one could go west on High Street, or East and down to the river on East Street.
East Street, 1870
East Street, 1909
Although still unpaved thirty years later, the street already looks more elegant.
East Street along the Ipswich River before the current Town Wharf was created in the early 20th Century. At that time the river came to the edge of the street.
The Hodgkins Lakeman house on East St. Photo by George Darling, circa 1900
East and Hovey Street intersection by George Dexter
The intersection of East and Spring Streets, with a Hayward Scale in the intersection, before 1900. Photo by George Dexter
10 East Street, the Nathaniel Harris house (1819) - Nathaniel Harris built his home in 1819 on a section of land from the Baker Newman property next door. His widow Elizabeth Staniford lived into her 90's. The county laid a pipe connecting a spring on this land to the house of corrections on Meetinghouse Green. 14 East Street, the Baker – Newman house (1725) - John Baker obtained a section of the land extending down East Street to Spring Street, originally granted to Rev. Cobbet. John Baker Jr. sold eight acres with buildings including land on the hillside to Nathaniel Jones Jr. in 1742.
Jones sold the house and lot to George Newman Jr., a weaver. 16 East Street, the Lakeman-Johnson house (c 1840) - This house was built between 1837 and 1846 when mariner Richard Lakeman sold the land “with the dwelling house and other buildings thereon,” to his brother, Captain Ebenezer “Eben” Lakeman. The house has an Asher Benjamin doorway and has a preservation agreement with Historic New England. 18 East Street, the Baker-Dodge house (1727) - This house was built by John Baker III, and was purchased by Mary Dennis Dodge in 1818. The house is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners and the town of Ipswich. 2 East Street, the Robert Jordan house (1863) - The “Old Brick,” the home of esteemed Col. Francis Wainwright was at this location in the 17th and early 18th Century. The original Methodist Church meeting house was erected here in the 1830's. Robert Jordan, a clothing merchant, bought this lot in 1862, and built this fine Italianate home. Dr. George C. Bailey was the next owner, but then built the large Victorian house at 48 Market Street in 1887. 22 East Street, the Moses Fellows House (1873) - Thomas Sweet sold this lot to Moses A. Fellows and Sarah G. Hodgkins in 1873, and Fellows built this Italianate house shortly thereafter. Fellows owned a lumber yard on Water Street. 25 East St, the Stanwood-Willcomb house (1830) - Stephen Stanwood erected this house in 1830 for a fulling mill. Sheep grazed on the bare hills above East and High Streets, and the mill used water that ran from the springs. This is said to be the first house in town to have running water. Fred Willcomb and his brother Lewis E. Willcomb operated a store here at Willcomb's Corner. 27 East Street, the Widow Elizabeth Caldwell house (1740-1755) - Joseph Wait sold this lot to Elizabeth Caldwell, widow of Thomas, in 1829. She moved a house from another site onto her property. The rear two story wing is believed to be the older house, joined together when the house was moved. Structural evidence suggest a construction dates of about 1740 to 1775 for the two sections. 3 East Street, the James W. Perkins house and Provisions (1860) - This house was built between 1856 and 1872. Samuel Hunt purchased the ancient Day-Dodge house at the corner of North Main and East Streets on Feb. 14, 1849 with three lots adjoining. The 1856 Ipswich map shows Burroughs Machine Shop at this location. The 1896 Ipswich Business Directory lists J.W. Perkins, Provisions and Meat Market at this location on East Street. 30 East Street, the Jordan – Snelling – Potter house (c 1708) - John Potter purchased the lot in 1708 with all the buildings, including the “old house, new out-houses, etc.” Structural evidence reveals that the house was built in two stages, and that the west side is the earliest portion. The house was owned in the 1950’s by Hollie Bucklin who renovated the building so that it appears to be a medieval revival cross-gabled house. 33 East St., the Old Store (1830) - The house at 33 East St. was built in approximately 1830 near the corner of East and County Streets for use as a store by James Quimby, and was moved to this location in 1850 by Joseph Wait. 35 East Street, the Luther Wait house (1810) - In 1872 Luther Wait removed the County jailor's house to this location. Wait served on several town boards including the school committee and as town assessor, and served two terms as postmaster. 37 East Street, the Stephen Baker house (1834) - The small two story three bay colonial at 37 East Street was built in 1834 by Stephen Baker Jr. as a storehouse for his grocery. The lot was also used a lumber yard and Baker opened a way to the river, constructing a wharf at the end of the lane. 38 East Street, the John Harris house (1742) - Thomas Harris purchased land along East Street in 1665. His son John was deputy sheriff and transported accused witches to Salem for trial. This sizable Georgian house was built by John Harris, 3rd or 4th generation. The property descended to Capt. Stephen Baker, whose heirs owned into the 20th Century. 4 East St., the old Methodist Parsonage, 1830 - The house at 4 East Street was constructed about 1830 and served as the Methodist Parsonage. The first sanctuary of the Methodist Church was located next door at the location of the present-day Ipswich Inn. 42 East Street, the Joseph Hovey house (1850) - Joseph Hovey bought a lot in 1843 from the estate of Thomas Boardman, and an adjoining lot in the rear at about the same time from J. H. Boardman. The old Boardman house was torn down about 1850, and Joseph Hovey built a house on the lot, which appears in the 1856 map. 55 East St. (c 1922) - This house is said to have been constructed from the front left section of Asa Lord's store when it was removed from Lord Square in the 1920's. 59 East Street, the Daniel Ringe house (1719) - The small lot fronting on East Street was sold to Daniel Ringe, Oct. 16, 1719 . It was sold to John Holland, Nov. 6, 1742. Daniel Ringe was an early settler of Ipswich, and as a young man worked as a cow-herd. Captain Ringe was a soldier in the Indian wars and became a prominent citizen of Ipswich. 6 East Street, the Daniel Russell house (1818) - In 1818 Daniel Russell bought the land with the old Norton - Cobbet house on it, the home of two of the first pastors of the First Church in Ipswich. Daniel Russell, the son of Henry and Mary Lord Russell. Daniel Russell was born in Ipswich on August 14, 1767 and died on December 29 1837, having lived 70 years. His wife was Sarah Sutton. 7 East Street, the Sadie Stockwell house (1888) - The heirs of Samuel Hunt sold the building lot to Sadie B. Stockwell and her husband Frank Stockwell, dentist on April 27, 1888 and she built the house on the lot in the same year. The Queen Anne shingle-style home of the Victorian era is not common in Ipswich. 76 East Street, the Hodgkins – Lakeman House (c1690) - William Hodgkins built this house before 1700. In 1718 he sold the dwelling to Archelaus Lakeman and the property remained in the Lakeman family for almost 200 years. The Lakemans were a sea-faring family with extensive wharves and warehouses on the property and on the Town Wharf across the street. 78 East Street, the James Glover hosiery factory (c 1860) - James Glover came to Ipswich from England with a long warp weaving machine about 1845. He worked at the Lower Mills until he opened his own textile factory ca. 1860. He manufactured hairnets, knit goods, hoods, and shawls. Glover employed 40-50 hands in the Civil War period, but by 1897 the mill was closed. 8 East Street, the Captain Matthew Perkins house (1701) - Winner of the 1991 Mary Conley Award. this well-preserved 1st Period house sits on a former orchard lot that was sold in 1701 by Major Francis Wainwright to Matthew Perkins, a weaver and soldier. In 1719 Perkins opened an inn and tavern in this house, "at the sign of the blue anchor." 80 East Street, the Perkins – Hodgkins House (c 1700) - The Perkins-Hodgkins house is believed to have been built in 1700 on the foundation of the earier Jacob Perkins home. The house has been greatly expanded over the years, but the original asymetrical structure continues to anchor the corner with Jeffreys Neck Road.