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.

From the mural, the tour continues to the South Green. The Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk takes you to Water Street, Summer Street and County street, full of First Period Homes. It continues on East Street, to High Street, and then returns to North Main and Meeting House Green, the historic center of Ipswich. After crossing the Choate Bridge you’re back at the start location.

Walking tour of historic Ipswich MASelf-guided tours

A comprehensive self-guided tour is offered as a free resource, which you can view online or download as a PDF document.

Maps and descriptions below are provided by Gordon Harris for self-guided tours.

Walking Tours by Historic District

The contiguous historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th century private residences.

East End Historic District

East Street, north sideJohn Winthrop Jr led an expedition in 1633 to establish the settlement of Ipswich. The first houses were “wigwams, huts, and hovels” built near what is now the Town Wharf in the East End area of town.

South Green Historic District

the South GreenThe South Green was originally known as School House Green. Many of the most important early settlers received grants of land here, and for two centuries the South Green served as a military training ground.

Meetinghouse Green Historic District

Richard Rogers house, North Main StreetMeetinghouse Green on Town Hill was the governmental center for Puritan Ipswich. Dwellings had to be within one half mile of the Meeting House. North Main Street is lined with elegant homes built by the leaders of the town over.

High Street Historic District

High Street has the greatest concentration of First Period homes in America

High Street has the largest concentration of “First Period” houses in America (built before 1720). Many of the well-preserved 17th, 18th, and 19th Century houses along High Street served as taverns, stores, or craftsman’s shops. The Old Burying Ground is on High Street near Lords Square.

Some scenes from the tour:


5 thoughts on “Walking tour of historic Ipswich

  1. My mom’s family has been in Ipswich and Rowley since the Great Migration and we lived there back in the early 70s. I need to head up that way and take this tour.


  2. This is one of the best walking tours I’ve been on. Gordon’s knowledge of the history of Ipswich allowed us to understand the daily life of Ipswich resdents from the time the town was established through the Revolutionary War and beyond. We learned things the history books omit. It is worth your time to take this tour!


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