25 Market St., Ipswich MA

25 Market Street, the Nathaniel R. Farley Shoe Factory (1830-56)

25 Market Street in the location formerly occupied by the Office Store, and is one of the oldest commercial buildings still standing on Market Street. It was apparently built in two phases, the first section in 1832, and finished as it stands today in 1856.


In the 19th Century, Market Street changed from being a residential section of the road to Topsfield to becoming the town’s business center. Until the 20th Century, shoe-making was a local industry. The Massachusetts Historical Commission site MACRIS identifies this building as the Nathaniel R. Farley shoe factory, c 1840.

Market St. in 1900
In this 1870 photo, 25 Market Street is the darker building on the right side of the street.

Nathaniel Rogers Farley, the son of Nathaniel Rogers and Sarah Pearson Farley was born in Ipswich in 1814 and died in 1897. Like his father and others of his ancestors he was prominent in town affairs, served as selectman more than twenty years and also represented the town in the general court. His wife was Emeline Caldwell. According to Thomas Franklin Waters’ book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Nathaniel R. Farley also operated the Farley tannery and a bark mill, which were located where the Giles Firmin park is now on County Road.

25 Market Street was operated as a shoe store with Sperling Tailor sharing the building, shown on the left in this postcard depicting Market Street in the early 20th Century.
Market St. early photo of a parade

This building became the John A. Johnson shoe store, and a tailor named Sperling operated out of the building at the same time. The awning in a photo from the turn of the 20th Century appears to identify it as Spiller’s, selling shoes and clothing. In the second half of the 20th Century the building housed Goodhue’s Hardware Store, the Luster family operated a butcher shop, Steve Soffron operated a candy store, and most recently it was the Office Store which closed in the summer of 2014.

The building at 25 Market Street was Goodhue’s Hardware store in this postcard from 1959. The sign on the front advertises Benjamin Moore paint.
Market Street and Central Street 1894 fire
25 Market Street, Ipswich

View a photographic history of Market Street

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