Lakemans Lane and Fellows Road

by Charlotte Lindgren One hundred years ago, Lakemans Lane was a narrow dirt road lined by stone walls. About a mile beyond Parting Paths, then called Whittier's Corner (for the now demolished homestead of the large Whittier family), the lane connected County and Essex Roads. It was bisected by Fellows Road which led to Candlewood. … Continue reading Lakemans Lane and Fellows Road

Early photo of Mount Pleasant, Ipswich MA

Maple Ave.

Maple Street first appears in the 1884 Ipswich map, without houses. A white arrow in the photo above points to the house still standing at 6 Maple Street, with a horse in front. The photo was taken from Town Hill by Edward Darling, around 1890. In the foreground are houses still standing on High Street. On the … Continue reading Maple Ave.

Old Roads and Bridges of Newbury and Newburyport

Text by James B. Stone, from Images from the Past, published by the Newbury 350th anniversary Committee. Featured image: Bridge over the Parker River in Newbury, on today's Rt. 1A, 1898. When the first settlers arrived in Newbury in May of 1635, there were only Indian trails which wound through the forests. Besides food and shelter, an … Continue reading Old Roads and Bridges of Newbury and Newburyport

Ipswich woodcut,1838 attributed to S. E. Brown.

Market Square

Featured image: Ipswich woodcut attributed to S. E. Brown, 1838, or John Warner Barber, 1839

Market Street

Photos of Market St. from the present day back to the early days of photography. A few of the buildings are still standing.

County Street

County Street is in the Ipswich Architectural Preservation District and has some of the oldest houses in town. The section between East and Summer Streets was originally called Cross St, and the section between the County Street bridge and Poplar Street was known as Mill St. The roads were connected when the County Street Bridge was … Continue reading County Street

Linebrook Parish

This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.

Gravel Street Ipswich

Washington and Liberty Streets

Gravel Street and the gravel pits are shown in the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich. One of the older established ways in town, Washington Street may have started as a footpath for Native Americans long before John Winthrop and the first settlers arrived. Today's Washington Street was called once called Bridge Street, and for two decades was known as Gravel … Continue reading Washington and Liberty Streets

Argilla Road by Arthur Wesley Dow

Argilla Road

The South Green was long known as School House Green. From there, historic Argilla Road crosses pastures and deep woods, then opens up to a scenic vista of the Great Salt Marsh and the ocean on its way from South Green to Crane Beach.

East Street

The abrupt change in the name of High Street to East Street at the intersection with North Street is odd unless one knows a bit of history. When Ipswich was laid out in the 1600's, town center was Meetinghouse Green.  A road headed south and crossed the river -- it was named South Main Street.  It … Continue reading East Street

Lower Summer Street, Ipswich Ma

Summer Street

Summer Street may be the oldest public way in Ipswich, and in the earliest days of the settlement was called Stony Street, or simply "The Way to the River. " Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that for two centuries it was Annable's Lane, named after settler John Annable. In the Colonial years, streets tended to be named for topographical … Continue reading Summer Street

Roads to Paradise

Paradise Road follows a shallow peninsula bordered by Muddy Brook and the Egypt River. In 1807, the ancient path was laid out by the Town as a road from Pingrey’s Plain near the Clam Box, which served as the hanging grounds, to the Muddy River Bridge and the Egypt River. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote: “The early farm of Mr. Charles Day … Continue reading Roads to Paradise

The Ipswich Town Farm, 1817-1928

Ipswich established its first poorhouse in 1717, and until then the poor and incapacitated were simply let out to the lowest bidder. There was a growing movement in Massachusetts during the early 19th century for establishing rural working town farms for the poor. Caring for the poor in Ipswich became such an issue that the affluent remote … Continue reading The Ipswich Town Farm, 1817-1928

Jewett Hill, Ipswich Village map

Ipswich Village (Upper High St.)

Featured image: "Ipswich Village" in the 1832 Philander map of the town of Ipswich. The following narrative includes excerpts from Ipswich Village and the Old Rowley Road. by Thomas Franklin Waters in 1915. "At the very beginning of the Town, High Street was the road to Newbury or 'the pathway leading toward the River of Merrimac.' No … Continue reading Ipswich Village (Upper High St.)

Let’s Go Walking……. After Midnight……

A story by Gavin "Noir" Keenan: Up for a walk tonight? How about joining me on a late-night beat shift in the early 1980’s? The downtown was still thriving then; a square filled with businesses, bars and people on every corner at all hours of day and night. Beat cops were kept busy, especially on … Continue reading Let’s Go Walking……. After Midnight……

Burke Heel Factory, Brown's Square, Ipswich

Hammatt Street and Brown Square

Until the second half of the 19th Century, much of the area bounded by Central Street, Washington Street, Mineral Street and Market Street was a wetland with an open sewer known as Farley's Brook running through it. Brown Square developed as an industrial area beginning around 1885. The railroad came to Ipswich in 1839, changing the town forever. Stagecoaches … Continue reading Hammatt Street and Brown Square

Candlewood Rd., Ipswich Ma

Candlewood Road

"Why and when the name was given is largely a matter of conjecture. Pastor Higginson of Salem wrote to friends in England of the primitive way in which the earliest settlers often lighted their houses by burning thin strips of the pitch pine trees. The suggestion is natural that this fine farming country was originally … Continue reading Candlewood Road

The ancient names of Ipswich streets and roads

During the 19th Century, there was a movement to change the ancient names of American streets to something more dignified. Many Ipswich Streets lost their original names, but Turkey Shore and Labor in Vain gained them back.

South Main Street

In March 1692 several Ipswich persons petitioned “to have liberty granted them to build shops upon ye bank by ye river side,” at what is now South Main Street. The Selectmen laid out this stretch of land in twenty-three small lots and granted them "to as many individuals with the conditions that they not encumber … Continue reading South Main Street

Lords Square

Lord's Square was known as Brewer's Corner in early Ipswich. John Brewer was a town clerk and being on what was then the outskirts of town owned a large lot, which he divided into sections and sold. Brewer's First Period home at 82 High Street was built in 1700 and still stands just north of … Continue reading Lords Square

Great Neck

Before the settlement of Ipswich was begun in 1633 by John Winthrop, William Jeffrey, who had come over in 1623, had purchased from the Indians a title to the glacial drumlin which bears his name. By 1639 the whole tract was set apart as a common pasture by the new town, and in 1666 the General Court gave Jeffrey five hundred acres of land elsewhere. After the early eighteenth century, the Necks remained as the only common lands retained by the Commoners.

Little Neck

Featured image: "Wolf Moon" over Little Neck, January 1, 2018. Photo by Susan Turner Po In 1639, two wealthy brothers William and Robert Paine (aka Payne) procured a grant of land in the town of Ipswich from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In about 1649 Robert offered to “erect an edifice for the purpose of a … Continue reading Little Neck

The trolley comes to Ipswich, June 26, 1896

In 1896, the first trolley from Beverly arrived in Ipswich, and a year later, the Georgetown, Rowley and Ipswich Street Railway opened. By 1919, Mr. Ford's Model T ended the brief era of the street railway.

The Choate Bridge–what a bargain!

On May 16, 2015, the Choate Bridge was closed to traffic briefly so that the people of Ipswich could partake in a ceremony sponsored by the Ipswich Historical Commission and the American Society of Civil Engineers to the Choate bridge for its 250 years of service. The first settlers of Ipswich forded the river near the present-day dam, … Continue reading The Choate Bridge–what a bargain!

Depot Square

The Eastern Railroad ran from Boston to Portland, continuing to Canada and was the primary competition of the Boston and Maine Railroad until it was acquired by the B&M in the late 1880's to become the B&M's Eastern Division. The Ipswich Depot sat at the location of the Institution for Savings at Depot Square.

Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894

Three Business Blocks and Three Dwellings Destroyed in Ipswich January 14, 1894,© The New York Times. Flames were discovered soon after 1 o'clock this morning in the photograph rooms of George Dexter, in the upper portion of the Jewett Block, on Central Street. The wind was blowing a gale, and the temperature registered nearly at … Continue reading Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894

Three old houses that stood on High Street at Manning and Mineral

The Caleb Lord House, corner of High and Manning Featured image: The house on the left in this old photo is the Caleb Lord House, on the corner of Manning and High Streets. Notice the very steep slope of the roof which hangs over the second story windows, and the massive center chimney. While High street was … Continue reading Three old houses that stood on High Street at Manning and Mineral

Gettin’ away on the ‘Pike

In the first half century of the automotive age, a weekend trip to the country for Boston folks often meant driving a few miles north on the Newburyport Turnpike and renting a cabin not too far from the shore. The Douglass Evergreen Village, above, was on Rt. 1 between Linebrook Road and Rt. 133

The Middle Circumferential Highway (that never happened)

In its 1968 comprehensive report "Recommended Highway and Transit Plan" the Massachusetts Department of Public Works (MassDPW) proposed a new beltway around the Boston area that would be situated between MA 128 and I-495. The Middle Circumferential Highway would have been a 66-mile loop six-lane expressway cutting through the Ipswich River Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farms, … Continue reading The Middle Circumferential Highway (that never happened)

Parting paths stone marker Rt. 133 and 1A Ipswich Ma

Parting Paths

The intersection of Rt. 133 and  Rt. 1A is where Essex Road branches off from Bay Road/County Road and was for many years known as"Parting Paths."

County Street, Sawmill Point, and bare hills

Green Street was once called Green Lane and was anciently known as Bridge Lane. There was apparently a foot bridge that crossed the river, where the Island in the middle of the span on which the present bridge stands. County Street, or Cross Street, as it was called, originally terminated at Green Street, and all travel … Continue reading County Street, Sawmill Point, and bare hills


Photos from 20th Century Ipswich parades

Mill Road Linear Park RIP

It's been a few years now since the 2006 Mother’s Day storm knocked the Mill Road Bridge a bit askew, closing it for three years. Two fences were erected effectively making the bridge feel like a demilitarized zone between Hamilton and Ipswich Massachusetts. And thus did the Mill Road Linear Park begin its brief three-year … Continue reading Mill Road Linear Park RIP

Along the Old Bay Road

In November 1639, the General Court in Boston ordered that the first official road be laid out from Boston to Portsmouth. Bay Road was to be constructed by each town along the way and milestones carved in stone were installed to indicate distances. Some (but not all) of the road is also known now as Historic … Continue reading Along the Old Bay Road

The corner of Linebrook and Pineswamp Roads, before and after

Wilbur Fiske Ellsworth was born in Ipswich March 30, 1843, and served for many years with the Ipswich fire department. He was the fourth son of Benjamin N. Ellsworth, the esteemed Ipswich lightkeeper, and was the brother of Civil War hero Thomas Ellsworth. Wilbur Fiske and several other people in Ipswich succumbed to an epidemic of pneumonia … Continue reading The corner of Linebrook and Pineswamp Roads, before and after

The Green Street Bridge

The Green Street bridge in Ipswich was built in 1894 by Joseph Ross of Ipswich and designed by Charles A. Putnam of Salem. Robert Cronin, who recently shared  his collection of photos by 19th /early 20th Century photographer George Dexter, wrote the following: "Among the lost prints was an explanation of how the large vessels were … Continue reading The Green Street Bridge

Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town”

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 intent was to bypass Salem and promote Newburyport as a commercial destination. Proponents claimed it would cut travel time by a … Continue reading Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town”

Crossing the tracks on High Street

High Street originally continued straight at the John Kimball Jr. house (the one with the blue tree house) until the first bridge over the railroad tracks was constructed in 1906. From 1900 when the first trolleys came to town until the bridge was built, passengers had to unload here to switch from the trolley from Newburyport to … Continue reading Crossing the tracks on High Street

The Keeping of Cattle on Jeffreys Neck

Featured image: cows walking on Jeffreys Neck Road, photo by George Dexter, early 20th Century. The consensus of several people who have studied this photo is that Wendel Farm/Strawberry Hill is on the horizon on the right, with Island Park off to the left of the photo. Cows would be put to pasture on the Neck in … Continue reading The Keeping of Cattle on Jeffreys Neck

The Mill Road Bridge and the Isinglass Factory

Library of Congress records state that the triple stone arch Warner Bridge that connects Mill Rd. in Ipswich to Highland St. in Hamilton was built in 1856, designed by architect Henry Hubbard. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that it was first constructed in 1829, and Ipswich town history records that it was "rebuilt" in 1856. In 1931, the roadway was raised; stone parapets … Continue reading The Mill Road Bridge and the Isinglass Factory