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 shall joyne with two or three of the next town & they shall have power to lay out ways where most convenient not withstanding any man’s propriety or any common ground.”
The 19th and 20th Century saw the size of the town grow greatly as foreign-born workers arrived to work in the flourishing mills. New neighborhoods quickly arose west of the tracks, and are known as Pole Alley, Brownville and Mount Pleasant. They are the newest Ipswich neighborhoods in the National Register of Historic Places, joining Meeting House Green Historic District, the East End Historic District, High Street Historic District, and the South Green Historic District.
View or download the Walking tour of historic Ipswich.
Argilla Road - The South Green was long known as School House Green. From there, historic Argilla Road crosses pastures and deep woods, then opens up to a scenic vista of the Great Salt Marsh and the ocean on its way from South Green to Crane Beach. Candlewood Road - “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 Road County Street - County Street is in the Ipswich Architectural Preservation District and has some of the oldest houses in town. The section between East and Summer Streets was originally called Cross St, and the section between the County Street bridge and Poplar Street was known as Mill St. The roads were connected when the County Street Bridge was … Continue reading County Street Depot Square - The Eastern Railroad ran from Boston to Portland, continuing to Canada and was the primary competition of the Boston and Maine Railroad until it was acquired by the B&M in the late 1880’s to become the B&M’s Eastern Division. The Ipswich Depot sat at the location of the Institution for Savings at Depot Square. East Street - The abrupt change in the name of High Street to East Street at the intersection with North Street is odd unless one knows a bit of history. When Ipswich was laid out in the 1600’s, town center was Meetinghouse Green. A road headed south and crossed the river — it was named South Main Street. It … Continue reading East Street Great Neck - (Text adapted from the History of Great Neck, published in 1984 by Doris Wilson). Aerial picture and video by Michael Gale of Ipswich. Before the settlement of Ipswich was begun in 1633 by John Winthrop, William Jeffrey, who had come over in 1623, had purchased from the Indians a title to the glacial drumlin which … Continue reading Great Neck Hammatt Street and Brown Square - Until the second half of the 19th Century, much of the area bounded by Central Street, Washington Street, Mineral Street and Market Street was a wetland with an open sewer known as Farley’s Brook running through it. Brown Square developed as an industrial area beginning around 1885. The railroad came to Ipswich in 1839, changing the town forever. Stagecoaches … Continue reading Hammatt Street and Brown Square Ipswich Village (Upper High St.) - Featured image: “Ipswich Village” in the 1832 Philander map of the town of Ipswich. The following narrative includes excerpts from Ipswich Village and the Old Rowley Road. by Thomas Franklin Waters in 1915. “At the very beginning of the Town, High Street was the road to Newbury or ‘the pathway leading toward the River of Merrimac.’ No … Continue reading Ipswich Village (Upper High St.) Jeffreys’ Neck Road - This history of Jeffreys Neck is from the Agawam Manual and Directory by M.V.B. Perley, published in 1888. The business of fur-trading and fishing along the New England coast received a new impetus about the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1604 Agawam was the center of Arcadia, so-called in the French patent of November 8, 1603. For a … Continue reading Jeffreys’ Neck Road Lakemans Lane and Fellows Road - by Charlotte Lindgren One hundred years ago, Lakemans Lane was a narrow dirt road lined by stone walls. About a mile beyond Parting Paths, then called Whittier’s Corner, (for the now demolished homestead of the large Whittier family) the lane connected County and Essex Roads. It was bisected by Fellows Road which led to Candlewood. … Continue reading Lakemans Lane and Fellows Road Linebrook Parish - Featured image: Linebrook Church, photo by George Dexter, circa 1900. Linebrook Road has been said to follow an old Native American trail that connected Agawam (Ipswich) with Lake Cochichewick in North Andover. The area began to be populated by settlers with the founding of Ipswich, primarily as agricultural land, and was known as Ipswich Farms … Continue reading Linebrook Parish Little Neck - Featured image: “Wolf Moon” over Little Neck, January 1, 2018. Photo by Susan Turner Po 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 … Continue reading Little Neck Lords Square - 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 Market Square - Featured image: Ipswich woodcut attributed to S. E. Brown, 1838, or John Warner Barber, 1839 Market Street - Photos of Market St. from the present day back to the early days of photography. South Main Street - In March 1692 several Ipswich persons petitioned “to have liberty granted them to build shops upon ye bank by ye river side,” at what is now South Main Street. The Selectmen laid out this stretch of land in twenty-three small lots and granted them “to as many individuals with the conditions that they not encumber … Continue reading South Main Street Summer Street - Summer Street may be the oldest public way in Ipswich, and in the earliest days of the settlement was called Stony Street, or simply “The Way to the River. ” Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that for two centuries it was Annable’s Lane, named after settler John Annable. In the Colonial years, streets tended to be named for topographical … Continue reading Summer Street Washington and Liberty Streets - Gravel Street and the gravel pits are shown in the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich. One of the older established ways in town, Washington Street may have started as a footpath for Native Americans long before John Winthrop and the first settlers arrived. Today’s Washington Street was called once called Bridge Street, and for two decades was known as Gravel … Continue reading Washington and Liberty Streets Water Street - 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
Castle Hill and the Crane Estate - In 1634 the Ipswich selectmen unanimously voted "That the Neck of Land whereupon the great Hill standeth, which is known by the name of the Castle Hill, lying on the other side of this River towards the Sea, shall remayne unto the common use of the Town forever." In 1639 the Town deeded Castle Hill with nearby meadow and marsh to John Winthrop, Jr. to persuade him to stay. Winthrop sold the property to Samuel Symonds, and left town. 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 Lafayette Road neighborhood - The Lafayette Road neighborhood, including Farragut Rd, Prescott Rd, Putnam Rd. and Lafayette Rd. was built in the first decade of the 20th Century on farm land previously belonging to J. C. Underhill and other families along Topsfield Rd. The photos below are from glass plate negatives in the collection of William J. Barton, taken by Edward … Continue reading Lafayette Road neighborhood Liberty Street - In the late 19th Century Washington Street was extended to Linebrook Road, and Liberty Street became its own street. Information is from MACRIS, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Photos are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties database. Levi Howe house, 11 Liberty Street, 1857-65. This house does not appear on the 1854 map of Ipswich, but by the time of … Continue reading Liberty Street Manning Street, a Victorian neighborhood - Central Street was laid out in 1872, and Manning Street in 1882. Manning Street first appears in the 1884 Ipswich map, newly created, with no houses yet. The 1910 Ipswich map shows all of the houses now on the street, and Warren Street has been extended from North Main to Manning Street. Mount Pleasant Neighborhood - Featured image: Mount Pleasant neighborhood on the 1910 Ipswich map. Information is from the MACRIS site These houses were built at a time when the foreign-born population of Ipswich was on the rise, Increasing 446% between 1875 and 1915. At the time these houses were built, manufacturing had become the basis of Ipswich’s economy. Many … Continue reading Mount Pleasant Neighborhood 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 Sullivan’s Corner: The Last Years of the Farm - For eight decades the Sullivan farm in Ipswich, MA practiced a pre-modern way of life. The two sisters who took over their father’s family farm in 1916 were also teachers and principals in the Ipswich schools. 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