The building at 57 South Main Street was erected by the Ipswich Mills Corporation for use as a boarding house, after it bought the existing 1723 house and land from Wesley K. Bell on May 4, 1876 (952: 164).
In the early 20th Century, Madeline Linehan operated the Ipswich Mills Tea House in the former boarding house. The Tea House was popular with tourists who came there to hear about the history of the town. Mrs. Linehan, who lived in the “Philomen Dean house” next door, was a noted home economist and a graduate of the Fannie Farmer School of Cookery in Boston and Columbia University. She later moved to Gettysburg PA where she was a well-known cooking instructor.
As the women’s movements began to build strength in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, “tea rooms”emerged as places where women could meet and discuss issues. As women gained the freedom to go about on their own without breaking social taboos, tea rooms were places that women could visit freely with each other.
In the 1920’s Nellie Huckins purchased the Gables on the South Green and operated a tea room in the building. Her husband Joseph A. Huckins was superintendent of Highways.
- Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol. 1, page 459
- Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds (952: 164)