20 Market Street, the Stacey-Ross house (1734)

20 Market Street, the Stacey-Ross house (1734)

The Stacey-Ross house at 20 Market Street in Ipswich was built in 1734. The Stacey-Ross house is unique as a surviving early eighteenth-century building that was moved 100 years after its construction, and still survives in its “new” home on Market Street almost 175 years after its move.

Market Street Ipswich historic buildings

In 1733 John Stacey “being incapable of labor” petitioned the town “that there is a convenience on the northerly side of the Rock by Ebenezer Smith’s for setting a house upon.” and requested that he may “obtain a grant for settling a house for selling cakes and ale for his livelihood.” Stacey’s petition was granted, and the house was constructed on a rocky ledge in front of today’s Christian Science Church where the short section of North Main meets South Main. Today that location is a small green.

John Stacey died in 1735, and his widow Jemima sold the property to John Wood, who immediately sold it to Samuel Ross, blacksmith in April of 1737. Ross built a blacksmith shop. The property was sold in 1794 to Samuel Ross Jr. and Joseph Lakeman Ross.

In 1834 Joseph Wait and 194 other petitioners begged the town to purchase and remove the house, shop and bam of J.L. Ross in order to relocate the road to the bridge. Ross was paid $800 by the Essex County Commissioners. He then moved the buildings to Market Street, slotting the house in between the Moses Lord House to the east and the John Holland house to the west. Ross bought the Moses Lord House next door on Market street that same December. Ross continued to live at his new compound until his death in 1850 at age 84.

Ross’s daughter Abigail married brick mason Eben Kimball some four years after her father’s death when she was thirty-nine years old. The census of 1860 shows the Kimballs in residence along with Mary Ross age 61 and Polly W. Ross, Abigail’s mother, age 85. Map legends for maps of 1872, 1884, 1897, 1902 and 1910 list the property as a “dwelling” and associate it with “heirs of J. Ross.”

By 1919 boot and shoe-maker Gus Vlahos appears in the Directory at the Stacey-Ross house. By the close of World War IL the small house had found another life as a package store under the management of F.H. Lesveque, and by 1959, Lesveque had been joined by CD. Costopoulous, barber. In November of 1967 attorney Arthur Ross bought the old house and still houses the law offices of Ross and Ross.

The early fabric of the house is hidden by the two buildings crammed against its sides. The second floor shows the presence of elaborate Georgian decoration, with a dentilated cornice and step-back architraves above each window let into the cornice on the east side of the house. The five evenly spaced windows along the east facade at the second floor suggest that it was once the house’s original five-bay front facade.

Source: MACRIS

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