Summer Street may be the oldest public way in Ipswich, and in the earliest days of the settlement was called Stony Street, or simply “The Way to the River. ” Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that for two centuries it was Annable’s Lane, named after settler John Annable. In the Colonial years, streets tended to be named for topographical features or for who lived on them. By the 19th Century, communities in New England were old and well-established, the origins of the early street names forgotten. Many towns, including Ipswich, renamed their thoroughfares with more universal names. The photo below is the west side of lower Summer Street, with the old road between the house and the current Summer Street. In the earliest years, the east side of lower Summer Street was mostly orchard.
Ipswich Assessors map. The apparent addresses from the 1910 map are shown in red.
11 Summer Street, the Nathaniel Hovey house (1718)-Nathaniel Hovey Sr. lived only to the age of 28, about the time of the birth of his son. Nathaniel Jr. in 1696. This house was probably built by the younger Hovey. The asymetrical layout of the front of this house suggests that it may have originally been built as a half house and expanded. A modified Beverly jog is on the left.
27 Summer Street, the Thomas Knowlton house (1688)- Humphrey Bradstreet. sold his house and land to Deacon Thomas Knowlton in 1646.
In 1688 Knowlton passed his house and land to his grand nephew Nathaniel Knowlton with a new house erected on the property, and it is this house that survives today.
3 Summer Street, the Benjamin Kimball house (c 1720, alt. 1803)-The Benjamin Kimball House dates to about 1720 and was a 2 room cape moved to this location in 1803 and expanded at that time. The Benjamin Kimball house is late first period but has been altered with Georgian and Federal influences. The walls and roof are constructed of huge beams with mortise and tenon joinery, and the first floor outside corners have gunstock posts, evidence that they once supported the roof.
39 Summer Street, the Foster – Grant house (1717)-In 1717 Nathaniel Knowlton sold a small lot to James Foster who is believed to have built the house. In 1826, the family sold to Ephriam Grant, and the house was long known as the "Grant house." Early Colonial features are preserved throughout the house.
43 Summer Street, the Wilcomb-Pinder house (1718)-This timber-framed First Period house was built in 1718 by William Wilcomb. The interior of the home features hand-hewn summer beams, wide plank flooring and the original fireplaces. The next owner, William Benjamin Pinder was a corporal with Col. Appleton’s company during the French and Indian War.
46 Summer Street, the James Foster house (1720)-James Foster bought this former orchard land in 1720 from Nathaniel Clark who moved to Newbury. The northwest side is the original half-house, which was doubled in size and remodeled to appear Georgian, with the two chimneys, dormers and a symmetrical front. The house was owned by the Soward family in the 19th Century, and partially burned.
7 Summer Street, the Thomas Treadwell house (C 1740)- The original house consisted of a large room with a chimney and entry at the right. Raised field wainscotting in this room is the most exceptional early second period feature. The house was altered in the mid-18th century, and the kitchen and small rear room are finished with trim from this period. In the mid-19th century new stairs and a new chimney were built.