The Agawam House in IpswichHistory

Agawam House – Treadwell’s Inn

Treadwell’s Inn, 12 N.Main Street (1737)

12 North Main Street, Treadwell’s Inn (1737)

In 1737, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell “inn holder” (1700 – 1777) opened an inn in the house still standing at 12 North Main Street. It was believed to have been the historic Sparke’s Tavern, which may have been located at the Ebenezer Stanwood house next door.

Nathaniel and Hannah Treadwell

nathaniel-treadwell Captain Nathaniel Treadwell was born in Ipswich, September 10, 1700 and died in Ipswich January 31, 1777. His first wife Mercy died in 1747. His second wife Hannah died July 6, 1792 aged 87 years. He was a captain in the militia and styled gentleman but was known as Landlord Treadwell through keeping the Inn at Ipswich. His wife Hannah was known as Landlady Treadwell. In 1737, Treadwell opened this “tavern house” which he bequeathed to his son Jacob, who continued the business.

Nathaniel and Hannah Treadwell are buried at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich.

John Adams’ visits to Treadwell’s

John Adams visited Ipswich frequently during the 1770’s in his capacity as a lawyer and always stopped at Captain Nathaniel Treadwell’s inn. Thomas Franklin Waters recorded Adams’ allusions to the landlord and other guests at Nathaniel Treadwell’s Inn in his book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

John Adams

John Adams

“June 22, 1771, Saturday: “Spent this week at Ipswich, in the usual labors and drudgery of attendance upon court. Boarded at Treadwell’s; have had no time to write. Landlord and landlady are some of the grandest people alive; landlady is the great-granddaughter of Governor Endicott, and has all the great notions of high family…. She is a new light; continually canting and whining in a religious strain.

As to landlord, he is as happy, and as big, as proud, as conceited as any nobleman in England; always calm and good-natured and lazy; but the contemplation of his farm and his sons and his house and pastures and cows, his sound judgment, as he thinks, and his great holiness, as well as that of his wife, keep him as erect in his thoughts as a noble or a prince.”

Read:A Revolutionary Guest, by Bruce Laing

The Agawam House, 26 N. Main

26 North Main Street, the Agawam House, constructed in 1806. Photo by Ipswich photographer George Dexter, by 1900.

Nathaniel Treadwell of the next generation built the second Treadwell’s Inn at 26 N. Main in 1806, keeping his tavern until 1818, after which Moses Treadwell continued the business. For over one hundred years it was the town’s first-class hotel. President Monroe was a guest, and Daniel Webster often stayed there while in town for sessions of the local court. The most famous guest was the Marquis de LaFayette, who was entertained for several hours on Aug. 31, 1824 before continuing on his day’s journey to Newburyport.

In the mid-1800′s Treadwell’s Inn was modernized with Victorian architectural elements, a Mansard roof, generous front porches and a tower. The inn was renamed the Agawam House and continued operating until it closed in the late 1920′s. The old inn still stands next to the Colonial Building, wrapped in faded aluminum siding,, its former glory unrecognizable. If you stand across the street on the rocks in front of First Church you can see its Victorian tower and Mansard roof.

Agawam House hotel North Green Ipswich



The Agawam House still stands on North Main St. but is barely recognizable.

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1 reply »

  1. Very interesting. Hopefully, something like the renovations to the Agawam House will never again happen to a treasured piece of history.


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