The historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 20th century homes. Walking tours of historic Ipswich are led on Sunday afternoons in late summer and fall by Town Historian Gordon Harris, who tells the stories of the town’s historic houses and the people who lived in the them.
Distance: This tour is approximately 1.7 miles and is designed for active persons who can walk up to two hours at a fairly brisk pace.
Start Location: In front of the Ipswich Public Library, 25 N Main St, Ipswich, MA 01938. View at Google Maps
Reserve by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify the date from the calendar below, and the number of people in your party.
Special group tours of each of the four oldest historic districts in Ipswich are available. Send an email to Gordon Harris at email@example.com. Private group tours are $100 and can be arranged by special request.
Description: John Winthrop Jr. led an expedition in 1633 to establish the settlement of Ipswich in the area that stretches from the Town Wharf to Meeting House Green. The East End includes Turkey Shore, Water Street, East Street, County Street and Summer Street.
- Start: Ipswich Town Hall, Green Street
- Distance: 1.1 miles
- View an interactive map of the East End Historic District
Description: The 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. The tour includes South Main Street, the South Green, the Old South Cemetery and County Rd.
- Start: Ipswich Visitor Center,36 South Main St.
- Distance: 1.2 miles
- View an interactive map of the South Green Historic District
Description: Meetinghouse Green on Town Hill was the governmental center for Puritan Ipswich. North Main Street is lined with elegant homes built by the leaders of the town over the past three centuries. Summer Street is the ancient “Way to the Meeting House.”
- Start: Ipswich Public Library, 25 North Main St.
- Distance: 1 mile
- View an interactive map of Meetinghouse Green and North Main Street.
Description: High Street has the largest concentration of “First Period” houses in America (built before 1720). The tour visits the Old Burying Ground on High Street near Lords Square.
- Start: Old North Burying Ground, 63 High St.
- Distance: 1 mile.
- View an interactive map of the High Street Historic District
A comprehensive self-guided tour can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF document.
- View the comprehensive 4-mile Historic Ipswich tour online
- Download the complete tour as a PDF document
Some scenes from the tour: