Featured pages and posts - Featured articles and stories at the Ipswich Historical Commission site
Architectural Preservation District - The  2014 Fall Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 established an Architectural Preservation District (APD) for the most historic areas of the town. Architectural Preservation District Bylaw Architectural Preservation District Map The bylaw was adopted at Town Meeting under the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution and will be administered by an Architectural Preservation District … Continue reading Architectural Preservation District
Ipswich woodcut,1838 attributed to S. E. Brown. Ipswich Historical Commission - The Ipswich Historical Commission  acts to preserve, protect, and develop the historical and archaeological assets of the Town. The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Town Manager with the approval of the Selectmen for staggered three-year terms.  Powers and responsibilities are prescribed in the town Administrative Manual and in accordance with Section 8D of Chapter 40 … Continue reading Ipswich Historical Commission
Ipswich burying grounds - Descriptions and interment listings for 10 Ipswich cemeteries Old North Burying Ground Index by map location Alphabetical index of graves Section maps Memento Mori: 1935 alphabetical index with inscriptions Read at the Essex Antiquarian Last names A-K, Last names K-Y. Findagrave site Complete guide to the Old North Burying Ground (PDF/Print) Download Bruce Laing’s database … Continue reading Ipswich burying grounds
Trolley at Joppa Flats Stories and legends from Ipswich and the North Shore - Massachusetts’s North Shore is filled with remarkable stories and legends. In addition to Ipswich, many of the stories on this site are about other Massachusetts North Shore communities. View by town:  Amesbury Andover Beverly Boston Danvers Essex Gloucester Hamilton Ipswich Lawrence Lowell Marblehead Newbury Newburyport Peabody Plum Island Rockport Rowley Salem Topsfield Wenham Amesbury Andover Beverly … Continue reading Stories and legends from Ipswich and the North Shore
Summer Street by Arthur Wesley Dow Walking tour of historic Ipswich - Location: The tour starts across the river from the Ipswich Visitors Center at the Ipswich Riverwalk Mural behind the EBSCO buildings and Zumi’s. View at Google Maps.
Ipswich Cornet band, Ipswich MA historic photos 1889 Photos from Ipswich - Many of these photos were digitally developed from original glass negatives taken by three early Ipswich photographers, Arthur Wesley Dow, George Dexter, and Edward L. Darling.
Ipswich Massachusetts: Birthplace of American Independence - The legendary and heroic opposition by the people and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.” This act of resistance has been called ‘the foundation of American Democracy,’ and was the beginning of a … Continue reading Ipswich Massachusetts: Birthplace of American Independence
Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich MA The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich - In September 1898, The Ipswich Chronicle began publishing the Ancient Records of Ipswich as a column. The collection was later published as Vol. 1. Volume 1: 1634-1660 (view online) Town Records online: 1600 – 1916 These online documents are available on the Town of Ipswich site. Birth, Deaths, Marriage, Intentions 1663-1733 Births, Deaths, Marriage, Intentions 1663-1783 Birth, … Continue reading The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich
John Balch house, Beverly MA First Period houses of Essex County - Featured image: John Balch House, Beverly MA The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 By Abbott Lowell Cummings, 1979 Abbott Lowell Cummings was Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (aka Historic New England) and a member of the faculty at Antioch College, Boston University, and Yale University. This richly … Continue reading First Period houses of Essex County
Ipswich Open Space map Ipswich Open Space - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land, through the Open Space Program, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development.
Early Inhabitants of Ipswich - Featured image: The Pilgrim Fathers: Departure of a Puritan family for New England 1856 by Charles COPE Sources: Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Abraham Hammatt. Vital Records to 1850 Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol. I, Appendix A: A summary of the Names of the first settlers from 1633 to 1649 with the year when … Continue reading Early Inhabitants of Ipswich
Ipswich burying grounds - Descriptions and interment listings for 10 Ipswich cemeteries Old North Burying Ground Index by map location Alphabetical index of graves Section maps Memento Mori: 1935 alphabetical index with inscriptions Read at the Essex Antiquarian Last names A-K, Last names K-Y. Findagrave site Complete guide to the Old North Burying Ground (PDF/Print) Download Bruce Laing’s database … Continue reading Ipswich burying grounds
Ipswich Old South Cemetery - The Old South Cemetery was used from 1756 till 1939. It sits between the South Green and the Ipswich River and is an easy walk from downtown. A walking trail extends down the slope to the River and continues downstream to Sally’s Pond near the Whipple House. It has approximately 1000 interments, and is a beautiful area … Continue reading Ipswich Old South Cemetery
Historic maps of Ipswich - Maps of historic Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1634 – 1910 1641 maps of 1641 land grants, from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Diagram No. 1 Diagram No. 2 Diagram No. 3 Diagram No. 4 1717 Ipswich village maps Map 1 Map 1 v. 2 Map 1 inscription Map 2 1795 Ipswich town map 1795 Plan of Ipswich … Continue reading Historic maps of Ipswich
Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society - The Ipswich Historical Society was founded in 1896 by the Reverend Thomas Franklin Waters, the author of a two-volume history of Ipswich, Volume I published in 1905 and volume II in 1917. Because they contain a history of virtually every significant house in the town, these two volumes can be considered the base from which … Continue reading Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society
Ipswich Open Space map Ipswich outdoors - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land as Open Space, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. The town’s investment adds to other preserved land surrounding the town, including Willowdale State Forest, Appleton Farms, Crane Beach and other Trustees of Reservations properties. In the … Continue reading Ipswich outdoors
The East End Historic District - The Ipswich East End Historic District was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1980. View a complete description in the Nomination Report. The East End includes the seafaring portion of the original village of Ipswich and offers an architectural history of the town’s development. It was here that the first houses were built … Continue reading The East End Historic District
Ipswich Mills and Factories - From a paper by the Ipswich Historical Society At the very beginning of the settlement of our Town, a grist mill was an imperative necessity, and at the first Town meeting of which definite record remains in 1634, “It is concluded and consented unto that Mr. John Spencer and Mr. Nicholas Easton shall have liberty … Continue reading Ipswich Mills and Factories
View an interactive Google map of historic houses in Ipswich, Massachusetts Interactive map of historic houses in Ipswich Massachusetts - Click on any of the house icons on this map to read the story of the house and its owners. View Ipswich historic houses at Google Maps To embed this map on your site, click on the link symbol in the top right corner of the map.
High Street Historic District - The High Street Historical District in Ipswich was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. High Street was once the main residential and commercial street of the new community and several of the 17th, 18th and 19th Century houses still remaining once served as taverns, stores, or craftsman’s shops. High Street was … Continue reading High Street Historic District
South Green Historic District - The South Green Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The proposal was submitted by Margaret E. Welden for the Ipswich Historical Commission and is copied below. View also: Walking Tour of the South Green Historic District. The South Green dates from 1686, when the town voted that the area … Continue reading South Green Historic District
Meeting House Green Historic District - Featured image: Meeting House Green, 1839 The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that have been determined significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. Ipswich has a total of seven listed historic districts and 62 individual structures. Boston was only three years … Continue reading Meeting House Green Historic District
A town of immigrants - Featured image: Immigrant workers at the Ipswich Hosiery Mill, by Ipswich photographer George Dexter. The earliest evidence of habitation in Ipswich was discovered in the 1950’s at the Bull Brook Paleoindian site, where hundreds of stone instruments were recovered, made by early Native Americans who migrated here after the ice age glaciers receded. The Agawam Indians who greeted the first … Continue reading A town of immigrants
Ipswich Streets, Roads and Neighborhoods - The first roads in Ipswich followed ancient paths of the Native Americans who called this place “Agawam.” The English settlers built their homes in a half-mile radius of the Meeting House. In the year 1639, the General Court instructed that “all highways shall be laid out beforeth the next General Court. Every town shall choose two or three men who … Continue reading Ipswich Streets, Roads and Neighborhoods
Historic people - Alice Keenan wrote, “When we moved to Ipswich, this lovely old town, its long history, ancient houses and interesting people became almost an obsession. Dry names and dates mean little to me until one firms out the flesh of the past, for it’s those long-ago people without whom Ipswich and its history would be dull.”
Little Neck, Ipswich MA Little Neck, a photographic history - 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 grammar school, provided the town or any particular inhabitant of the town would devote, set … Continue reading Little Neck, a photographic history
Pillow Lace Sign, High St., Ipswich MA Pillow lace - The Pillow Lace plaque is located in front of 5 High Street in Ipswich. In the mid-18th Century a group of Ipswich women started making and selling lace with distinctive patterns. Small round lap pillows were used to pace the bobbins and needles as the lace grew around it. Ipswich lace quickly became very popular and … Continue reading Pillow lace
A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam - Until 350 years ago, the Ipswich River ran unencumbered from its origin 35 miles upstream, carving its way through a 148-square-mile watershed. Herring, shad, salmon and alewife swam upstream to spawn. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that, “Great shoals of alewives came up the river in the Spring and were seined at night by the light of torches … Continue reading A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam
The Ipswich Hosiery Industry - In the mid-18th Century a group of Ipswich women started making and selling lace with distinctive patterns. Small round lap pillows were used to pace the bobbins and needles as the lace grew around it. Ipswich lace quickly became very popular and played an important roll during the American Revolution. At the height of its … Continue reading The Ipswich Hosiery Industry
Ipswich Old North Burying Ground - The Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich, Massachusetts was established in 1634 upon the founding of the town of the town, and is one of the oldest cemeteries in North America. The Old North Burying Ground is located at the intersection of High Street and Rt 133/1A. View at Google maps. Index by map location Alphabetical index of graves … Continue reading Ipswich Old North Burying Ground
Ipswich Old South Cemetery - The Old South Cemetery was used from 1756 till 1939. It sits between the South Green and the Ipswich River and is an easy walk from downtown. A walking trail extends down the slope to the River and continues downstream to Sally’s Pond near the Whipple House. It has approximately 1000 interments, and is a beautiful area … Continue reading Ipswich Old South Cemetery
Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony - Featured image: my treasured copies of Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Part I Historical.  Part II Houses and Lands At the beginning of the 20th Century, Ipswich pastor Thomas Franklin Waters, founder of the Ipswich Historical Society,  wrote the two volume set Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They are the … Continue reading Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Photos, slideshows and postcards - David Stone’s Ipswich photos Appleton Farm Crane Beach Great Salt Marsh Ipswich Illuminated
Candlewood Rd., Ipswich Ma Candlewood and Fellows Road, the story of an Ancient Neighborhood - “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 and Fellows Road, the story of an Ancient Neighborhood
Lords Square, a photographic history - 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, a photographic history
Water Street historic photos - In the book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume I, Thomas Franklin Waters recorded the history of Water Street, which is part of an early public right-of-way that extended from the wharf to the Green Street Bridge, then cotinued along the Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk to County St. “Close by the river bank, on either side, a … Continue reading Water Street historic photos
A photographic and chronological history of the Ipswich Schools - Featured image: Manning School, and the first Winthrop School on the left. Photo by George Dexter, circa 1900. Excerpts from The History of the Ipswich Public Schools, an excellent article written in 2008 by William E. Waitt, Jr, who served as teacher and principal in the Ipswich Public Schools for 36 years; and A History of the Ipswich … Continue reading A photographic and chronological history of the Ipswich Schools
Ipswich Massachusetts: Birthplace of American Independence - The legendary and heroic opposition by the people and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.” This act of resistance has been called ‘the foundation of American Democracy,’ and was the beginning of a … Continue reading Ipswich Massachusetts: Birthplace of American Independence
Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials - In his book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about Ipswich involvement in the Salem witch trials: The evidence was of the usual absurd character; Sarah Good had been confined in Ipswich jail. Joseph Herrick, the Constable of Salem, testified that she had been committed to his charge to carry to … Continue reading Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials
The Old South Cemetery - The Old South Cemetery in Ipswich, MA was used from 1756 till 1939, with a few more recent burials. It sits at the southwestern end of the South Green, and has about 1000 interments. A walking trail extends down the slope to the River, continuing downstream to Sallys Pond near the Whipple House. Visit the Old South Cemetery and view … Continue reading The Old South Cemetery
1793 and 1818: the “Burden of the Poor” divides Ipswich into three towns - The increase in the size of ships and the consequent decline of the fishing industry in Ipswich during the latter half of the 18th Century deprived many families of their means of support and compelled an increasing number of the inhabitants to ask relief from the Town.  The town responded by ordering the Sheriff to serve … Continue reading 1793 and 1818: the “Burden of the Poor” divides Ipswich into three towns
Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the colony’s first published poet - Anne Dudley Bradstreet was born in 1612 in England. She married Simon Bradstreet at age sixteen. Her father was a steward to an Earl, and thus she was well tutored in language and literature. With her parents they arrived in American on June 14, 1630 in Salem aboard the “Arbella” with John Winthrop, but they moved … Continue reading Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the colony’s first published poet
Arthur Wesley Dow Arthur Wesley Dow - Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow was born on April 6, 1857 and grew up in the Matthew Perkins house on East Street. He was one of the town’s most famous residents and a founding member of the Ipswich Historical Society. The Ipswich Museum owns the largest single collection of works by Arthur Wesley Dow, including oil … Continue reading Arthur Wesley Dow
Bull Brook boys, Ipswich MA The Bull Brook Discovery - Native Americans began moving into New England after the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier, around 12,000 BC. Artifacts discovered at Great Neck and along the riverbanks have been identified as belonging to the later Archaic period (8000-5000 years ago) and the Woodland period (2000 years ago). Evidence of a 3000-year old village was discovered along … Continue reading The Bull Brook Discovery
The defiant Samuel Appleton - The Ipswich Post Office Mural portrays Reverend John Wise and Major Samuel Appleton gathered with other Ipswich men in 1687 in opposition to taxes imposed by Sir Edmund Andros. On April 18, 1689 leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony reclaimed control of the government from the crown-appointed governor, Sir Edmund Andros. Major Samuel Appleton of Ipswich … Continue reading The defiant Samuel Appleton
General Putnam landing at Marietta Ipswich to Marietta, 1787 - 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 18th Century, seven of the 13 colonies had made claims on vast areas of the West, with hopes … Continue reading Ipswich to Marietta, 1787
The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich - The concepts of freedom about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence came from the pulpit and pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich, Massachusetts. “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. The end of all good … Continue reading The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich
The Letters of Joseph Hodgkins and Sarah Perkins - The Perkins-Hodgkins house is located at 80 East St on the corner with Jeffreys Neck Road. This First Period timber-frame house was rebuilt in 1709 after the original 1640 thatch roofed home burned when an indentured servant dropped ashes from her pipe on the straw roof. Ownership passed through generations of the Perkins-Hodgkins family to … Continue reading The Letters of Joseph Hodgkins and Sarah Perkins

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