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.
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 that originally turned right towardsLords 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.
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.
Houses on Washington and Liberty Street
- Information is from MACRIS, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Photos are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties database.