A Walking Tour and History of Ipswich
This extensive tour of Ipswich, Massachusetts begins at the Riverwalk Mural behind the EBSCO buildings on Union Street. Many of the First and Second Period houses in the town are visited along with sites of special historic, architectural or natural significance. The tour offers the full 4 mile option that covers most of the town from Market Street to South Village Green, along the River and East Street to the town Wharf, and out High Street to the railway bridge, then returning through Meeting House Green. Options are presented at various points that allow one to shorten the tour to the core of the historic district.
Stay on this page or download the PDF Walking tour of historic Ipswich Massachusetts to follow the tour on your phone.
Ipswich Riverwalk Mural, start location. In 2005 EBSCO Publishing commissioned artist Alan Pearsall to paint a 2,700-square-foot mural on one of the old mill buildings as part of the new Riverwalk. Alan based the mural on the history of Ipswich from the time of its settling to the current day. A full description of the mural is mounted in front of it. Richard Saltonstall set up the first mill here in 1635 to grind grain, and in 1868 Amos A. Lawrence established the Ipswich Hosiery Mills in these very buildings, developing the largest stocking industry in the country.
During the 1913 Ipswich Mills labor strike a Greek girl was killed and striking workers were evicted from their mill homes. Failing to modernize and keep up with fashion trends, the mills closed in 1928. The mill buildings later housed Sylvania’s fluorescent lighting plant and are where the company manufactured proximity fuses for WWII bombs. The buildings are now the home of EBSCO Publishing, which provides electronic databases to colleges, libraries, medical institutions and corporations.
Upper Falls and Dam: Before dams were built here, there was a natural waterfall referred to as the Upper Falls which marked the head of the tide. Millions of herring, shad, salmon and alewife swam upstream each year to their spawning grounds. In 1674 Nathaniel Rust and Samuel Hunt were granted permission to set up a “weir,” stone walls that funneled fish into cages. This is the third dam on this site, and was built in 1880 to power the mills that produced Ipswich lace and hosiery.
Ipswich Riverwalk Footbridge: The river bank from the mill dam to where the Choate bridge stands today was marshy past Blacksmith Samuel Ordway’s shop. Early settlers forded the river here, and later the first of several foot bridges was built. A plaque on the bridge tells the story of the mills, and a planter at the end of this bridge honors Faith Lamb Bryan, wife of the founder of the Quebec Labrador Foundation Atlantic Center for the Environment and a long-time member of the Ipswich Historical Commission.
South Main Street: Early Urban Planning: In March 1692 several persons petitioned “to have liberty granted them to build shops upon ye bank by ye river side.” 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 the highway, make provision for drainage under the buildings, that each person “provide paving four foot wide all along before ye said buildings for the convenience of foot travelers, and erect posts to keep horses from spoiling the same.” It was stipulated by the Town that the lots extend no farther into the river than “ye low water mark,” thus giving this view the nickname “Little Venice.”
The Philomen Dean house, 59 South Main is on the right after crossing the footbridge. Philemon Dean was a constable of Ipswich, served under Maj. Samuel Appleton in King Philips War, and died in 1716 long after the death of his wife and one of his twin sons. This Georgian style house was built by his surviving son Philemon Dean Jr. who bought the land from blacksmith Ordway’s widow. Philemon Dean Jr. was one of the petitioners for a new church at the South Green and for the new stone arch Choate Bridge to serve people on that side of the river. The house was sold in 1827 by auction to Theodore Andrews, a lace manufacturer and became known as the “Lace Factory.” A wing on the north side housed the lace machines.
The Samuel Dutch house, 69 South Main Street: In 1723 Samuel Dutch built this house and purchased a 2/3 interest in Nathaniel Saltonstall’s saw mill standing on the south side of the river, plus 2/3 of the dam. Use of the river’s water was conditional, limited to “when the water runs over any part of the dam in said river.” In 1742 he sold his house, twenty-four rods of land and sawmill to John Treadwell, who continued the mill operation. The front of the house is a Federal-era addition attached to the original gable-roof 2nd period home.
The Heard house is a Federal era structure built in 1795 by wealthy shipper John Heard. Before the Revolutionary War he had invested in the rum factory on Turkey Shore Road along the river bank where they unloaded barrels of West Indies molasses, and he later helped start the Ipswich Mills. His son Augustine Heard owned clipper ships and competed with captains from Salem and Boston in the China trade. Augustine retired to Ipswich and started the Ipswich Manufacturing Company in 1828 with Joseph Farley, building a new dam and the Old Stone Mill. The Heard house was purchased in 1936 by the Ipswich Historical Society and now houses the Ipswich Museum.
A small park sits in the foundation of the Old South Church which burned in 1977. Near this spot lived the Rev. Nathaniel Ward, a solemn and judgmental man who was the minister of the church at Meetinghouse Green for three years. He wrote a code of laws for the colony known as “The Body of Liberties” which contained seeds of the Declaration of Independence. The miller Richard Saltonstall Jr. was also a nearby resident. An important citizen of the town, he denounced the “heinous act” of stealing black slaves from their homelands as contrary to the law of God and Country. The painting by Ipswich artist Johanne Cassia.
The Alexander Knight House is a re-creation of an early English-style timber frame house from 1657 as described in Ipswich town records. When Alexander Knight and his wife arrived they were fairly wealthy, but their lives took several bad turns including the death of a child in a fire. By 1656 he was indigent, surviving as an indentured servant. The town took mercy and voted to provide him a piece of land. This exhibit was built with traditional tools, materials and construction methods of the First Period complete with a stone foundation, timber frame, wattle and daub chimney, water-sawn white oak boards and thatched roof. Jowled posts, girts, and braces were fitted to form an end wall, after which plates, studs, joists, principal rafters and purlins were pegged in place to complete the frame.
The Whipple house is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Ipswich museum and is one of the finest examples of “first period” American architecture (1625-1725).The oldest part of the house dates to 1677 when the military officer and entrepreneur Captain John Whipple constructed a townhouse near the center of Ipswich. The elder John’s son, Captain John Whipple doubled the size of the house with a large addition in 1670 to showcase his wealth. It has the original frame, large fireplaces, summer beams, wide board floors, and gun-stock posts. Originally at the corner of Market Street and Saltonstall Street, the Ipswich Historical Society saved the house from destruction, restored it, and then moved it over the Choate Bridge to its present location in 1927. Tours of the Whipple House are available by inquiring across the street at the Ipswich Museum.
The South Green dates from 1686 when the town voted that the area be held in common. Cattle were gathered here to be driven to outlying common pastures. It was originally known as the School House Green because the town’s first grammar school was at the corner of Poplar Street and County Road. The 17th century houses of Nathaniel Ward, schoolmaster Ezekiel Cheever, Reverend Nathaniel Rogers and Richard Saltonstall are gone but the Green still retains its historic appearance and is surrounded by Federal and Greek Revival era homes.
The Jimmy Appleton memorial at the head of South Green was erected by Francis Appleton in honor of his son who died of leukemia at the age of 16 in 1915. From the time that Samuel Appleton arrived with his family in Ipswich in 1635 a long lineage of family members have served the town. Samuel Appleton the senior was granted land at what is now Appleton Farms on Bay Road, open to the public under the Trustees of Reservations. His son Major Samuel Appleton commanded a 100-man company in the “King Philip’s War” against the brutal renegade Indian chief Metacomet. In 1687 Major Appleton and his brother John Appleton, John Andrews, Rev. John Wise and several other leaders of the town were arrested and held in the Boston jail for their opposition to edicts by Governor Andros infringing liberties and creating new taxes.
The Federal-style house at 3 South Village Green was built in 1776 by Aaron Smith, a clockmaker who apprenticed to Richard Manning, an early pioneer in the trade. Aaron Smith was engaged in metal-working before the American Revolution and was therefore prevented from joining the battle at Bunker Hill, since his services were needed for the manufacture of bayonets. Several generations of the family continued in the clock-making trade in Salem. These collector’s items are now valued at $10,000 and higher.
The Col. John Baker house, 7 Village Green: In 1671 Col. John Baker built this substantial house on the South Green on land that was given in 1638 to the town’s second minister, Nathaniel Rogers. Baker took an active part in the leadership of the town as a justice of the Sessions Court and a Feoffee of the Grammar School. War. Col. Baker’s Regiment marched to the battle of Lexington in 1775. The house features original Georgian paneling and has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission. Lucretia Brown, who lived in this house, was a Christian Scientist and in 1875 filed the last witchcraft suit to be tried in the United States, against an opponent of Mary Baker Eddy.
The Gables is a fascinating Gothic Revival house behind the John Baker house. It was designed by mathematician David Baker in 1846 as an upscale lodging for lawyers in town for the Ipswich court. He was unable to repay the money he borrowed from the Heard family, who took possession and kept it in the family through the early 20th century. In the 1920’s Nellie Huckins purchased it from the Heards, and ran the Gables Tea Room from this house.
The Old South Cemetery was used from 1756 until 1939 and extends from the South Green toward the Ipswich River. A walking trail extends down the slope to the river and continues downstream to Sally’s Pond near the Whipple House. In the late 1790’s Dr. John Manning sold land to the town for the purpose of “widening the road for the convenience of the public”including eighty eight square rods to enlarge the cemetery, and “from a desire of accommodating the Town with a more convenient training field,” gave the land now known as the South Green for the nominal sum of five shillings. Adult men in the 17th and 18th Centuries reported monthly to the Green for military training.
Although the tour now crosses County Road and turns back toward town, mention is made of the Rogers and Brown House, a short distance farther at 83 County Road. The asymmetrical façade suggest a 17th century date for the earliest section of the house, and it was once believed to have been built as early as 1665 by Nathaniel Rust, a tanner and glover who operated a tanning business at this location. The main part of this house was built in 1750 by Dr. Samuel Rogers near the Heard House across from South Green. The house was sold to Asa Brown who moved it to this location in 1837 so that the Old South Church could be built facing the Green. The church burned in 1977. The pilastered entry and modillion cornice are from the Federal era and later.
*Bay road continues to Hamilton, (“the Hamlet”) and Rt. 133 goes to Essex ( formerly called “Chebacco”), both originally part of Ipswich.
John Wise arrived in 1683 as pastor of the new Chebacco Parish and enjoyed great popularity. In 1688 Wise was a leader of the protest against arbitrary taxation by Sir Edmund Andros, and was imprisoned, fined, and temporarily removed from the ministry. The town of Ipswich paid his fine and sent Mr. Wise as its representative to Boston where he brought action against Chief Justice Dudley for having detained him without the benefit of habeas corpus. When Increase Mather proposed that local congregational control be replaced by an association of clergymen, Wise attacked with his essay Vindication of the Government of New England Churches, which contained expressions later used in the Declaration of Independence. A sign on Rt. 133 in Essex commemorates Rev. John Wise, who died in 1725.
The Nathaniel Wade house at 88 County Road is the oldest house on the South Green. It was built by Captain Thomas Wade in 1727. His son Nathaniel Wade trained Ipswich soldiers and led them to battle at Bunker Hill. The stairs to the attic are worn by the footsteps of Ipswich Minute Men, who adjourned there for refreshment after drilling on the green. Later Colonel Wade was appointed by General Washington to succeed Benedict Arnold when he joined the enemy, and his vigorous action prevented the loss of West Point to the British. Several members of the Wade family built houses in the 18th and 19th Century along this side of the road
The Brown-Burnham house at 86 County Road was built in 1775. The Federal-era chimney spacing and layout are similar to several neighboring houses. The portico and corbels are an Italianate modification.
At 84 County Road is the Rev. Moses Welch house, built in 1829. The house has a Federal period doorway with an arched window over the door, and two symmetrical chimneys spaced toward the inside of the house. The bay windows on the front facade are likely a Victorian era addition. The side porch and entry are unusual additions to the style.
At 82 County Road is the Mary Brown – Judith Manning house, built in 1835 with an asymmetrical front facade. The solid fan over the front door is a variation on the fan-shaped windows on other Federal-era homes. Like the houses at 84 and 86 County Road, the two chimneys are symmetrical and spaced approximately 4′ from the gable ends.
The Samuel Wade house at 78 County Road was built in 1831. Wade apprenticed Benjamin Kimball 3rd as a housewright, so it is likely that Wade built this home. The house has its gable end to the road similar to the Greek Revival style. Wide corner boards are typical of the Federal era, but the three-bay facade suggests Colonial Revival architecture and the bay windows are a Victorian modification.
76 County Road was the home of Asa Wade. Built in 1831 like the Samuel Wade house next door it also has the gable end facing the street in the Greek Revival style.
The Cogswell-Giddings house is at 72 County Road on the corner with Argilla Rd. Built in 1828, it has been used as a general store and as a single family home. The four fireplaces, molding and floors are original. David Giddings was born in Ipswich in 1771, a descendant of early settlers. Records indicate he and Bridget Whipple had 8 children and he worked as a tanner. In 1835 a later David Giddings took a stagecoach to Buffalo, boarded a brig to Chicago, then built a primitive boat with a friend and sailed to Green Bay Wisconsin, arriving there with $5 in his pocket. He made his home in Sheboygan, was elected County Judge and to the state legislature. He became wealthy in the sawmill industry and retired on a 500-acre farm in Fon du Lac.
The Calvin Locke House at 68 County Road was built in 1836. The size of the house and the tall Greek columns (designed to match the Second Church at the top of the Green) exceeded his resources such that the house came to be known as “Locke’s Folly.” Locke was an overseer in Augustine Heard’s lace factory, the Ipswich Manufacturing Company. It was incorporated in 1828, but due to financial difficulties was sold to Dane Manufacturing in 1846.
The Swasey Tavern, 2 Poplar Street was operated by Major Joseph Swasey. A house and its use as an inn are recorded as early as 1693 but no signs of the original structure are present. President George Washington and Lafayette were both offered refreshments here while touring New England. Swasey sold the inn to John Heard, and it became a dormitory for students at the Ipswich Female Seminary, which was located where the Christian Science Church now stands. The Tavern was originally a three-storied hip-roofed mansion, but in the late 19th century it was remodeled with a Second Empire style mansard roof. Swasey was the town clerk and fell dead during Town meeting on April 1, 1816.
*The short tour continues on County Street toward Sawmill Point in the East End Historic District. *The extended tour turns left on Poplar Street then reverses to rejoin the short tour.
At 5 Poplar Street, the John Calef house was built in 1688 by Deacon Thomas Knowlton of Summer St, an old world English carpenter. Dr. John Calef was a surgeon in the “Old French War” and the representative from Ipswich to the General Court. Nine years after he voted against the town’s wishes to oppose the Townsend Act creating taxes on tea and other items, an angry mob gathered around his house demanding a show of loyalty to the town. He apologized, ” I am heartily sorry for it; and as I gave my vote in the General Assembly on the 30th of June 1768 contrary to the minds of the people, I beg their forgiveness and that the good people of the Province would restore me to their esteem and friendship again.” He was never forgiven. After the war Calef and his family fled to a loyalist community in St. John, New Brunswick, where he worked as surgeon to the British garrison.
The Heard – Lakeman house at 2 Turkey Road, built in 1776 is one of the original 14 houses with Historical Commission preservation covenants. It has fine raised-field paneling and a handsome Georgian stairway with a turned balustrade. The arched chimney base is over eleven feet in length and supports two fireplaces on each side. Many generations of the Lakeman family owned and operated sailing vessels from Ipswich and nearby ports.
The Burnham-Patch house at 1 Turkey Shore Road has one of the original covenants established with the Ipswich Historical Commission. The house was built in 1730 on the foundation of an earlier house built by Thomas Burnham in 1667. Heavy quarter-round chamfered summer beams in the cellar support the floor framing and may have been re-used from the earlier structure. The large ell on Poplar Street was added in the early nineteenth-century. Burnham was one of three brothers who came to Ipswich in 1635 from England after being wrecked on the coast of Maine. He built a sawmill, was a town selectman and served as Deputy to the General Court from 1683-85. It is unclear which owner built the existing house. John Patch owned a large farm and house at Castle Hill and Castle Neck but purchased this in 1785 as his “town house.” From 1825 to 1847 the house served as a well-known tavern under the ownership of Samuel Day.
The extended tour reverses and takes a right on County Street to rejoin the short tour.
For 200 years the timber frame Choate – Dodge house stood near the corner of Elm and County Streets, now a police station parking lot. In 1963 the town planned to demolish the empty house and replace it with a transformer station. Members of the Ipswich Historical Society saved it from the bulldozer on the day it was scheduled for demolition. The house was dismantled, trucked to Washington and became the centerpiece of “Within These Walls” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The Benjamin Grant house, 47 County Street was built in 1735 by Benjamin Grant, a veteran of the French and Indian Wars, and for many years afterward was in the Ross family. This house has a large center chimney, one room deep front section with a rear lean-to. The 5 bay façade is slightly asymmetrical, typical of earlier period half houses that have been doubled to appear Georgian. In 1863 owner Joseph Ross purchased nearby land along the “lower falls” and erected a water-powered yarn mill, later adding machinery for the production of hosiery and knitting. Ross became wealthy and purchased the old Pillow Lace Factory site on High Street, converting it into the “Ross Mansion.”
Sawmill Point: In 1861 the County Street bridge was built linking the South Green area and the East End. A lumber mill, two wheelwright shops and a blacksmith shop were all built at Sawmill Point during this era. This was also the site of earlier mills, including a “fulling mill” built by John Whipple in 1673. The spit of land between the sluiceway and the bridge is called Falls Island. Maj. Jonathan Wade operated a sawmill and a fulling mill on the island where the house at 46 County Street stands today. Turn right on the Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk just after crossing the County Street Bridge.Sidney Shurcliff was a noted landscape architect who spent his summers on Argilla Road. 15,000 years ago when the glacier had receded into southwest Maine, the drumlins, eskers and moraines left by the glacier carved the path of the Ipswich River, which makes several sharp turns around the ancient granite underneath Meetinghouse Green. Here is the lower of two falls and Great Cove, a tidal estuary where tall ships unloaded coal and took on local products. Great Cove was known for 200 years as Hunts Cove. Reginald Foster was one of the few settlers to build along this path, and soon was able to purchase the Preston-Foster house ahead on Water Street.
Ipswich River and the East End Historic District: When settlers arrived in the 1630’s, they spent that first winter in quickly-constructed huts or abandoned wigwams between Town Hill and what is now Town Wharf. Wharves and warehouses were soon built along the riverbank, and Water Street was the site of a custom house, pottery manufacturing, and an ancient tannery. Salt manufacture began in 1652, the town’s first brew house was built by 1663, and by 1676 ship building was an extensive industry. Clapboards, masts, timbers for houses, and fish were shipped to foreign ports. The river from Great Cove and Falls Island was the town’s commercial hub, but as ships got larger in the late 18th Century they could no longer use Ipswich as a port, and the town fell into harder times.
On the hillside to your left, Whipple Riverview Place now provides senior housing in a rectangular brick building that once served as part of the Essex County Jail. The building has a 3000 square foot “green roof” thriving with sedum, talinum, chives and other species of drought-resistant flowering plants. A plaque in front of the Town Hall next door notes that this is the site of an eight acre village of the Agawam people, who fished here in the summers but retreated to the relative safety of their lodges in the woods for the winter. Their chief Masconomet is buried on Sagamore Street in Hamilton.
The Ipswich Town Hall on Green Street was built in 1936 as a high school and has many neoclassical features. Neoclassical became a dominant style for public buildings nationwide in the 1930’s, inspired by the Beaux-Arts style and featuring classical symmetry, full height porches with columns and a temple front, and elaborate classical decorative ornaments such as dentil cornices. The popularity of classical Greek architecture was renewed after the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair displayed historical European architectural styles in the Columbian Exposition.
*At the end of the Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk path turn right over the stone arch Green Street bridge.
The Emerson – Howard house at 41 Turkey Shore Road is on land originally owned by Thomas Emerson (an ancestor of Ralph Waldo Emerson) but the first section of the house was built in 1679 by William Howard, a hatter. In his will he deeded the old half of the house to his wife and the new half to his son William. Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922) restored the house to prevent it from being demolished and used it as a summer art school from 1891–1907. The house has traditional English post and beam framing.
Two nearly identical homes at 43 and 51 Turkey Shore Road are built in the Bungalow Porch Style, an eastern adaptation out of California’s Arts and Crafts movement. The expansive front porch opens the living room to the yard, forming a connection between the home and a view of the river. Prominent round columns and wide window casings on the porch make it an architectural transition to the outdoors. The style is very similar to folk houses in the warmer U.S. south, but in New England many such porches were eventually enclosed.
The Austin Measures house at 49 Turkey Shore Road was built in 1874. The low-pitched roof, window hoods and corbels supporting the flat roof portico are of Italianate influence. Austin Measures owned a candy store, originally across from the church on North Main Street and later on Central Street.
Between 1850 and 1870 Isaac Foss built the elegant Gothic Revival Victorian house at 63 Turkey Shore Road. The steep front gables on this home show the influence of a romantic movement in architecture inspired by medieval design, a departure from the classical Federal and Greek Revival styles popular earlier in the century. The vertical wooden decorative pieces are indicative of the “stick” style of Victorian architecture.
The Nathaniel Hodgkins house is the small red building at 48 Turkey Shore Road, built in 1720. The gambrel roof indicates Georgian architectural influence, and maximizes headroom inside the upper level of this modest home. His neighbor Daniel Hovey owned land from this point to the end of Tansey’s Lane where he built a wharf. When John Perkins was at sea in a Newburyport ship in November 1793 during the French Revolution, he wrote a letter to his widowed mother and noted, “Nathaniel Hodgkins arrived here a week ago. He says that all is well at home and that Uncle Stanwood is gone to the west Indies and is like to make good voyage.”
At 59 Turkey Shore Road is a Victorian home built by Otis Glover before 1856. It’s relatively plain layout is accented with decorative gables and shingles as was popular during the early Victorian “stick style” of architecture, which brought accompanied the new but relatively short-lived construction method known as balloon framing. The open porch and paneled gable end were features that were continued into the more elaborate Queen Ann homes later in the Victorian era. Glover’s Wharf across the river was used for unloading coal that heated houses in the 19th century.
The Stephen Boardman house at 67 Turkey Shore Road on the corner with Labor in Vain Road was built in 1725. The wide pine board floors in the house are original, and 4 restored fireplaces share a central chimney. Only two houses in Ipswich have plaster cove, this one and the Wilcomb-Pinder house on Summer Street. Stephen Boardman was born in 1717 in Ipswich, but moved to Stratham, NH where he made a name for himself as an opponent of Tory loyalists and a vocal supporter of the anticipated American Revolution.
A sea captain named McMahon built the large late 3rd Period (Federal era) house at 2 Labor in Vain Road on the corner with Turkey Shore Road in 1832. He expanded it in 1856. Wide corner boards and frieze, low roof pitch and modest styling are typical of the era, while the wrap-around front porch is more typically found in the later half of the 19th Century. Some people say the house is haunted.
* The tour crosses back over the Green Street Bridge and continues on Water Street
30 Green Street: This is the site of the home of Emma Jane Safford whose mother Emma Mitchell moved here from a Middleboro reservation. Mitchell was a descendant of Wampanoag chief Massasoit who ruled all the land between Cape Cod and Narragansett Bay and formed an alliance with the Pilgrims. Massasoit’s son Metacom, known as King Philip, fought a bloody war with the Colonists. Emma Safford’s father was Jacob Safford, the son of former black slaves. She lived her entire life in Ipswich and died in 1958. She was a beloved figure in town.
4 Water Street, the Jewett house was built in 1849 with lumber taken from the old Meeting House of the First Church when it was torn down. The fourth sanctuary of First Church in Ipswich was built in 1749 and served the community until 1846. The modest house is characteristic of the Colonial Revival style in our area, with an extended boxed eave, 3 bay symmetrical windows and a door with entablature portico, pediment and pilasters on either side. The Colonial Revival movement expressed a renewed interest in the history and culture of the east coast colonies, reacting to rapid changes that came with industrialism.
6 Water Street, the Preston – Foster house was built by Roger Preston who sailed to Ipswich in 1635. The house was sold to Reginald Foster in 1655. It has a typical first-period floor plan in the original front structure, and in the right half are two massive quarter-round chamfered summer beams and fine rich-hued and unpainted horizontal feather-edged paneling. The sharp-pitched roof and purlins add additional evidence of the early date.
The Harris – Sutton house, 8 Water St: This house is on the site of an early shipyard owned by Moses Pengry. The eastern part of the house dates to 1677 while the western section was constructed in 1715 by Abner Harris, and later sold to Ebenezer Sutton. This First Period house received the 2012 Mary Conley Award for a 2 1/2 year renovation project that required stripping the house to maintain its post and beam framework. The original layout was maintained and the elements from the original floors, halls, doors, staircases, fireplaces, and even the original nails were re-used.
The Glazier – Sweet house at 12 Water Street is just beyond the turn onto Summer Street. This First Period half-house was built in 1728 by sea captain Benjamin Glazier on land he bought from James Foster. Like many colonial homes in Ipswich it has a “Beverly jog” on the left side. The interior features many period-style furnishings. John Fiske writes “I love the fact that our house is fast approaching its 300th birthday and that the lives of many local families are now silently embedded in it. It is more than a human habitation, it’s a sign of human continuity.”
*Turn left on Summer Street, the oldest adopted “way” in Ipswich, formerly named Annable’s Lane for Ipswich settler John Annable. It connected the dirt path along the river with North Main and Meetinghouse Green, and once was called simply “The Way to the River.”
The James Foster house at 46 Summer Street was built in 1720. The roofline shows that it was once a smaller house, later doubled in size and remodeled to appear Georgian, with two chimneys, dormers and a symmetrical front. James Foster was a descendant of Reginald Foster on Water Street, and bought this former orchard land from Nathaniel Clark who moved to Newbury.
The Willcomb – Benjamin Pinder house at 43 Summer Street is on the left. The interior of the home features hand-hewn summer beams, wide plank flooring and the original fireplaces. Out on Jeffreys Neck William Willcomb operated a fishing stage, a small building and platform for salting and drying fish. He built this house in 1717. The next owner, William Benjamin Pinder was a corporal with Col. Appleton’s company in the ill-fated 1756 expedition against the French at Louisburg, Nova Scotia during the French and Indian War. Recent restoration efforts revealed evidence of a previous plaster coved cornice that the owners have restored. These were indicative of personal prosperity.
The James Foster – Ephraim Grant house at 39 Summer Street was built in 1717. Inside this well-preserved house are the original summer beams, exposed floor joists, gunstock corner posts, early period pine floors, stairs and railings.
On the right side of the street are a number of charming smaller houses built in the late 1880’s in a modest Greek Revival style.
This elegant Cape Cod Colonial at 37 Summer Street was built in 1825. Like many capes from the Greek Revival era it features a balanced facade, centered door with entablature and corner pilasters, dental molding and elaborate cornice returns.
The house at 31 Summer Street has the appearance of a late Georgian or Federal home on a street full of First Period and Greek Revival houses but was built in 1870.
27 Summer Street, the Thomas Knowlton house was built in 1688 (First Period). The 2 story timber-frame home has traditional English overhangs on the front and sides. Thomas Knowlton Sr. was a cordwainer and a master builder who from England. Although he was a deacon of the church, in 1659 Thomas Knowlton was among several men in Ipswich who were forced to pay a ten schilling fine because their wives were dressed too fine for their “pecuniary ability.” It was ordered that no person whose visible estate did not exceed £200 should wear gold or silver lace or silk scarves upon penalty of 10 shillings for each offence.
Across the intersection at 9 County St. is the Benjamin Dutch house, built early in the 1700’s. Benjamin Dutch, occupation Tavernier, was also quite active purchasing and selling real estate for profit. He and several Ipswich men participated in the Land Bank Scheme of 1740 wherein the Massachusetts Land Bank issued 50,000 pounds of notes without legal authorization, responding to an order by the British government to retire all paper money published in Massachusetts. Parliament outlawed the scheme and in 1742 and 1743 the courts levied an assessment against shareholders to settle the case.
* Turn right on County Street. Toward the end of the tour you will have the opportunity to visit upper Summer Street and the section of County Street that is to your left.
The Dennis – Dodge house at 10 County Street was built in 1740, the 2nd period. Note the close similarities between the Dennis – Dodge house and the Abraham Knowlton house also on County Street. This house was probably built by Abraham Knowlton for Thomas Dennis Jr., a sailor and continued in the Dennis family for many years. It was later owned by Ignatius Dodge, who operated a shoe-making shop.
The Thomas Dennis house at 7 County Street is a 2 story, end gable, timber frame First Period house built in 1670, one of the oldest houses in town. The 5-bay front block of the house dates to the 1750s, while the rear ell is Dennis’ 17th century home. Thomas Dennis immigrated to Ipswich in 1663. In England he had apprenticed in joinery and set up shop in town. Thomas Dennis was a master woodworker and his ornate carved cabinets sell for over $10,000. He died in 1706. His tombstone at the Old North Burying Ground features a winged skull. The house has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
Richard Ringe built the house at 5 County Street in 1718. It was inherited by his son Richard, who sold it to John Pinder. Pinder’s widow Sarah sold the house to William Leatherland in 1799. Phillip Clark bought the house, which is where he served as an undertaker and operated a cabinet shop.
The Stanwood – Willcomb House at the corner of County Street and East Street was built in 1830. Stephen Stanwood erected the building for a wool – pulling (fulling) mill, a cleaning process which makes wool thicker. The sheep grazed on the bare hills above East and High Streets, where there were no trees other than orchards. The mill used water that still runs under Spring Street (known then as Brook Street). In later years the building was a store and the residence of Lewis E. Willcomb. As a condition for allowing the town to pipe water from the spring across his land, Wilcomb’s house became the first with running water .
At the corner of East and Spring Streets is the Francis Jordan house. This lot was owned in 1648 by Francis Jordan, the town-whipper whose salary was 20 shillings a year, and “whose gruesome business it was to wield the lash and lay it smartly upon the backs of evil-doers at the public whipping-post.” Ironically this location was occupied in 1655 by Jeffrey Skelling, a man of questionable character who tasted the lash more than once. The existing house is believed to have been built about 1700, and the foundation of an older house was once visible behind it. The steep gable, small windows and cross plan are 20th Century alterations draw from post-medieval English architecture.
* The short version of the tour turns left here on East Street in the direction of High Street. Skip to the Polly Dole House below.
* The extended tour continues right on East Street to Town Wharf and rejoins the short tour at this corner.
The simple but charming small house at 33 East Street was built in 1830 and is known as the Old Store.
Luther Wait House, 35 East Street: This small yellow house was built about 1810 and was once the Essex County jailor’s house, but is better known as the home of Luther Wait. His formal education ended at age 12, and as a young man he fished off of George’s Bank in the summer and repaired shoes in the winter. He served two terms as postmaster between 1890 and 1902. In those days the postmaster also delivered mail by boat to the residents of Great Neck and Plum Island. Wait served on several town boards including the school committee. Between his terms as postmaster he joined tens of thousands in the Klondike Gold Rush.
The small two-story three-bay colonial at 37 East Street was built in 1834 by Stephen Baker Jr. as a storehouse for his grocery. The lot was also used as a lumber yard. Baker opened a way to the river, constructing a wharf at the end of the lane.
The John Harris House at 38 East Street is a Second Period (Georgian) home built in 1742. The first of the Harris family in Ipswich was Thomas Harris, a fisherman who purchased land in the East Street area in 1665. His son John Harris was deputy sheriff and had the duty of transporting accused witches to Salem for trial. He had a son also named John Harris who was apparently the builder of this house.
The Joseph Hovey house at 42 East Street was built in approximately 1847 and features early Victorian elements.
The Roberts house at 44 East Street was built in 1856 and has Italianate Period influence.
Although hardly recognizable, the house at 55 East Street is said to have been moved from Lords Square where it was the front section of Asa Lord’s store. Asa Lord’s market opened in 1826 and served as a de facto neighborhood community center where people would sit out front and chat. It was said that when the Lord’s Store closed in 1930 old stock was piled throughout the upstairs stockroom in “the wildest confusion” with goods dating back to before the Civil War.
The Ipswich River General Store and Deli is on the right before reaching the Town Wharf.
The Ringe – Lord house at 59 East Street is a one-room-deep (“I-house”) home built between 1815 and 1832. It sits in the corner created by the intersection of Water Street and East Street. The I-house form evolved from traditional 17th century British folk house central-passage houses. They are generally two rooms in length, one room deep, two full stories in height and often have a rear win added for a kitchen.
The Capt. John Wainwright – Treadwell House at 62 East Street has raised-field paneling and a hand-turned balustrade, and is protected by a preservation agreement. Thomas Treadwell arrived in New England in 1635 with his wife and infant son Thomas. His will in 1671 bequeathed to the junior Thomas his property on “Treadwell’s Island.” To his son Nathaniel he gave half of his “upland house” and the other half to his wife, as well as “the benefit of the keeping of four Cows and six sheep plus the firewood from the pasture.” Nathaniel Treadwell sold the property to John, son of Col. John Wainwright who built this house in 1727.
The Ipswich Town Wharf: In March 1633 John Winthrop Jr., the Governor’s eldest son led an expedition to the Indian village of Agawam. Ninety percent of the native population had been decimated by a plague. The settlers’ first houses were “wigwams, huts and hovels” built against this hillside. The wharf became the site of extensive shipping in the first two centuries. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries the ship Carlotta carried passengers to and from the Necks. The river lapped East Street until the early 20th Century when the parking lot was filled in. Today the wharf is used for recreational boating.
* The Walking Tour turns back along Water Street. Two more First Period houses are further out on East Street:
Across from the far end of the Wharf parking lot is the Hodgkins – Lakeman House at 76 East Street. William Hodgkins came with his father William from England in 1640 and settled in Ipswich. The third William Hodgkins was born in 1668 and built this house in 1690. The house came into the possession of Solomon Lakeman who sold it in 1734 to his brother Archelaus. The Hodgkins, Perkins and Lakeman families intermarried and owned properties throughout the area around the wharf and the East End Historical District
At the corner with Jeffreys Neck Road is the Perkins-Hodgkins House, 80 East Street. Notable are the cellar joists, which are laid sideways instead of with the long side up, a construction style found in the early 1600′s. The house was rebuilt in 1709 after the original 1640 home was burned by Jacob Perkins’ servant Mehitabel Babrooke who dropped ashes from her pipe on the thatch roof setting it on fire. The book 1776: The Illustrated Edition tells an intriguing story about Lieutenant Joseph Hodgkins whose wrote letters home to his wife, Sarah Perkins Hodgkins during the revolutionary war. This house is protected by a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
Beyond is Jeffreys Neck Road, named for William Jeffreys who was already living on the Neck when John Winthrop Jr. and the colonists arrived in 1632. Not a Puritan, he was ordered to leave and compensated for his land. Although not on this walking tour, the following two houses on Jeffreys Neck Road are quite important in the history of Ipswich.
The 1694 Paine House at Greenwood Farm on Jeffreys Neck Road is a Trustees of Reservations property. This saltbox is an outstanding First Period (1620–1725) home which housed three generations of the Paine family including Robert Paine, a former minister and later the foreman of the 1692 Grand Jury that brought indictments in the Salem witch trials. From 1916, Greenwood Farm was a summer retreat for the Robert G. Dodge family. When floor boards were removed in the rear of the building, a cellar was discovered which served as a milk room.
The Ross Tavern is now located at Strawberry Hill (also called the Wendell Estate) on Jeffreys Neck Road, across from Greenwood Farm. The structure was built in 1690 in downtown Ipswich and moved in 1735 to the southeast side of the Choate Bridge where it served as a tavern, store and boarding house. It was greatly enlarged over the years. In 1940 it was disassembled and the original First Period frame was restored and rebuilt at its present location.
Across the harbor from Town Wharf at 8 Agawam Street is the Martha Newmarch – Hannah Spiller, house, built in 1800. This house originally belonged to Zacheus Newmarch and was bequeathed by his granddaughter Martha Newmarch “singlewoman” to Hannah Spiller, daughter of her late sister Hannah Newmarch. Just beyond this house, on Spiller’s Lane, was the home of Thomas Hardy who arrived as an indentured servant but soon gained his freedom. His was reportedly the first frame house and the first well to be built in Ipswich. The well still exists was but filled in a few decades ago by the owner.
* The extended tour continues on Water Street from Town Wharf
Captain Samuel York built the large hip-roof house at 36 Water Street in 1715 after selling two smaller lots on East Street. The 2 story, L-plan house has a nearly symmetrical 5 bay facade. The interior and exterior reflect a long progression of 18th and 19th century alteration. The house became the property of Benjamin Averill in 1793 and continued in the family for many years.
Jabesh Sweet built the house at 32 Water Street on a quarter acre lot in 1713. This location was reputed to be haunted by the ghost of pirate Harry Maine who lived nearby. All the ministers of the Town assembled there one day and prayed, and the uncanny doings ceased. Harry Maine and a gang of outlaws called “wreckers” would build bonfires on the beach to lure ships to the shore at night, then plunder their wrecked vehicles. Legend says that as punishment Harry was chained to the Ipswich Bar and forced to shovel sand for eternity. When waves crashed over the sand bar during storms, locals would say “The Devil is raising Old Harry.”
The Harris – Stanwood house at 28 Water Street was built in 1696 by John Harris and passed on to his descendant Thomas Harris. It was purchased by John Stanwood in 1809. The house was expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the side addition with a bay window facing Water Street. Ornamental gardens grace the yard.
* Turn right on Hovey Street.
The B. Ellsworth House at 6 Hovey Street was built in 1870 by a son of Susan Treadwell and Benjamin Ellsworth. The senior Benjamin Ellsworth was appointed keeper of the Ipswich Range lighthouse on Crane Beach by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and remained in the post until his death in 1902. He was responsible for several rescues of shipwreck victims during his long stay. Three sons of Keeper Ellsworth fought in the Civil War, including Captain Thomas Ellsworth who received a medal of honor.
The John Kendrick House at 3 Hovey Street was the winner of the 2002 Mary P. Conley preservation award. Built in 1665, it is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include all front and side exterior features of the building, chimney, central frame and roof including primary and secondary members, wooden architectural elements including doors, paneling, molding, stairs, windows and frames, and other early detail of the 17th century house and its 18th century additions.
* Turn left from Hovey Street on East Street and retrace your steps to the corner with County Road.
*The short and extended tours continue on East Street in the direction of High Street.
Polly Dole house: This salt box house was built in 1720 and has elements from a previous house built in 1686. It has a large front living room with a low ceiling, wide board floors and a “walk-in” fireplace. The long “summer beam” in the middle of this room is suspended by a cable to the peak of the roof. The left side is smaller than the right, suggesting that it may have been originally built as a “half house” on the right side and the left addition added later. The house was built for Deacon John Staniford (1648-1730) and his wife Margareet, later sold to two women, Polly Dole and Lucy Fuller. John Updike lived in the house in the 1960’s.
The Moses Fellows house at 22 East Street was built in 1790. Moses Fellows lived from 1755 to 1846, fought in the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill and even crossed the Delaware with General George Washington. The house was apparently remodeled in 1873 to include ornate Greek Revival and Victorian elements.
The Dodge house at 18 East Street is an early 2nd period home built in 1725, and has a preservation agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include the front and side facades including the Beverly jog, center brick chimney and original fabric of the four fireplaces, wide board pine floors, and major members of the frame.
Lakeman – Johnson house, 16 East Street: Built about 1835, this is a good example of Ipswich’s typically conservative response to Greek Revival architecture, resembling a traditional 2 story, end gable wood frame house. It has an Asher Benjamin derived door frame at the center of its symmetrical 5 bay façade. Benjamin was an American architectural writer whose designs combined Federal style architecture and the Greek Revival style, a classical appearance popular throughout New England until the Civil War. The house has a preservation agreement with Historic New England
The Baker-Samuel Newman house at 14 East Street was built in 1725 and is a 2nd Period 2 story half house with a Beverly jog on the left. Mr. Newman was the town clerk and wrote a book, “Remembrances of Ipswich.” After moving to Danvers he developed a very successful grocery enterprise and was active with the Essex Agricultural Society. This house is protected by a preservation covenant between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include front and side facades, the Beverly jog, window frames and front door, wide pine board floors and major frame members.
The Nathaniel Harris house at 10 East Street is a Georgian style house built in 1819 on a section of land from the Baker Newman property next door. Harris’ tombstone at the Old North Burying Ground shows that he died at the age of 54 in 1831, but his widow Elizabeth Staniford lived into her 90’s. The county laid a pipe connecting a spring on this land to the house of corrections on Meetinghouse Green. It was later supplemented with a well.
At 9 East Street is the Foster Russell House, built in 1856 with an 1872 addition. The gable is oriented to the street as is common in the Greek Revival period. Deep rakes, wide cornice returns and fluted corner boards are also typical of the period.
8 East Street, the Matthew Perkins house was built around 1709 on orchard land with a timber frame and techniques common in England during the 17th century. It has overhangs on the front and side, a rear lean-to, an elaborate central pilastered chimney and one of the best Jacobean staircases in New England. In 1702 Captain Perkins’s company was sent to fight the French in Maine, and he commanded a larger expedition to Port Royal, Nova Scotia in 1710. In 1723 he owned a tavern “on the road to Jeffreys Neck.” This house was the winner of the 1991 Margaret Conley Preservation Award. It was once believed to be the John Norton – Rev. Thomas Cobbet house which stood nearby but was torn down between 1812 and 1818.
The Sadie Stockwell house at 7 East Street was built in 1888. It is an excellent example of the Victorian “Shingle Style” and “Queen Anne” architecture. Such houses are typically asymmetrical with roof sections of different pitch, turrets and bays with a minimum of trim, and shingles wrapping the house. The bold colors are a Queen Ann influence. Ornamental corbels (brackets) provide support for the steep overhangs.
6 East Street, the Daniel Russell house was built in 1818 on the site of the former John Norton – Rev. Thomas Cobbet house, and is said to have the old well from the original house in the cellar. The Rev. John Norton was the teacher of First Church in 1638, succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Cobbet, the last Oxford-educated minister in Ipswich. Although a former parishioner claimed he would rather hear a dog bark than hear Rev. Cobbet preach, he was respected and renowned for his prayers. At the outset of King Philip’s war, an Arosaguntacook Indian chief named Mugg who was a leader in the battles in Maine (known as the Eastern War) stopped in Ipswich to negotiate with Rev. Cobbet, whose own son was being held captive by his tribe. Mugg continued to Boston, having been promised safe passage, to negotiate a peace treaty with the British. Instead they held him in jail and Mugg became a bitter enemy.
4 East Street, the Old Methodist Parsonage was built approximately 1830. A close look at the building reveals that the original structure was almost identical to 6 East Street on the right, with similar chimneys in the same exact location. A Beverly jog was added on the left, and the house was greatly altered with Federal, Italianate and Victorian flourishes, including the transom over the doorway, pilasters, corbels and bay windows. Both houses have additions on the rear.
The 1750 Cordwainer’s shop on the south side of East Street has a frame saved from a building across the Ipswich River and moved to the Day-Dodge house property by historic house remodeler James Whidden, who died a few years ago at age 49. The exterior is entirely clad in white oak, the choice wood of early builders. A cordwainer is a person who makes shoes of fine leather as opposed to a cobbler who makes and repairs shoes.
The Day-Dodge house at the corner of North Main and East Streets was built in 1737. This unusual double house has two entrances and two asymmetrical fronts joined at a greater than 90 degree corner. The two halves of the house came to be owned by several members of the same family. The name comes from Nathaniel Day, who owned the property in 1737, and Isaac Dodge, who bought the other section of the house in 1762. The connection between the two men was the widow of Nathaniel who married Isaac.
At the head of North Main at 2 East Street is the Robert Jordan house built in 1863, a fine example of Italianate Victorian architecture. The rear of the property once featured terraced land used for orchards and the short-lived silkworm/silk industry of the1800s. Interesting architectural features of the house include the “belvedere” on the main roof, and a curved front stairway. This was the site of the haunted “Old Brick,” built by the esteemed Francis Wainwright. His widely anticipated wedding become his funeral when he died before guests arrived. Bricks from a second brick house on this location were used to build a house on Brown Square, still standing.
* Continuing across North Main Street you enter the High Street Historic District.
The Olde Manse, 1 High Street: The 2 1/2 story, gambrel-roofed house was remodeled for the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers in 1727, who upon arriving in town helped resolve the schism with Familistic Puritans who opposed any legal system. The portico and extensive dormer are Colonial Revival features. The house was operated as an upscale restaurant and inn by antiques collector Joseph Burnham in the early 1900’s. It is currently known as the House of Peace and offers refuge for victims of war .
The John Gaines house at 3 High Street was built in 1725. John Gaines II and Thomas Gaines were father and son wood turners. Thomas Gaines moved to Portsmouth NH where by 1740 he owned and operated a thriving chair-making company, and those chairs now auction for over $10,000. For many years the house served as the Episcopal rectory, and it was also the home of William Oakes, a horticulturist and educator. After he committed suicide his widow operated a boarding house here for students attending the Ipswich Female Seminary.
The Pillow Lace Site, 5 High Street commemorates the New England Lace Manufacturing Company. Ipswich was the seat of the hand-made pillow lace business, which flourished as a means of producing income by women during the Revolutionary War. By 1790 the annual production was 41,979 yards, and the craft continued until the introduction of lace machinery around 1838. This Heard family enterprise attempted to use the new knitting machines secretly brought over from England to make lace. Mulberry bushes were planted on the hill to provide food for silkworms, but the enterprise failed and the factory building was converted by Joseph Ross into a fine Federal three story mansion. The Ross Mansion was torn down in 1930 and replaced with a brick home.
The Joseph Newman house, 9 High Street: The house was built in 1762 by grocer Samuel Newman who also owned the Newman house we visited earlier on East Street.Joseph Stockwell Manning grew up in this house and received the Congressional Medal of Hornor for his actions during a battle in the Civil War. During a battle at Fort Sanders, Tennessee on November 29, 1863 Private Manning jumped into a ditch and found himself next to the color-bearer and 200 wounded Confederate soldiers. Manning demanded the immediate surrender of all of the soldiers and held them briefly until Union troops arrived.
The Wilcomb house, 13 High Street, was built in 1668 by John Edwards. He was one of several townspeople appointed to the office of Tithingman by the Selectmen and instructed “to inspect disorderly persons, and to present the names of single persons that live out from under family government, to enter ordinaries and inspect them, and whatever else tends to irreligion.” This 2 story house has a timber frame, a rear ell and a Beverly jog. The name of this house comes from a later owner, Captain Joseph Wilcomb who was pilot of the ship SS Malay owned by Augustine Heard.
The Thomas Lord house, 17 High Street. This house was built in 1658 by Thomas Lord, who is mentioned as a hatter or cordwainer (shoe maker) on property originally granted to his father Robert and mother Hannah Day. This house shows the basic form of the early saltbox houses with the roof sloping down to one story in the rear. The large chimney accommodates a massive central fireplace. The windows are 6 panes over 9, a common arrangement in early houses. The house remained in the Lord family for generations.
The Georgian style Haskell – Lord house at 21 High Street was built circa 1750 by Mark Haskell, an Ipswich cabinet-maker. Daniel Lord married Eunice, the daughter of Mark Haskell. This house is said to be on the site of a home built by early settler Robert Lord who was the town clerk until his death in 1683. He is said to have been short but strong and fearless, serving for over twenty years in the Indian wars. There is a legend that local Indians proposed to decide a dispute with a group of settlers by a wrestling match. Robert Lord walked to the front as champion of the colonists, and the Indians selected an almost seven foot tall member of their tribe. In this contest the two men were to meet at full run. The Indian was thrown repeatedly upon the earth several times, and they eventually acknowledged defeat.
The Edward Brown house at 27 High Street was built in 1650, making it one of the oldest houses in New England. The asymmetrical arrangement of the windows and the location of the chimney suggest that the first modest section of the house was on the left, and that it has been greatly expanded and remodeled over the years. Edward Brown married Faith Lord, making this another of the many Lord houses on the street.
The Waldo-Caldwell house, 33 High Street is an elongated salt-box built in 1660. The homestead was bought by John and Sara Caldwell from Deacon Cornelius Waldo and his wife Hanna Cogswell. This house is on the site of the earlier Gov. Simon Bradstreet and Anne Bradstreet house. Born in 1612 to a well-educated family in England. Ann married Simon Bradstreet at age 16. Two years later they immigrated to New England on the Arabella with one of the earliest groups of Puritans. During their years in Ipswich, her husband was frequently away and Anne was left to care for their eight children. Her poems were secretly published in England in 1650 under the title “The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America.”
The Lord – Baker house, 37 High Street, was built in 1720 and owned by blacksmith Robert Lord, descendant of settler Robert Lord. Many early details remain including raised field paneling, a summer beam and a huge fireplace, plus a Beverly jog on one side of the 2 story home. Robert Lord made the heavy leg-irons which later were used on the victims of the witch hysteria who were sent to Ipswich to await trial and execution.
41 High Street, the Daniel Lummus house was built in 1686, with an addition in 1746. After it was purchased a few years ago by Al Boynton and Kathy Bruce, they discovered hand-made plaster lathe, chestnut flooring, paneling similar to the nearby Day Dodge house, and a large hidden brick fireplace. The “Hall” (great room) fireplace contains 3 beehive ovens and features a built-in “Inglenook seat”, thought to be the only remaining example in the country. The hall has been restored to its First Period appearance. Stenciling in the parlor revives features introduced during the home’s first renovation at the marriage of cabinet-maker Daniel Lummus in 1747.
The John Lummus house, 45 High Street was built in 1712 on the foundation of the previous home of Governor Thomas Dudley who lived in the town for only 3 years. His daughter was Anne Bradstreet the first American poetess and wife of Simon Bradstreet, the last governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the 1960′s Phillip Ross won the Mary Conley historic preservation award for restoration of the house, which had fallen into ill repair.
57 High Street, the Stone – Rust house: This house was built in 1750 by Robert Stone and has many original features including wide pine floors. The separate barn was the blacksmith shop of William W. Rust Jr.
The Old Burying Ground was established 1634. Two of the first to be buried here were the wife and child of John Winthrop, Jr., son of the governor of Massachusetts and leader of the colonists who founded Ipswich. Many of the earliest grave markers were made of wood and no longer exist. Also here is the common grave of passengers who died when a schooner, the Deposit, ran aground in frigid waters close to the Ipswich Range Lights in 1839. From the sidewalk looking over the fence at the northern end you can see a slate-colored stone with the story of the Brig Falconer which was lost at Ipswich beach in December 1847. Twelve bodies of her crew were recovered and buried here.
* The short tour crosses High Street to # 68 High Street, The John Wood-Lord house, then continues in the reverse direction to North Main Street. * The extended tour continues on High Street.
73 High Street, the Nathaniel Lord house was built in 1720 and altered in 1847. Nathaniel Lord graduated from Harvard and spent 36 years as the Register of Probate in the Ipswich Court. His sons all entered the legal profession and one followed him in the same office. The western half of this house predates the eastern side and may have been constructed between 1652 when a carpenter named Walter Roper purchased the original house from Allan Perley, and Ropey’s death in 1680. Re-used beams in the basement may date to the original 1635 structure, but carbon dating and/or dendrochronology would be required to confirm either hypothesis.
77 High Street, the John Kimball house was built in 1680 and has a timber frame construction and a “Beverly jog” added on the left side for a second entrance. A chamfered summer beam is featured in the left front room, with wide-board tongue and groove wall boards. John Kimball was born in Rattlesden, Suffolkshire, England in 1621, and came to Ipswich on the “Elizabeth” from Ipswich England with his parents in 1634. He was a carpenter, wheelwright, farmer and apparently a proficient builder, but in his older years was declared insane. There are several Kimball houses nearby on High Street.
The Old Jail, 83 High Street was built in 1771 at the location of the David Kimball house on Meetinghouse Green but moved here in 1808. The new stone jail on Green Street was a notoriously cruel and controversial place. Sixteen British prisoners were kept hostage there during the War of 1812 and treated so cruelly that they were removed by the District marshal. In 1814 the Federalist-controlled state legislature ordered that all British prisoners of war be released in direct opposition to the mandate by President Madison that they be so imprisoned. A large new jail / insane asylum was built on the Green Street location in 1828 and torn down in 1933.
The Elizabeth and Phillip Lord house at 85 High street was built in 1774. In 1807 Elizabeth was widowed and sold 1/8 acre to John Kimball, who built and owned several properties in this vicinity.
The Simon Adams house at 95 High Street was built in 1700. Simon Adams was a soldier in the Narragansett Campaign against “King Philip”, the hostile Indian chief and his followers.
The right half of the Merchant – Choate House at 103 High Street is the original structure.A simple story and a half cottage was built here by William Merchant who arrived in Ipswich with John Winthrop and the first settlers. Dendrochonology tests date the oldest timbers in this house to about 1670. The section on the left was later added by Merchant and has finer woodworking. After his death the two sections were often occupied by different families, the Russells and the Lords. In Colonial days this was the last house on the road; common land was fenced off beyond it for livestock.
Town Farm Road: In 1753 the town granted this road along a line separating the salt marsh from farm land. Ipswich had operated a poorhouse since 1717 and in 1817 the town voted to buy the farm owned by John Lummus and allocated $10,500 to create a town farm. New farm buildings were added in 1838 and 30-40 poor people worked there with guidance and support. By 1880 the town farm system was no longer cost effective, serving primarily as a place of last resort for the elderly poor. Federal social relief programs instituted after the Great Depression, including Social Security, relieved communities of the need to provide that service and our town farm closed in 1928. A nuclear power plant was proposed for the town property at the end of the road in the 1970’s, but was defeated The town’s two windmills are located on that spot.
The Baker-Sutton House at 115 High Street in Ipswich was built in 1725 and displays late 1st period to 2nd period Georgian architectural elements. The antiques business that operates from this house features period architectural pieces. In the 18th century a guild of hatters all lived on High Street in Ipswich, including Samuel Baker and Richard Sutton.
*Reverse direction on the West side of High Street to continue.
110 High Street, the John Kimball Jr. house was built in 1730. High Street originally continued past this house until the first bridge over the railroad tracks was constructed in 1906. From 1900 when the first trolleys came to town until the bridge was built, passengers had to unload here to switch from the trolley from Newburyport to continue through Ipswich.
The “House with Orange Shutters” at 106 High Street (1st period) owned by Caleb Kimball, brother of John Kimball. The elongated 2 story end-gable timber frame structure was built in 1715 and has a large fireplace in the left side. The orange shutters have become a long-standing tradition. A few years ago the sills on this First Period house had rotted to the extent that the structure was leaning forward and in danger of collapse. Beams had rotted and braces had been cut, further weakening the frame. The late woodwright James Whidden jacked up the house and repaired the sills, posts and girts.
The John Kimball house, 104 High Street was built in 1715 and is one of four Kimball houses along High Street. In his old age the elder John Kimball was pronounced insane and placed under a guardianship. This 1st period 2 story timber frame house has an unusual elongated end gable. Inside, the large keeping room on the left has a chamfered summer beam and dark brown tongue and groove plank sheathing, while the rooms on the right side are smaller but with finer Federal finishing. The large Kimball Family, like the Lords, owned many properties along High Street.
88 High Street, the Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell house built in 1690. John Shatswell immigrated to Ipswich MA in 1633, was granted this piece of land and built the original house near the existing one. He is the earliest person in Ipswich to whom the title of Deacon was given. This House is one of the oldest residences in Town and remained in the family by inheritance from the time of the original grant. Hannah Dustin of Haverhill was born here while her mother was visiting her relatives, the Shatswells. She became famous for overcoming her savage Indian captors and scalpng them then making her way through the wildeness back to Haverhill to collect a considerable bounty.
82 High Street, the John Brewer House was built in 1700. This corner was known as Brewer’s Corner before it was Lord’s Square. He was the town clerk and being on the outskirts of town owned a considerable lot which he divided into sections and sold. In 1662 the town constables were ordered to pay him 20 schillings, charges he was due “about constructing the fort.” The senior John Brewer and his wife Mary Whitmore had a son, also named John, who was a tailor and is the likely builder of this house. On October 2, 1683, “John Bruer” was chosen Town Clerk and instructed to copy the two old Town Books (Town Records).
*Carefully cross at Lords Square. A Dunkin Donuts is on the right.
The intersection of High Street, Short Street, Central Street, Liberty Street and Linebrook Road is known as Lords Square. Asa Lord opened a store here in 1825, purchasing his first $200 of merchandise on credit. The business thrived, selling various merchandise including hardware, rum and spices. It was the town’s unofficial social center until its closing in 1930. The building was divided into two parts and moved, with the back ell going to Mount Pleasant Avenue. The store location is now a gas station. The Dunkin Donuts is where Captain Nathaniel Burnham operated a store, and next to it is the old fire station.
The French Canadian Marcorelle Brothers operated a store on Short Street behind Asa Lord’s store in a building constructed in 1872 which had once been Asa Lord’s barn. The building is still in use today.
The empty yellow building next to Dunkin Donuts is the Old Lords Square Fire House, constructed in 1865. It served as one of the town’s three fire stations, housing engine #2, the Neptune. The building was modest, and was replaced by the Central Street Fire station in 1906. Cabinetmaker Joseph Bakula purchased the Lords Square firehouse in 1930 and used it for several years as his shop. The additions are of later origin. Plans presented for a new Dunkin Donuts include demolition of this building.
The old Payne School sits on the other end of Lords Square between Linebrook Rd. and Liberty Street. It was moved to this location when the Old Fire House was built and was last used for students in 1942. Since 1972 the small building has served as the Ipswich School superintendent office.
Two historic houses are in walking distance on Linebrook Road :
At 41 Linebrook Road is the Old Cross Farm, built in 1716 by John Cross, part of a 25-acre working farm. The house was always a multi-family home with family members in both sides of the house. The house was restored in 1999 by the Copithorne family and the Ipswich Historical Society completed a grant study on the home documenting the deeds and each family that lived in the home. In 1750 Samuel Macintosh of Salem hand-carved the living room’s crown molding, wainscoting and fireplace surround.
The 1640 Hart House, 51 Linebrook Road: A tanner named Thomas Hart arrived from England with his parents in 1637 and in1640 built a one-room starter home, gradually expanded it. Thomas Hart was one of the town’s first selectmen. After his own mother was accused during the Salem witch trials, he rescued her from a prison in Boston. It is said that he is buried in a cellar under the house. The “Keeper Room” is actually an exact replica of that original first room, which was removed and reassembled as a display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The house has for many years been the 1640 Hart House restaurant.
*Rejoin the short tour on the south side of High Street.
At 68 High Street, The John Wood-Lord house was built circa 1725. Martha Rindge was widowed with small children after her husband Daniel disappeared in 1727 while on a fishing expedition to Penobscot Bay, attacked by Indians. In Puritan law an adult unmarried woman was a feme sole, could own property and sign contracts. A married woman was a feme covert and could not own property individually. Widows regained the status of feme sole but were allowed to keep only one third of their property, and the law required them to wait three years until re-marrying. The court allowed Martha Ringe to marry John Wood before the three years had passed “in order to advance her circumstances.”
The Georgian style John Harris – Mark Jewett House at 66 High Street was built in 1795 by builder John Harris. In 1784 the town poorhouse on Loney’s lane had fallen into disrepair, and John Heard convinced the town that if it would buy John Harris’ previous home at the corner of High and Manning, he would provide $400 annually for the care of the poor. The contract was so controversial with residents in the affluent Hamlet section of town that they succeeded in breaking away in 1793 to create the town of Hamilton. A later resident Mark Jewett contracted to rebuild the First Church. The finished work was accepted on the condition that he must repaint the pulpit “in a sacred color.”
The Henry Kingsbury house, 52 High Street: This large house dates back to 1660.The builder Henry Kingsbury was the original owner of this house, but like many houses on this street it was occupied by the Lord family and at one time was owned by 3 different people. This very attractive First Period house was owned later by Robert Lord, who helped draft the town’s first fire laws and personally inspected many town chimneys. The front is asymmetrical, and the west end is the older original section. Chamfered timbers can still be observed in the stone foundation supporting one of its chimneys. It was once used as a private school.
Mineral Street (called “dirty lane” in the 1600’s) crossed the wet area that was eventually drained in the early 1800’s and extended to Washington Street, known then as Gravel Street because of the gravel pit near that intersection. At the corner of Mineral and Central Streets is the red Ephraim Harris House, a First Period home built in 1695. The original section of the house was moved from Market Street to this location by Ephraim Harris, a builder.
Continuing on Mineral Street across Central Street is the old Wise Saddle Shop, circa 1801.
The tour continues on High Street.
The Ringe-Newman house, 44 High Street. The Anna Ringe and Elisha Newman house was built in 1780 and combines Second Period and Federal Period styling. The home has been restored, preserving high ceilings, wide pine floors and five fireplaces. Elisha Newman was a cabinet maker.
42 High Street, the Holland-Ringe house was built in 1742 (2nd Period) but has a Federal-style doorway. William Holland was wounded in the loss against the French at Cape Breton in Nova Scotia in 1745, was brought home and died. The house was sold to Daniel Ringe, another veteran of the French and Indian Wars. He sold the house to his son John Ringe, an esteemed Ipswich cabinet-maker. His widow divided the property and gave the land for the Ringe-Newman house next door to her daughter Anna Ringe.
The William Caldwell house, 40 High Street was built in 1733. Nathan Caldwell married the daughter of Elisha Newman and Anna Ringe, two doors down. It is now owned by the Rev. Rebecca Pugh of the First Church in Ipswich.
The White Horse Inn, 34 High Street was built in 1659. A tavern was established there with the same name as the tavern in Cambridge England where discussions first began that led to the rise of Puritanism. Owner Corporal John Andrews “offended the sensibilities of his neighbors by keeping open doors and open bar until past nine o’clock, encouraging young men in devious ways. Corporal John Andrews was for several misdemeanors complained of to this Court for selling wine by retail without license upon pretence of selling by the gallon.” A petition signed by many of the most prominent citizens led the Court to revoke his license, “by complaint of sundry offences.”
The Joseph Bolles house, 30 High Street was built circa 1720, an early 2nd period house. It has a symmetrical 5 bay Georgian façade with secondary entrances through a Beverly jog into an extended east side. Joseph Bolles was a carpenter and the son-in-law of Nathaniel Lord.
The Phillip Call house, 26 High Street is a 2 story timber frame First Period house built by cordwainer Philip Call about 1659. The evolution of this property to its current twelve rooms is an outstanding example of careful adaptation of various periods over four generations. Covered with Victorian trim before it was purchased by the current owners in 1967, its careful restoration uncovered such important elements as an outstanding chamfered 17th century summer beam, that defines the original 2 story house, first enlarged around 1725. Restoration also discovered 17th century field paneling behind new walls, and one of the last remaining three-hole privies in Ipswich.
The William Russell house, 12 High Street: Job Harris built a house on this location in the 1760’s. It was still standing at the time William Russell, who owned a dry goods store on Market Street, bought the property. Rather than tear down a serviceable house, he sold it and moved it to the other side of the block on Warren Street. When Russell bought the property, it was owned by Aaron Ross. This house is a Queen Anne period house, relatively unusual in Ipswich. The sitting room contains a fireplace decorated with sea serpents. According to tradition, this house had the first inside bathroom in Ipswich.
The Joseph Ross house, 6 High St: The Whittier Porter Funeral Home, a Victorian home built in 1890 by Joseph Ross (1822-1903). He was a contractor from Ipswich credited with designing and popularizing the horizontally folding railroad drawbridge. The Ross family in Ipswich descend from Killicross Ross, a Scottish soldier captured at the battle of Dunbar by Oliver Cromwell’s army. He was sold to Puritans who needed servants, and never returned to Scotland. He married a woman from Beverly. His son Daniel married into the highly respected Rogers family, and the assimilation of the family into the Puritan social structure was thus accomplished.
At 4 High Street is an 1850 Greek Revival home. Roger Derby and his wife moved to Ipswich in 1672 and lived near this location. They were among the “cursed set of heretics” called Quakers and were frequently found guilty of absence from the public meeting on the “Lords dayes” and for their frenzied noisy demonstrations outside the meeting-house. The two were warned, fined and dealt with harshly. A 1656 law forbade any captain to land Quakers, and none were suffered to speak with them. Stiff punishments included having ears cut off, the tongue bored through with a hot iron, being and tied to a cart’s-tayle and whipped through the town, and a sentence of death.
Turn Right on North Main Street. Entering the Meeting House Green Historic District
The Capt. Richard Rogers house at 58 North Main Street was built in 1728. A fine Georgian central hallway with a closed string-course balustrade and two chimneys suggest an early high-style Georgian influence. The front room has exquisite original paneling while the rear fireplace wall has very fine shell cupboards in bolection molding with fluted pilasters.
The Treadwell-Hale house at 52 North Main Street was built in 1799 by Joseph Hale on land previously owned by Nathaniel Treadwell III. The building has been used in the past as a general store and currently as a single family home. The recently renovated house has many details from the Georgian period of architecture, a rare hip roof, a “summer kitchen” fireplace in the basement as well as four other fireplaces.
The Greek Revival Sarah Lord house at 51 North Main was built in 1849. She was the wife of A. P. Lord, a storekeeper but contracted the house herself. The Asa Lord general merchandise store existed at Lords Square for 100 years. An earlier Sarah Lord born to Ipswich town clerk Robert Lord married Joseph Wilson of Andover. In 1692 she and her daughter also named Sarah were accused of witchcraft by that town’s own “afflicted girls.” Taken from their homes without warning, they and other women were carted off to Salem prison. Dudley Bradstreet, son of the former Governor issued the warrants as Justice of Peace. When a dog barked at his brother John the girls pointed John out as a witch as well. John fled to New York, and the dog was hung as a witch.
50 North Main, the James Brown house was built in 1720 at the intersection of the 1st and 2nd architectural periods. This 3/4 acre property had two houses and came to be owned by two families at the same until a petition to the town to divide the property was accepted. The long house on the property adjacent to the James Brown house was sold to Thomas Morley and to James Damon. Morley cut off his end of the house, turned it end to the street and made it into a separate dwelling at 48 North Main. Mr. Damon took down the remainder of the old dwelling and built the fine house at 46 North Main. Thus one lot became three, explaining why the houses sit close together.
49 North Main, the John Chapman house was built in 1770. John Chapman was a “leather breeches maker,” the only one of that trade in the town, so far as known, and he felt his business warranted building a spacious home. Breeches were a standard item of 18th Century gentlemen’s clothing with separate coverings for each leg stopping below the knee or to the ankles. They were fastened about the leg by buttons, draw-strings, straps, buckles or brooches. They fell out of use by the early 19th Century in favor of pantaloons and trousers.
* The tour turns left on Summer Street and circles back to this point, or continue on N. Main Street
At 3 Summer Street is the Benjamin Kimball House, a 1729 2 story, end gable building with a center chimney. This house is protected by a preservation agreement between its owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. The Benjamin Kimball house is First Period but has been altered with Georgian and Federal influences. Originally it was a two-room one-story house. For 50 years this house was the home of Harold Bowen who wrote the series “Tales of Olde Ipswich.”for the Ipswich newspaper.
The Widow Fuller house at 5 Summer Street was built in 1725. The house may be named after the widow of Captain Fuller who died at sea in 1825 at 35 years of age, leaving her with two infant children, the younger of whom was born four days before his tragic death.
The Thomas Treadwell house at 7 Summer Street was built in 1740, the 2nd period. The Treadwell family in Ipswich dates back to settler Thomas Treadwell in 1635. The names Thomas and Nathaniel were frequently chosen in subsequent generations. The widow of Thomas Treadwell retained 1/3 of the rooms in the house and part of the land under the right of dower. After her death Samuel Stone was able to purchase the balance of the house and land.
The Daniel Glazier House at 9 Summer Street was built in 1845.
At 10 Summer St is the Charles C. Cotton house built in 1838. The wide frieze board under the eave is indicative of the Greek Revival period while the front alignment and symmetry suggest the Colonial Cape style of architecture. Cotton conveyed the house to Foster Russell in 1841
The Nathaniel Hovey house at 11 Summer Street was built in 1718, the First Period of construction. The uneven layout of the front suggests that it was originally built as a half house and expanded. The ell on the left side appears to be a modification of a Beverly Jog. The Hoveys were among the original settlers of Ipswich. Nathaniel Hovey Sr. was born in Ipswich in 1668 but lived only to the age of 28, about the time of the birth of his son Nathaniel Jr. in 1696. The property on Summer Street belonged to the younger Hovey.
The Moses Harris house at 12 Summer Street dates to 1848. The gable end of the house faces the street with pilasters surrounding the front door, the roof rakes and cornice returns are wide, and the trim is painted green, all typical of the Greek Revival architectural era.
Ezra W. Lord built the house at 14 Summer Street in 1850. Although it faces the street unlike other Greek Revival homes, the prominent portico and columned portico distinguish this house from the Georgian-style homes of the previous century.
The Jonathan Pulcifer House, 15 Summer Street was built in 1718. Original architectural features have been re-exposed by the owners, including beams & posts, summer beam, and gunstock posts.
An innovation of the Greek Revival period was building homes with the narrower front gable end facing the street to represent a temple-like façade. The houses were usually painted white and featured dark green shutters. This house at 24 Summer Street built in 1870 has faithfully retained its Greek Revival appearance.
* The tour turns right on County Street
A couple of houses down on the left from the corner of County and Summer Streets is the 2nd period Abraham Knowlton house at 16 County Street, built between 1725 and 1750. Captain Abraham Knowlton was the son of Thomas Knowlton, also a jointer and cabinetmaker. The woodworkers fraternity in 18th century Ipswich included the Dennis and Knowlton families whose homes we are viewing. Abraham Knowlton in 1727 built the elaborate Rev. Nathaniel Rogers Mansion at the beginning of High Street known as the “Old Manse.”
Across from the Abraham Knowlton house is the Rev. Levi Frisbie house at 15 County Street. The Rev. Frisbie, pastor of the First church purchased the property, took down an old house and built this house in 1788. The house remained in use as a parsonage for many years. Since that time it has been enlarged and remodeled to be distinctly Federal in appearance.
Hoyt’s Veneer Mill / Daniels Shoe Factory: Benjamin E. Hoyt had a mill for sawing veneers on the east end of the dam (the EBSCO dam) which was afterward removed by James Wellington to this location at 17 County Street which was used for many years as a shoe factory by Wellington and Daniels in the upper story, and by Wellington for a dwelling house.
On the corner of County Street at 12 Green Street is one of the oldest homes in town, the Andrew Burley house built in 1688, with later Georgian features added. The structure served as Smith’s Tavern from 1760 to 1790. The house is now barely viewable from the road due to overgrown shrubbery.
* The tour turns right on Green Street
At 2 Green Street is the Perkins house, an 1860 home that demonstrates Italianate and early Victorian era influences on the prevailing Federal and Greek Revival architecture of the early 19th Century.
Meetinghouse Green on Town Hill was the governmental center for early Ipswich. By order of the General Court, dwellings had to be within one half mile of the Meeting house. In just a dozen years after 12 men led by John Winthrop landed, 146 families made their homes in this vicinity. On this green Minute Men prepared for the war that was then regarded as inevitable. A brick powder house was constructed nearby, which also served as a recruiting center for the Civil War. Meeting at or near the Green in 1687, the Rev. John Wise and selectmen were arrested and imprisoned for defying the levy of taxes by the government of Sir Edmund Andros.
* Several historic buildings are on your left as you reach Meetinghouse Green, then reverse an bear right around Meetinghouse Green
The Nathaniel R. Wait house at 33 North Main Street was built between 1859 and 1872. Wide roof rakes supported by corbels and dental molding are typical of the late Greek Revival era with Italianate influence. Wait was apparently a cobbler, having placed on exhibit at the Essex County Fair a pair of fishing boots judged excellent for their new pattern that had no seam inside which might hurt the foot.
31 North Main, the Methodist Church was built in 1859. The new steeple is a reproduction of the original damaged in the 1974 hurricane. The original bell now rings out from the new steeple, which also hosts a cell tower. The steeple is visible for some miles out to sea and was often used by mariners as a navigation landmark. The steeple is in the middle of the Ipswich town seal drawn by Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow in the 1800’s.
The Odd Fellows Building at 29 North Main Street was built in 1817 as a Probate Court and Registry. By 1884 a second floor had been added and it housed the Odd Fellows, Blake’s Drug Store and the Post Office. Court was held at the Green from early times under harsh Puritan law. Preliminary hearings for the Salem witch trials in 1692 were conducted here. Twenty Ipswich citizens sent a letter to the governor supporting John and Elizabeth Proctor, who were nonetheless found guilty, and he was executed. Women and men accused of witchcraft were held in the Ipswich jail before being hauled off to trial in chains; all but one were found guilty and executed. The Supreme Court convened its last trial in Ipswich in 1693 to try persons charged with witchcraft, all of whom were cleared.
25 North Main, the Public Library is an 1869 Greek Revival building. The library and the first books were a gift to the town from Augustine Heard. The wings on either side were added later. Augustine Heard and Company grew to become the largest American firm trading along the China Coast. He is said to have increased the family fortune in the opium trade. In 1828 Heard co-founded the Ipswich Manufacturing Company with George Farley and built a new dam to power machinery for the manufacture of cotton hosiery. Difficulties arose, Farley sold his interest to Heard, and the business was bought by Dane Manufacturing in 1846.
Bear right around the back side of Meeting House Green
Built in 1832, the Old Meeting House at 12 Meeting House Green was deeded to the First Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1838 by George W. Heard, Esquire and has served First church and the community of Ipswich as a Chapel and Meeting House. The historic building was recently restored.
8 Meetinghouse Green, the Rev. David Kimball house. The leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony located their second jail in Ipswich here in 1652. In 1808 the site was sold to Reverend David Tenny Kimball. The old jail was moved down High Street and he built this house. He was highly respected for his ministry and for his character. Kimball was a staunch abolitionist so it wasn’t surprising that many important people were entertained here, including Lyman Beecher, Daniel Webster, and the founders of the Ipswich Female Seminary, Zilpah Grant and Mary Lyon.
6 Meetinghouse Green, the Capt. Israel Pulcifer house was rebuilt in 1812 on the foundation of his existing house which had burned. A child sleeping in the house was forgotten until the last moment, but lived to a ripe old age. Originally a hip-roof Federal style house, restoration in the 1870’s added a Second Empire mansard roof. During the 1960’s the house was divided into apartments. The present owners returned it to a single-family residence in 1996. Miraculously, all original woodwork, wainscoting, molding, ornamental trim, a Samuel McIntire inspired carved mantle and Vermont slate roof all survived these changes and have been renovated to their original condition
2 Meeting house Green, Joseph N. Farley (mariner) ca 1842. The symmetrical 5 bay facade has a Greek Revival portico and door frame, horizontal flush board siding. Nathaniel Farley’s Mills ground the grist for many years. Joseph Farley his son was moved to more ambitious employment, and in 1827 built a new dam and the old stone mill for the manufacture of cotton cloth. By 1832 it had 3000 spindles and 60 looms. It spun No 30 to 32 yarn, used 80,000 lbs. of cotton, and made 450,000 yards of cloth a year. It employed on an average 18 males and 63 females.
*Turn right on North Main Street toward Summer Street
45 North Main, Isaac Flitchner: This house sits on the location of the former Captain John Lord house. In 1825 Isaac Flitchner moved that house to Washington Street and built this Greek Revival house. This was also the home of Justice Charles Augustus Sayward who tried the 18 defendants in the 1913 Ipswich Mills riot. The industrial reputation of Ipswich was vigorously defended by Judge Sayward, and he stated as untrue the testimony of a Greek girl Poulitsa Bizou who claimed she was paid $2 /week, but was actually paid 5 1/2 cents for each dozen pairs of stockings produced. Another Greek girl Nicoletta Paudelopoulous was shot and killed in the riot. The building now houses Morris Funeral Home.
47 North Main, the George Farley House: In 1888 Theodore Cogswell bought the ancient Dodge house built in 1660 and tore it down to build this large Victorian home for his daughter and her husband George Farley, owner of the Farley and Daniels shoe company. George and Joseph Farley on this street were descendants of General Michael Farley, representative from 1766 to 1774 to the Provincial Congress. When Lafayette came to Ipswich, he was met by General Farley, who in taking off his hat to salute the French nobleman, accidentally removed his wig as well. When Lafayette returned to the States for a visit in 1824 he alluded to this unusual form of courtesy.
*Reverse direction on the other side of North Main Street.
46 North Main, the James Damon house was built in 1866. Damon was a businessman who built the County Street Mill on Falls Island at Sawmill Point, as well as the “Damon Block” downtown in Ipswich. The 2 1/2 story wood frame house has a balanced 5 bay facade with Italianate window hoods, entry porch, quoins, bracketed and decorated cornice.
Harry K. Dodge bought the 44 North Main Street homestead of the widow Margaret S. Kendall, in 1886. He tore down the old house and erected this Victorian home.
42 North Main: John A. Johnson was a shoemaker who built this fine house in 1871. It has Italianate window surrounds and bracketed cornices. The 10 room house has 4 bedrooms and 2 formal living rooms with ceiling medallions, a butler’s pantry, 2 kitchens and 4 artisan-crafted marble fireplaces. The Johnson shoe store was down the hill on Market Street.
40 North Main, The Captain James Brewer house built in 1825 across from Meetinghouse Green. It has served as a general store and now is residential.
38 North Main, the Old Post Office was built in 1763, is part of the John Manning property and served as the shop of Daniel Rogers, a master silversmith who later moved to Newport RI. Silver spoons in a collection attributed to Smith have been sold for $400 each. The building was also the post office at one time. William G. Clancy grew up in this house, and was wounded during WWII in the battle of Loose, and again at the battle of Somme. On April 9, 1917 Clancy went over Vimy Ridge with a small American flag attached to his bayonet, and four days later was seriously injured when a German shell exploded near him. His charge was recognized as the first appearance of the U.S. flag in action during the war.He survived, returned to Ipswich and was shot and killed in his first year as a Boston police officer.
Dr. John Manning built the Federal style house at 36 North Main Street in 1765. He encountered great resistance from town people when he pioneered the development of a smallpox vaccine. When he drove his chaise to Boston to bring his sister-in-law back to the safety of Ipswich on the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill, he was allowed to enter Boston by first agreeing to treat British casualties of the battle. After returning to Ipswich with his sister-in-law, he spent that evening collecting medical supplies from Ipswich residents and then returned to treat casualties from both sides for seven weeks. Doctor Manning also built an unsuccessful wind-driven woolen mill on the site of the present Caldwell Block.
34 North Main: William Pulcifer a dry goods storekeeper built this Federal-era house/storefront in 1836. It is the only brick residence in the Meetinghouse Green historic District.
26 North Main the Agawam House: Nathaniel Treadwell built the second Treadwell’s Inn here in 1806 and kept his tavern until 1818, after which Moses Treadwell continued the business. For over one hundred years it was the town’s first-class hotel. President Monroe was a guest; Daniel Webster often stayed there while in town for sessions of the local court. In the late1800′s it was modernized with a mansard roof and other Victorian embellishments and renamed the Agawam house. It closed in the 1920′s and is now an apartment housing.
The Colonial Building at 22 North Main Street was built in 1904 as a failed commercial attempt by the Feoffees of the Little Neck Trust. One floor of the building was rented by the School Board in 1907 to accommodate the 9th grade.
First Congregational Church: When the Winthrop group of thirteen settlers came to Ipswich, “upon ascending the hill above the river they found an outcropping ledge of goodly extent, forming a sort of natural platform, and upon this rock they built their church.” This is the fifth church on this spot. The previous historic Gothic Revival church was hit by lightning in 1965, burned and had to be torn down. This green has always been the religious and governmental heart of Ipswich. A meeting house was built here by 1636. The original church was surrounded by a high wall to protect them from the ever-present danger of Indian attacks. Nearby were the stocks and whipping post.
The Devil’s Footprint: In front of the church imprinted into the rocks is the hoof print of the devil, which in 1740 was chased up the church steeple by the Reverend Whitefield, visiting minister from England during the “Great Awakening.” They wrestled like maniacs, pushed and shoved each other back and forth until they were face to face at the pinnacle of the steeple, with the horrified congregation watching below. Whitefield uttered forth with his commanding voice accompanied with a mighty push. The devil was hurled to the rocks below, landing like a cat on his feet and scrambled down the hill in terrified leaps and bounds, never to return.
21 North Main, the Theodore Cogswell house was built in 1880 in the popular 2nd Empire style, indicated by the Mansard roof. Cogswell was a grocer as well as clerk and treasurer of the Ipswich Savings Bank. He also built the Victorian “painted lady” on North Main Street for his daughter after demolishing a First Period home on that site.
19 North Main the Thomas Manning house was built in 1799 by John Heard for his daughter and her husband Dr. Thomas Manning. He bequeathed the greater part of his estate to the town for the purpose of building the Manning School on the site of the current Winthrop School. In 1858 this house became a parsonage for First Church. The cellar of the house is very large. According to oral histories the house was a stop on the underground railroad, and slaves slipped out through a tunnel leading downhill to the Ipswich River. This house is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. It was John and Thomas Manning from a previous generation who were charged in 1669 with dropping a calf down farmhand Mark Quilater’s chimney.
The Civil War Monument in the middle of this small triangular green was dedicated in 1871. 375 Ipswich soldiers served in the war, and inscribed on the monument are the names of the 54 who died.
18 North Main, the Charles Kimball house was built in 1834. Kimball attained honor as a colonel of the militia, a distinguished probate lawyer, and deacon of the Church. He was one of the original trustees of the Ipswich Female Seminary. The house shares a subdued Greek Revival style with the Stephen Coburn house next door. It is remembered as the home of the Manning School master.
16 North Main, the Stephen Coburn house, was built in 1845 in a Greek Revival style by postmaster Stephen Coburn. After the death of his widow it became the Lucy B. Coburn Home for the Elderly, a benevolent institution. In 1997 the house received an honorable mention for the Margaret Conley Historic Preservation award.
12 North Main, the Christian Wainwright house built in 1741. This house may be the first Treadwell’s Tavern, opened in 1727 by Captain Nathaniel Treadwell. John Adams visited Ipswich frequently during the 1770’s in his capacity as a lawyer. The actual Christian Wainwright house was moved by a subsequent owner of this house to Market Street and later demolished. She was the widow of John Wainwright, son of the rich and influential Colonel John Wainwright. The family fortune had been reduced and she sold the family estate on East Street and Jeffreys Neck to pay for the children’s’ education. Thus the senior Wainwright’s intent to retain the land forever in the family name came to an end.
8 North Main, the Ebenezer Stanwood house built in 1747. Ebenezer Stanwood was a peruke – maker (the wigs worn by 17th century gentlemen). The building was once a pharmacy and a tavern. The house is being restored and expanded as a multi-family residence. In the 17th Century this was the location of a well-known tavern operated by John Sparks but no elements of that structure are known to have been incorporated into this building.
The John Appleton house, 2 North Main Street: Colonel John Appleton was the son of settler Samuel Appleton and built this First Period house in 1707 after commanding a regiment in the expedition against the French at Port Royal. He was a leader in the “Andros Rebellion” for which Colonel Appleton and Major Samuel Appleton among others were jailed in Boston. In the1960’s, the Appleton house was purchased by Exxon so they could build a gas station on the site. The Ipswich Heritage Trust was formed and after intensive efforts saved the house, which is now protected by a covenant. This laid the ground for future covenants and the Ipswich Historical Commission.
The Christian Science Church was built in 1932 and sits near the site of the former Ipswich Female Seminary, which operated from 1828 to 1876. The last witchcraft trial in the United States was brought by a Christian Science follower from Ipswich. Lucretia Brown was a 50-year-old spinster invalid who believed she had been healed through Christian Science but suffered a relapse. In 1878 she accused excommunicated Christian Scientist Daniel H. Spofford from Newburyport of attempting to harm her through his “mesmeric” mental powers. Even though Mary Baker Eddy herself appeared as a witness, the judge at the trial in Salem dismissed the case.
A monument dedicated to the unknown dead who served during the Civil War was erected in the small green that splits North Main Street at Marketplace Square by General James Appleton and the Women’s Relief Corps in 1897 as a tribute of gratitude to those union soldiers and sailors whose last resting place is unknown. The land behind this sign was once occupied by a house. In 1733 John Stacey, being infirm, petitioned the Town “that there is a convenience on the northerly side of the Rock for setting an house upon” for selling cakes and ale etc. for his livelihood. This singular request was granted.
* Cross to Market Street
Market Street was originally a residential section of town on the primitive road that crossed a foot bridge over the river at the location of the dam. and then turned to go up Meetinghouse Hill. In 1639 Richard Lumpkin opened the second “Ordinary” in town to which the congregation would rush for warm food and warmer cheer after a long sermon in the cold meeting house. Devastating fires at the Central Street and Depot Square ends of the Market Street in 1894 were the incentive for developing a town water system and construction of the brick buildings in those locations today. The photo on the left shows Market Street in the 1800’s. Some of the historic houses still stand.
Sullivan Insurance is located in the colonial -style brick building known as the Abraham Wait house, constructed in 1832. Wait and his brother operated a shoe store on Market Street, and over the years the building has been used as a bank, business office, doctor’s office, and dwelling house. The last residential use was by two women, Ms. Wait and Ms. Russell.
20 Market St, the Stacey-Ross house was built in 1734. The 2nd Period building houses the law offices of Ross and Ross. The house was owned by Abigail Ross Kimball and her husband Eben Kimball in the second half of the 19th century.
The large Victorian Bailey House at 48 Market Street was built in 1901. The Shingle Style was the last of the elaborate Victorian architectural forms, and represented the beginning of a return to traditional American practicality. Windows had no classical pediments and the Gingerbread cornice woodwork of earlier Victorian styles is absent. Towers and turrets blend into the roofline of the house rather than being strictly defined.
*Return and cross the Choate Bridge to South Main Street
The Choate Bridge is the oldest double stone arch bridge in America, built in 1764, designed and supervised by Colonel John Choate. A popular tale is that his horse was tethered nearby so that if the bridge collapsed when the wooden arches were removed he might mount and ride out of town, probably untrue. Col. Choate was one of the Judges of the General Sessions Court. After his death, the Court ordered that “Choate Bridge ” be engraved on the corner stone. The bridge was widened in 1838 and underwent restoration in 1989.
The Sherborne Wilson house built in 1685 sits just past the Choate Bridge on the left side at 4 South Main Street. Sherborne Wilson apprenticed as a carpenter. Because of the importance of his barrels, he was allowed to cut large amounts of white oak from the town commons. Having some money in his family, Wilson sold his first home and built this one by the river. It is said that his shop was the starting point for Thomas Dennis who became famous for his cabinetry and woodworking.
The Timothy Souther house at 31 South Main Street was built on this location in 1726, but it is probable that this building was moved here. Souther was one of a dozen residents “warned out” as being undesirable but managed to continue his residence. The house has also been attributed to Isaac Fitts born in 1675, and the property may have once belonged to Arthur Abbot who joined John Winthrop in 1634 as an original settler of the town.
The former Baker’s Clothing Store at 37 South Main Street was built in 1828 and has a combination of Italianate and Greek Revival elements. The other Baker’s Store building next to the Choate Bridge burned after the Mother’s Day storm of 2006. The Joseph Manning house next to it was moved closer to the bridge early in the 20th Century to build the town’s first automobile sales and repair buildings, still standing. This building now houses Fiske and Freeman Fine and Early Antiques. Fiske is also the editor-in-chief of the New England Antiques Journal.
The Old Town Hall at 30 South Main Street was built in 1833 to be the home of the Unitarians. They weren’t successful in maintaining their membership, and sold this the first Greek Revival building in Ipswich to the town in 1843 for use as a town hall. In 1866, a piece of land on the south side of the lot was purchased, the Town Hall was moved to the center of the lot and remodeled. The lower floor was raised to a second-story level and a new first floor was built. Currently the building is privately owned but is not being used and is in litigation between the owners and the Town of Ipswich.
The Hall Haskell house, 20 South Main Street is the Ipswich Visitor Center. Charles Hall, a mariner bought the land in 1800. It was used as a store below, residence above, and sold to Mary Haskell in 1825. The roof was later changed from hip to gable, and the property became part of the Heard estate. In the 1980′s the house was in bad condition and came close to being demolished by the town. It was saved due to the efforts of Vivian Endicott, Paul McGinley and other local citizens who raised funds and restored the house. The Visitor Center is open throughout the summer months.END OF TOUR.Take the Riverwalk pedestrian bridge back to the start location at the Ipswich Mural.
A Walking Tour and History of Ipswich Copyright © 2014 Gordon Harris, Ipswich MA