One hundred years ago, Lakemans Lane was a narrow dirt road lined by stone walls. You can still see the imprint of the pastures and fields that once marked the original properties.
Up for a walk tonight? How about joining me on a late-night beat shift in the early 1980’s? When you’re from a place and stay put, you pay attention to things. It’s the stuff of life that let’s you know where you belong.
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 ancient way, now called not inaptly Paradise Road, winds through long stretches of woodland, where ferns and brakes grow luxuriantly, and every kind of wild flower finds congenial haunt in open glades or shaded nooks.”
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 Brook running through it.
Lords Square is not a square at all, and no one knows if it’s Lords Square or Lord Square. The bewildering commercial intersection abuts the Old North Burying Ground and the largest collection of First Period houses in America.
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.
An article about three first period houses that are no longer standing, by Paul McGinley.
In 1639, the Colony ordered that a road be laid out from Boston to Portsmouth, to be constructed by each town along the way. The Bay Road made Ipswich an important stagecoach stop. Several milestones to indicate distances are still standing.
Ipswich established its first poorhouse in 1717, and until then the poor and incapacitated were simply let out to the lowest bidder. In 1817 the town voted to build a town poor farm on what is now Town Farm Road.
Photos of Little Neck in Ipswich from the 19th through the 21st Century.
Photos from 20th Century Ipswich parades
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.
An Ancient Neighborhood in Ipswich, Massachusetts, written by Thomas Franklin Waters, with genealogies of John Brown, William Fellows, and Robert Kinsman)
In1968, Mass DPW proposed an additional beltway around Boston that would have cut through the Ipswich River Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farms, the Pingree Reservation and Manchester-Essex Woods. Plans were eventually abandoned because of resistance from communities that would have been affected.
Many Ipswich Streets lost their original names, but a few streets gained them back. During our long winters, Ipswichites retreat to Facebook and debate the names of familiar places. If you call us Ipswichians, we’ll know you’re not from around here.
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 […]
It’s been 14 years now since the 2006 Mother’s Day storm rammed the Ipswich River into the Mill Road Bridge,almost collapsing one of its three brick arches and closing the bridge for three years. Fences were erected at either end, effectively making the bridge feel like a demilitarized […]
Photos of Market St. from the present day back to the early days of photography.
The Ipswich Public Safety Facility Committee has reached an agreement with the Boston Catholic diocese to purchase four to five acres of church-owned land at the intersection of Pine Swamp and Linebrook roads that was originally a hay field across from the old Eben Lord farm.
High Street originally continued straight 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 through Ipswich.
Several years ago I rode 3500 across America without incident, but in Ipswich I fear for my life. This cyclist had to dodge multiple potholes on Topsfield Rd. while a car passed him
The town voted in 1861 to build County Street and its stone arch bridge, connecting Cross and Mill Streets. A Woolen mill, saw mill, blacksmith shop and veneer mill operated near the bridge.
Newcomers and visitors to Ipswich inevitably suggest installing a traffic light at the confusing intersection of Market, Central, North Main and South Main Streets, but most people agree it would be a bad idea.
In March 1692 the Selectmen laid out 23 small lots with the condition that the owners not encumber the highway, provide drainage to the river and paving for foot travelers, and “keep horses from spoiling the same.”
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).
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.
Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, several businesses on Central Street went up in flames. Three months later the other end of Market St. burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.
The triple stone arch Warner Bridge that connects Mill Rd. in Ipswich to Highland St. in Hamilton was constructed in 1829, and rebuilt in 1856. The isinglass mill sat on the downstream Ipswich side of the bridge.
This Ipswich neighborhood has historically had a close social connection with neighboring Rowley. Jewett’s mill was created in the 17th Century, and historic houses still line the street.
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.
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 […]
Bridge over the Parker River in Newbury, on today’s Rt. 1A, 1898.
Featured image: Engraving of Market Square in Ipswich from John Warner Barber’s Historical collections: being a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. relating to the history and antiquities of every town in Massachusetts,” published in 1839
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 […]
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 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 […]
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.
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 — […]
Summer Street may be the oldest public way in Ipswich, and in the earliest days of the settlement was called Stony Street, Annable’s Lane, or simply “The Way to the River. “