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.
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
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. to 1785 with later alterations. 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) century. The Allen … Continue reading 107 Argilla Road, Argilla Farm (1785) Appleton Farms - Featured above is the Appleton Farms “Old House” which is now the visitor center. Many generations of the Appleton family lived in the “Old House” at Appleton Farms. Samuel Appleton was an original settler, and his brother Isaac built the first section of the Old House in 1688. Samuel Appleton of the fifth generation of the family … Continue reading Appleton Farms