327 High Street, Ipswich MA

327 High Street, the Annie Donovan house (1873, reconstructed in 1914)

This site was purchased by Captain Moses Jewett in the third quarter of the 18th century when he extended his holdings north to the Rowley line. Eliza Jewett and Mark F. Cate became owners in 1826 and in 1845 Cate sold a one-half acre lot to his son, Aaron T. Cate, who was a cordwainer. John Donovan occupied the property in 1873 and built a house which was destroyed by fire in January, 1914. Annie Donovan seems to have built a new house immediately thereafter, retaining the form and appearance of the one-and-one-half story 19th Century cottage.

From the January 16, 1914 Ipswich Chronicle:

“The house on the Rowley Road owned by Annie Donovan and occupied by Turner Pierce and family was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night at about 11:45. The family had retired for the night and were awakened by the crackling of the flames. Mr. Pierce succeeded in getting his family and some of his belongings out of the house and telephoned to the Central Fire Station. The assembly call was sounded and Hose 2 auto chemical, Hose 1, Hook and Ladder 1 and the Steamer responded. When the department arrived the house was in flames and a number of the firemen endeavored to save some of the furniture in the building. The only hydrant in the vicinity was frozen up but after a few minutes it was opened up and the steamer started pumping.

The Ipswich “Masconomet” steamer was purchased in 1894 after the Central Street fire, and had a capacity of 350 gallons per minute.

“With the steamer stream the firemen made quick work of the flames. Owing to the fact that the fire started in the lee of the house the flames had to work against the wind, thus making it possible for the firemen to save the other end of the house.

“As the temperature was about 10 degrees below zero the firemen fought the flames under difficulty, the water from the building freezing almost as soon as it touched the ground. A number of firemen froze their fingers, and Fred Rust and Chester Patch of Steamer 1 froze their feet. Good work was done by the Hose Company .”


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