The Whipple House

The Whipple House, Ipswich South Green (1677)

The 1677 Whipple house, owned by the Ipswich Museum, is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Ipswich museum, and is one of the finest examples of “first period” American architecture (1625-1725). The Ipswich Historical Society saved the house from destruction, restored it, and then moved it over the Choate Bridge to its present location in 1927. Today, the house’s frame of oak, chestnut, and tamarack is largely intact. Wall sheathing and clamshell ceiling plaster retain their first period charm. Seventeenth and 18th century furnishings and decorative arts by local and regional craftsmen fill the home.

Whipple house early
The Whipple House in the late 19th Century when it was still on Saltonstall St.

The oldest part of the house dates to 1677 when the military officer and entrepreneur Captain John Whipple constructed a town house on Saltonstall St. near the center of Ipswich. Prior to the 20th Century, oral history had attributed the house to John Fawne who moved to Haverhill before 1638, and to Richard Saltonstall, the town’s first miller. Dendrochronology tests conducted in 2002 dated the oldest timbers in the house to 1677.

John Whipple’s son Major John Whipple doubled the size of the house by adding a lean-to addition in 1725 for slaves. The house was modified during the 18th Century with Georgian “improvements.” The Whipple House has the original frame, large fireplaces, summer beams, wide board floors, and gun-stock posts. It was the home of Col. Joseph Hodgkins late in life after the Revolutionary War.

One of the earliest historic house museums in America, the Whipple House is a model in the early historic preservation movement thanks to the efforts of Rev. Thomas Franklin Waters who saved the house during the Colonial Revival period. Tours of the Whipple House are available by inquiring at the Ipswich Museum. Read more about the Whipple House at the Historic Ipswich site.

3 thoughts on “The Whipple House, Ipswich South Green (1677)”

  1. The Whipple House and Ipswich are synonymous in my mind…and the fact that it houses the only surviving edges of black silk Ipswich Lace makes the Whipple House doubly special!

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