Central St. was laid out in 1870, at the time the Mansard style was in full bloom in Ipswich. Property owners quickly adopted this popular style and soon Mansard roofs lined the street.
The W.L. Johnson house is the most ambitious Mansard on Central St., and preserves the richest decorative detailing. Paired brackets, narrow windows, channelled corner boards, and an original front door are a few of the fine features. Lozenge fretwork, rare in Ipswich, trims the fascia board and bay windows. A matching carriage house also survives.