Gravel Street in Ipswich became Washington Street and Liberty StreetHouses

Washington and Liberty Streets

Gravel Street and the gravel pits are shown in the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich.

One of the older established ways in town, Washington Street may have started as a footpath for Native Americans long before John Winthrop and the first settlers arrived.

Millend Ipswich 1635

Map of Ipswich in a 1909 article by M. V. B. Perley, Millend, Ipswich: “Mill Street of 1635-40 was the Washington Street of the present day. The road that led to the west (now Topsfield Road) was called “highway to the common” land, and there was no street corresponding to our Market street till 1640 or later.” Heard’s Brook (Farley Brook) was a wetland that separated residents on the two sides of town.

Today’s Washington Street was called once called Bridge Street, and for two centuries was known as Gravel Street for the two gravel pits on the hillside. It took a right turn to High Street at Lords Square on what is now Liberty Street. At about the same time that Central Street was created in 1870, Gravel Street was extended to Linebrook Road, reconstructed and renamed Washington Street. The section near Lords Square was renamed Liberty Street. A late 19th Century building boom on these two streets and the new Mount Pleasant subdivision added Victorian houses to the old colonial neighborhood.

Land grants to early Ipswich settlers

Map created by Thomas Franklin Waters, showing land grants to early Ipswich settlers. Today’s Washington Street was known as Bridge Street and Gravel Street.

Washington Street after reconstruction

Washington Street before reconstruction

Washington Street before reconstruction

Before Washington Street was reconstructed in 2011, it had become an eyesore with huge swaths of cracked pavement and a buckling sidewalks (when there was one at all.) The redesigned road is a tremendous improvement in aesthetics and safety. Visitors see a well-preserved neighborhood that compliments the historic character of our town, and the community has a safer way to walk to stores, schools and Bialek Park.Color photos below are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties site for the Town of Ipswich.

Washington and Liberty Street houses

  • Information is from MACRIS, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Photos are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties database.

78 Washington St. 78 Washington Street, the Daniel Haskell House (1835) - The Federal trim and substantial chimneys identify this house as perhaps the earliest of the story-and-one-third 19th century cottages on Linebrook. It is uncertain which Daniel Haskell Sr. or Jr.was the owner. Records show that both died of dementia.
62 Washington St., the Robert Stone house (1869) - 62 Washington St., Ipswich MA
Washington St., Ipswich 59 Washington Street, the Charles W. Bamford house (C 1887) - This house was built between 1884 and 1888 for Charles W. Bamford, who was at various times in his career the Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Justice of the Peace. The elaborative cornices and multiple colors of paint are a mix of Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian.
56 Washington St. 56 Washington Street, the Ephraim Goodhue House (1875) - The earliest owner of the house was Ephraim Goodhue, listed in town directories as a blacksmith and grocer with a shop on Pleasant Street. By 1902 the house had been converted to two-family use.
53 Washington St. 53 Washington Street, the George W. Smith – Pickard House, (1880) - The earliest owner to be identified is George W. Smith who owned the house by 1884, and is listed in town directories as a flagman for the railroad. By 1910 the property was owned by Henry A. Pickard .
46 Washington St. 46 Washington Street, the James S. Marble- James Peatfield house (1860) - This two-family house was came into the possession of Sanford and James Peatfield in 1859. James Peatfield came to America in 1827. He built one of the first lace machines in this country, and invented a warp machine, after which he began manufacturing woolen underwear. Together with his brother, Sanford, Peatfield built a brick mill on Washington Street.
44 Washington St. 44 Washington St., the Howard Hills house (1905) - The house at 44 Washington Street was built between 1902 and 1907, and was constructed for Howard S. Hills who was manager of Russell’s Ideal Lunch at Depot Square.
42 Washington Street 42 Washington Street, DJ’s Variety Store (1938) - This small grocery store was built between 1936 and 1940, and was operated by Christ G. Geanakos as a grocery store. Geanakos lived at 1 Burley Avenue.
41 Washington Street, the George Brown house (1883) - John A. Brown sold this lot to George B. Brown in 1883 and he built a house shortly thereafter. Brown’s house is one of the few Stick Style Victorian homes in Ipswich. Brown built a grist mill, also located on Washington St., in 1881. He started with a single team and by 1888 employed 6 men. Brown was the first in the area to install a roller mill, which removed all foreign iron substances from the grain before it entered the mill
37 Washington Street, the Brown-Grossman-Doucette house (1884) - This house was built by 1884 by George V. Brown, one of several houses he built on a large parcel. Brown operated a large hay & grain business nearby at Brown Square and lived on Liberty Street. In 1916 this house was occupied by Charles (& Mary) Grossman and Denis (& Maggie) Doucette.
35 Washington Street 35 Washington Street, the Charles and Margaret Bell house (c 1890) - These identical houses were built for Charles E. and John A. Brown, who were involved in speculative development on Brown and Liberty Streets. By 1916 this house was occupied by Charles H. & Margaret J. Bell.
32 Washington Street, the Frederick Bray – Daniel Nourse House (c 1870) - The first owner of this house, built around 1865 was Frederick Bray, a Civil War veteran. By 1884 it was owned by Daniel P. and Sarah Nourse. Nourse died by 1888 and the house was sold. By 1916 it was occupied by Dennis and Nora Monahan. Dennis is listed in town directories as a mason.
31 Washington St., the Laffy – Chapman – Morrill house (c 1880) - This house was built between 1872 and 1884. By 1884 it was owned by Michael Laffy; Laffy is listed in town directories as a laborer. By 1910 the house was owned by Walter Chapman, a farmer who lived on Pineswamp Road and presumably rented this house. In 1916 the house was occupied by Euclid A. and Charolette B. Morrill. In 1924 it was occupied by Insurance agent William F. Connor and his wife Mary.
18 Washington St., Ipswich MA 18 Washington Street, Sanford Peatfield House (1860) - This house was built for Sanford and Mary Peatfield around 1860. Sanford and James Peatfield built a brick mill on Washington Street and continued making woolen underwear until about 1877. The factory became the Hayes Hotel, and burned in the 20th Century.
Patrick Riley House on Washington Street, Ipswich MA 16 Washington Street, the Patrick Riley house (c 1865) - Patrick Riley is listed in town directories as a farmer. By 1924 this house was occupied by Isaac W. Mitchell, a carpenter.
Patrick Riley House, 12 Washington St. 12 Washington Street, the Patrick Riley house (1880) - This house was built between 1872 and 1884 for Patrick and Ellen Riley. Riley was a farmer and he and his wife owned this house and the one at #16. By 1924 this house was occupied by Maurice and Mary Blaquiere.
10 Washington St. 10 Washington St., the Mary Holmes – Captain John Lord house (b. 1770) - The house was constructed before 1770 at 45 N. Main St., and was moved to this location in 1860 by Michael Ready. The second floor was probably added at that time.

3 Liberty St, Ipswich MA Liberty Street - In the late 19th Century Washington Street was extended to Linebrook Road, and Liberty Street became its own street. Its houses date to 1850-1910.
9 Liberty St., Ipswich MA 9 Liberty St. (c. 1880) - This house first appears in the 1884 Ipswich map, with the owner shown as "Mrs. Foster." It is also shown in the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye Map, but not in the 1872 map. The owner in the 1910 Ipswich map is T. H. Lord. 
7 Liberty St. Ipswich MA 7 Liberty St., the John W. and Annie M. Lord house (C 1867) - The house at 7 Liberty St. first appears in the 1872. and was first owned by John W. Lord and his wife Annie M. Pingree.
6 Liberty St. (c. 1890) - A house at 6 Liberty St. is shown in the 1893 Birdseye map and the 1910 Ipswich map, the owner is shown as "C. Caldwell." The modestly Italianate "Gable and Ell" form confirm the architectural period.
3 Liberty St., Ipswich MA 3 Liberty St., the Foster house (c 1880) - This house is shown in the 1872 and 1884 Ipswich maps owned by "S. Foster."
18 Liberty St. (1885) - The houses at #16 and # 18 Liberty Street were built between 1884 and 1887 by John A. Brown, a brick manufacturer and lumber dealer, probably in association with C.E. Brown & Son.
17 Liberty St., the Blaisdell house (c 1880) - The 1872 Ipswich map shows the owner of this house as "L. Blaisdell."
16 Liberty St. 16 Liberty St., the Martha Curtis house (1885) - The 1910 Ipswich map shows the owners as John Brown.
15 Liberty St. 15 Liberty St. (c 1870) - The earliest identified owner is C.W. Davis who owned the house by 1872. By 1884 the house had been sold to John W. Russell, a freight agent, who continued to own the house into the 1920’s.
14 Liberty Street, the George B. Brown house (1898) 14 Liberty Street, the George B. Brown house (1898) - The elegant Victorian house at 14 Liberty Street in Ipswich was built between 1896-98 by George B. Brown, who owned a grain mill on Washington Street.
13 Liberty St. 13 Liberty St. - The 1910 Ipswich map shows the owner of the house at 13 Liberty St. as D. A. Roberts.
12 Liberty St. 12 Liberty St. (c 1890) - The earliest Identified owner is Charles E. Brown, proprietor who owned the house by 1910. Brown and his son, Walter 6. Brown, operated a brick manufactory and contracting company.
Liberty St. Gothic Revival house, Ipswich 11 Liberty Street, the Levi Howe house (c 1870) - The descendants of Levi L. Howe, a farmer, owned this Gothic Revival cottage until 1953. Ken Savoie restored its appearance, and was the winner of the 1992 Mary Conley Award for historic preservation.
10 Liberty Street 10 Liberty St. (c 1900) - The house at 10 Center Street is not in the 1884 Ipswich map, but appears in the 1910 Ipswich map under the name "C. Brown."

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