In the late eighteenth century, Ipswich had 600 women and girls producing more than 40,000 yards of lace annually. In the 1820’s Ipswich industrialists opened a factory and imported machines from England to mechanize and speed up the operation, which destroyed the hand-made lace industry.
At the foot of Hovey Street along the Ipswich River is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Ipswich settler Daniel Hovey, whose home and wharf were across the river on what is now Tansey Lane.
In 1737, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell opened an inn in the house still standing at 12 N. Main St. Nathaniel Treadwell of the next generation built the second Treadwell’s Inn at 26 N. Main St. For over one hundred years it was the town’s first-class hotel. Guests at the two inns included John Adams, President Monroe, Daniel Webster and the Marquis de LaFayette.
Before a nationwide television audience, Joseph Welch of Waltham replied to Joseph McCarthy, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”
Massachusetts men played a conspicuous part in the French and Indian War, which resulted in wholesale destruction and deportation in French-speaking Nova Scotia. Surviviors were exiled to the Colonies, their children taken from them and distributed to English families as “nothing more than slaves.”
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.
Dr. John Calef of Ipswich in the Massachusetts Assembly and was one of only 17 members who voted to retract the Circular Letter opposing the Townshend Acts. The town replaced him with Gen. Michael Farley. 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).
The South Congregational church burned on December 10, 1977. The lot is now a small park with two benches and the bell which survived the fire, surrounded by the old foundation.
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.
Although half-billion year old granite formed Town Hill in Ipswich, most of the town’s landforms date to about 20,000 years ago.
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.
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.
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. In the cold and wet, fifty-three men, women, and children were confined as in a tomb. 36 were rescued, but a dozen of the crew and passengers are buried in a common grave at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich.
Historic photos of the Ipswich River from original glass negatives taken by early Ipswich photographers Arthur Wesley Dow, George Dexter and Edward L. Darling.