Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island, and is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and is the site of the Choate family homestead, the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage, and the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Crane. There are great views from the island summit of the Castle Neck dunes and Plum Island Mount Agamenticus in Maine.
The Ipswich Historical Commission acts to preserve the history and historical assets of the Town of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
In the mid-18th Century, Ipswich women started making lace with distinctive patterns. After the first stocking machine was smuggled from England to Ipswich in 1822, immigrants arrived in Ipswich to work in the cotton and hosiery mills, contributing to the town’s diverse cultural heritage.
In March 1692 the Selectmen laid out twenty-three small lots and granted them “to as many individuals with the conditions that they not encumber the highway, make provision for drainage under the buildings, that each person provide paving four-foot wide all along before ye said buildings for the convenience of foot travelers, and erect posts to keep horses from spoiling the same.”
Dr. John Calef represented Ipswich in the Massachusetts Assembly and was one of only 17 members who voted to retract the Circular Letter opposing the Townshend Acts. An engraving by Paul Revere portrays Calef being pushed into Hell.
Marblehead’s Elbridge Gerry served as governor of Massachusetts and vice-president of the United States, but his historic legacy will forever be tied to a political monster dubbed the “Gerrymander.”
In 1803, a group of Newburyport investors incorporated as the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation in a commercial venture to build a straight toll road from Boston to Newburyport (the highway we call Rt. 1).
Click on the image. Do you recognize some of the names and faces? Photos and names are shown left to right, rows starting from the top. (Plus Ipswich Tiger yearbooks 1919 – 2015)
Twenty years after building the County Street Bridge, construction began for the Green Street Bridge. The original structure was made of wood but was later replaced by an arched bridge of stone on May 14, 1894. This was the fifth bridge built on the Ipswich River in the Town of Ipswich.
Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922) was one of the town’s most famous residents. During summer, Dow and his wife ran the Summer School of Art from the historic “Howard house” on Turkey Shore Road. The Ipswich Museum owns the largest collection of works by Arthur Wesley Dow.
The Ipswich Female Seminary was established in April 1828 by Zilpah Grant and 24-year-old Mary Lyon for the secondary and college-level education of young women. It was the first endowed seminary for women and the first to give diplomas to its graduates.
Photos from Ipswich 17th Century Day, Olde Ipswich Days, the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Ipswich, and the Town’s Tercentenary Celebration in 1930.
In a northeasterly storm in December, 1786 Samuel Pulsifer and Samuel Elwell of Rowley were digging clams, got caught in the storm, and took refuge in a stack of salt hay for the night. In the morning they found they had been set afloat!
In December 1787, a group of Revolutionary War veterans and adventurers set out from Ipswich on an 800-mile journey through the wilderness by horseback and rafts to establish the first settlement in the Ohio Territory.
“In Ipswich town, not far from the sea, rises a hill which the people call Heartbreak Hill, and its history is an old, old legend known to all.”
On January 15, 1919, people in Boston’s North End were startled by a loud rumbling noise. They watched in horror as a five-story tank broke apart, unleashing a wave of molasses 15 feet high and 160 feet wide.
The Old North Burying Ground on High Street in Ipswich was established in 1634 upon the founding of the town, and is one of the oldest cemeteries in North America.
Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, the businesses on Central Street from the corner of Market St to Wildes Court went up in fire. Three months later the Damon Block burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.
On January 12, 1912, the labor protest later known as the “Bread and Roses” strike began in Lawrence, MA. Violent methods were used to suppress the protest, but the strikers maintained their solidarity.
The collapse of the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence is the worst industrial accident in Massachusetts history. On Tuesday afternoon January 10, 1860, hundreds of men, women, and children were buried alive in the ruins.
Within three years of the arrival of the Winthrop fleet to New England, so many immigrants had arrived in Massachusetts Bay that Boston Neck could not hold them all. Perceiving a threat from the French, thirteen men arrived in 1633 to establish the town that would be named Ipswich a year later.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the Town of Ipswich set itself resolutely to the task of guarding against undesirable prospective citizens. The practice of “warning out” strangers was finally abolished in 1793.
Dec. 23, 1839 two days before Christmas a storm caught the schooner “Deposit” on her passage out of Belfast, Maine. Capt. Cotterall was lost, and several of the crew were buried at the Old South Cemetery.
The stagecoach era ended abruptly when the Salem tunnel opened, and two days later on December 20, 1839, a train from Boston made its first passage through Ipswich. The opening of the railroad and the end of stagecoach travel led to the decline of Ipswich as one of the most important towns of Massachusetts.
On December 17, 1847 the brig Falconer, loaded with bituminous coal, wrecked at Crane Beach during a fierce winter storm. A dozen of the crew and passengers are buried in a common grave at the Old North Burying Ground.
Historic photos of the Ipswich River from original glass negatives taken by early Ipswich photographers Arthur Wesley Dow, George Dexter and Edward L. Darling.
The concepts of freedom about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence originated from the pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich: “The first human subject and original of civil power is the people…and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please.”
Isadore Smith (1902-1985) lived on Argilla Road in Ipswich and was the author of 3 volumes about 17th-19th Century gardens, writing under the pseudonym Ann Leighton. As a member of the Ipswich Garden Club, she created a traditional seventeenth century rose garden at the Whipple House.
At the Select Board Meeting on Monday evening, the Ipswich Historical Commission presented the 2018 Mary Conley Award to Peter Bubriski and Richard Spalding, owners of the 1717 Foster-Grant house at 39 Summer Street.
At the Selectpersons Meeting on Monday evening, the Ipswich Historical Commission presented the 2017 Mary Conley Award to Paul and Cathleen McGinley for preservation of the Philip Call House, and a lifetime of service to the Town of Ipswich.
The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.
Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634 in an area the Native Americans called “Agawam,” and is America’s best-preserved Puritan town.
Throughout the Revolutionary War, Joseph Hodgkins sent letters home from the battlefronts to his wife, Sarah Perkins Hodgkins, detailing the desperate troop conditions and longing for home. The letters were preserved and can be read online.
On August 23, 1687, the citizens of Ipswich, led by the Reverend John Wise, denounced the levy of taxes by the arbitrary government of Sir Edmund Andros, and from their protest sprang the American Revolution of 1689.
In 1765, Jenny Slew, a slave in Ipswich, successfully sued John Whipple Jr. for her freedom. In the mid-19th Century, the lines between ardent abolitionists, moderate anti-slavery people and those who avoided the discussion divided families, churches and the town of Ipswich.
I love to think of old Ipswich town
Old Ipswich town in the east countree,
Whence on the tide, you can float down
Through long salt grass to the wailing sea.
Where the Mayflower drifted off the bar,
Sea-worn and weary, long years ago,
And dared not enter, but sailed away
Till she landed her boats in Plymouth Bay.
The Town of Ipswich established the state’s first Conservation Commission in 1958. Commissions were given responsibility to administer the Wetlands Protection Act, and by the mid-1980s, every city and town in the Commonwealth had established a conservation commission.
An epidemic of “throat distemper,” believed to be diptheria, raged in New England between 1735 and 1740. Some Ipswich households were left without a single child surviving.
The Great White Hurricane of 1888 struck on the night of March 11 and continued furiously for two days, dumping 60 inches of snow on parts of the Northeast.
“This is Ipswich…one of those steady conservative villages of which a few are still left in New England. There is not a better preserved or pleasanter specimen of a Puritan town.”
In 17th Century Ipswich, cows would be put to pasture on the Neck in the spring, and every October they would be rounded up and herded into a pen. Many of the town’s laws regarding land use, property rights, labor and sanitation grew from issues surrounding the keeping of livestock.