21 Spring Street, Ipswich MA

21 Spring Street, the G. F. Swain summer estate (b 1910)

The 1910 Ipswich map shows the house at 21 Spring Street in Ipswich as the summer home of MIT/Harvard professor George Fillmore Swain (1857-1931). The Ipswich Historical Commission database shows the date of construction as 1893-1910. The 1893 Ipswich Birdseye map shows a house that might be the wood frame section (assumed to be older).

In 1894-1895, the house at 435 Marlborough in Boston was the home of George Fillmore Swain and his wife, Katharine Kendrick (Wheeler) Swain. Katharine Swain died in December of 1901. George Swain married again, in January of 1904, to Mary Hayden Lord, the daughter of William Safford Lord of Salem.

This house was their summer home. Swain was a civil engineer, and later a professor at MIT and Harvard University. According to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, he was involved with the Olmsted Brothers landscape architectual firm in Boston from 1917-25. Mary Swain died in April of 1914. George F. Swain transferred the property by deed to Bertha B. Smith in 1916 (Salem Deeds).

The 1940 census shows Benjamin Perley Poore Moseley, 58 years old living on Spring Street with his wife, Elizabeth Whitwell Thomas Moseley, 4 sons, and daughter, and several servants. The 1967 Salem Deeds shows the owner of this house as Elizabeth Moseley. The present owner is the Ipswich Greek Orthodox priest.

"Fairy ring" of trees on Spring Street in Ipswich
A unique circle of trees on the property, sometimes referred to by local people as a “witches circle” appears to be a carefully manicured ring of redwoods, a lignotuberous tree that spread out in circles from the basal burls of a former parent tree. Redwoods can be planted in coastal Massachusetts, but they grow slower and to a much lower height. The Swains and Moseleys were both members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.