Many of the mansions of the North Shore are reminders of the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th and early 20th Century, a time of concentrated wealth as well as deep poverty. During this period of unprecedented economic and industrial expansion, approximately 10 million European immigrants came to the United States to find work. The Gilded Age saw its end with the Panic of 1893, a growing labor movement, and the Great Depression. Many of the great estates and mansions of the North Shore were donated to non-profit organizations or the state, while others were torn down to lower property taxes.
Four communities in Massachusetts, including Ipswich have a Great Estates Bylaw to encourage appropriate development and preservation of large estate properties, providing an alternative to demolition. The following stories are about large estates and grand houses in the Ipswich area.
Turner Hill - Construction on the Turner Hill mansion-house on Topsfield Road began in 1900. The story below contains excerpts from “A Short History of the Rice Estate, 1890-1945” by Rev. Robert F. Ippolito, M.S., published in 1976, with pictures from the October 1903 issue of “Architectural Review.” Additional photos are provided by the Turner Hill Residential Community site. Anne … Continue reading Turner Hill The Amazing Life of Nancy Astor - If you look at an online map you will often see a reference to “Nancy’s Corner” at the intersection of Highland Street and Cutler Road in Hamilton. I started researching who this Nancy was and discovered an amazing story. Nancy Witcher Langhorne was the daughter of a Virginian slaveholder whose family fell into poverty after the … Continue reading The Amazing Life of Nancy Astor
65 Waldingfield Road, Sunswick - A lot on Waldingfield Rd. near Highland Street that had once belonging to Daniel Fuller Appleton was purchased in 1890 by Baynard Tuckerman. In 1882, Tuckerman married Annie Osgood Smith, daughter of Rev. Cotton Smith and Hariette Appleton, daughter of General James Appleton. Tuckerman built his summer house on a slight rise and named it “Sunswyck,” or “Sunswick.”The … Continue reading 65 Waldingfield Road, Sunswick 107 Argilla Road, Argilla Farm (1785) - The Ipswich Historical Commission “Partial List of Historic Houses” prepared by Susan Nelson dates the house at 107 Argilla Rd. between 1734 and 1785 with later alterations. However, Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the following for the Ipswich Historical Society in December 4, 1899: “Allen Baker built the substantial hip-roofed farm house nearby early in the present (19th) … Continue reading 107 Argilla Road, Argilla Farm (1785)