Market Square Ipswich MA new signCommentary

Market Square, a “sign of the times?”

When the previous town manager was hired, she implemented one of the recommendations of the 2003 Ipswich Development Plan, organizing a Wayfinding Task Force, aka Sign Committee, which I was asked to join. An outside consultant was hired, and after a number of group sessions, a new motto for the town was chosen, “Bridging History.” It was decided to erect new signs indicating parking, historic houses and other features of the town, and to replace or remove several older signs.

I left the committee because I was not onboard with several decisions, including replacement of the traditional English-style wooden directional sign at Market Square, which is identical in construction to the sign at the Ipswich Town Hall. They are similar to signs that I saw throughout the New England when I moved here over 40 years ago, and I’m saddened to see this traditional style of signage disappear from our landscape.

Ipswich MA market square directional sign

Directional sign that stood at Market Square in Ipswich until March, 2018

Postcard of Market Square, early 20th Century

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6 replies »

  1. Our first stop. When conning to Ipswich was to go to the visitor center. Glad the old sign was still up. Observation.. the first period houses are all over town. Who decided that this particular place was worthy of direction.

  2. I think I installed the signs with the help of Armand Michaud around 1996.
    My spouse Arthur Finkelstein, and I drew the design of the Norgh Green sign on a napkin at Choate Bridge Pub.

    We designed The metal Choate Bridge sign from a sign we saw in Rye , England.

  3. I am outraged! I am hurt!

    I worked so hard to get those traditional signs put up!
    I paid for them myself!
    I designed , installed and painted them all by myself.
    I also designed and privately put up the Choate bridge sign.
    I hope you are not taking that one down too!
    There are so many that gave .
    Donald Curiale

    • Thanks for your reply Donald. When the “Wayfinding Committee” decided to remove the sign, I told them that there was obviously a person or group who had gone through the process to erect them, and that we should find out that history before they replaced them. I was told that my point was “noted” and that’s when I decided to resign from the Committee. The identical sign at Town Hall is still standing, and I have not heard that they plan to replace it. Were there others that worked with you to put up the signs? What year were they erected?

    • I am sorry that your signs were removed. Your generosity was truly appreciated. I am dismayed by the many changes to our town which I feel diminishes our historical flavor.

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