Turkey Shore, a Colonial and Victorian neighborhood

Land grants on Turkey Shore
Early land grants on Turkey Shore, from the book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

From the earliest times, the land along the south side of the riverbank was known as Turkey Shore, but no one knows why. In the mid-19th Century, it was given the “more proper” name of Prospect Street, but by the 20th Century it had regained its colorful original name.

When Roger Preston arrived in Ipswich, he first purchased a lot along the river near what is now the intersection of Turkey Shore and Labor in Vain roads at or near where the Nathaniel Hodgkins house still stands. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that “evidently the neighborhood did not prove popular” and by 1644 every lot had been transferred. The corner of Poplar Street, and the section of Turkey Shore Rd. from Green St. to Labor in Vain have houses dating to the 17th and 18th Centuries. In the early years, the land from Poplar to Green Streets along the hillside was farmland, originally known as “Appleton’s Lot,” although it seemed to change hands frequently. In 1770, John Heard’s rum distillery, which later became a tannery, was constructed near the intersection with Poplar Street. Hunt’s Wharf, later known as Dodge Wharf, was nearby.

Very few houses are shown in the stretch between Poplar and Green Streets in the 1884 Ipswich map. Land on the hillside and along the river bank began to be sold for development at about the time that ships quit coming into the cove to the industries on County Street. The Green St. bridge was constructed in 1880 as a response to demands from the residents on Turkey Shore, and wholesale development of a late Victorian neighborhood followed. Many of the current houses appear in the 1893 Birdseye map of Ipswich; construction of the new Turkey Shore neighborhood was almost complete in the 1910 village map.

Birdseye map of Turkey Shore in 1893
Turkey Shore, Woods Lane and Labor in Vain Rd. are shown on the opposite side of the River from the old Green Street Jail in this closeup from the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye map.
Photo circa 1900 of Turkey Shore from Water Street by Arthur Wesley Dow.
Photo of Turkey Shore from Water Street by Arthur Wesley Dow, around the year 1900
Turkey Shore, photo taken by Edward Darling from the roof of the Ipswich Female Seminary on North Main Street, circa 1900. The large building housed workers at the County Street mills. A similar mill housing building still stands near the bridge. To the right of it are the tannery, shown in the 1872 Ipswich map. In the 1832 Ipswich map, the buildings are G. W. Heard’s house and distillery. The houses are shown in the 1910 Ipswich map.
Sketch of the Heard distillery in 1750. After it ceased operations in 1830, Edward Plouf operated a tannery at the location.
Turkey Shore, photo from the County St. Bridge, 1900
The Green Street Bridge, and Turkey Shore on the right. Photo taken from Great Cove, circa 1900.
View of Summer St. from the little park on Turkey Shore. Photo by Edward L. Darling.

Boardman house, Turkey Shore Ipswich, 1725 67 Turkey Shore Road, the Stephen Boardman house (1720) - This house is named for Stephen Boardman, the son of Thomas Boardman and Sarah Langley. He and his wife Elizabeth Cogswell moved to Stratham, NH where he made a name for himself as a vocal supporter of the American revolution.The wide pine board floors in the house are original, and 4 restored fireplaces share a central chimney.
63 Turkey Shore Road, the Isaac Foss house (1870) - Mary Appleton, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Appleton married, first, Mager Woodbury at 67 Turkey Shore Rd., and had two children. Mary Appleton Woodbury died in 1828; He died in October 1837. Their daughter Mary married Thomas McMahon at the old Abraham and Elizabeth Soward house at this […]
59 Turkey Shore Road, the Elizabeth and Otis Glover house (c 1870) - Elizabeth Glover, wife of Otis Glover, inherited the property at 59 Turkey Shore Road from her father, Abraham Soward. She moved the old house off the lot and built this large Queen Anne house on the location. Her husband Otis Glover was in the Civil War from 1861 to 1864, and lived until 1903.
49 Turkey Shore Road, the Austin Measures house (1874) - Austin Measures’ Candy Shop was first located in a small building on North Main Street, and later on Central Street. This house was built in 1874. The low-pitched roof, window hoods and corbels supporting the flat roof portico are of Italianate influence.
Nathaniel Hodgkins house, Turkey Shore Road 48 Turkey Shore Road, the Nathaniel Hodgkins house (1720) - The house at 48 Turkey Shore Road is believed to have been built by Nathaniel Hodgkins in 1720 on land formerly owned by Daniel Hovey. The gambrel roof indicates early Georgian era construction, and the rear ell was almost certainly constructed at the same time as an attached living area or kitchen, connecting to a utilitarian building. A second floor was added to the ell in the 19th Century.
41 Turkey Shore Road, the William Howard House (c.1680/ 1709) - William Howard, hatter, bought this lot in 1679 from Daniel Ringe. Architectural evidence suggests that Howard removed the 1638 home of Thomas Emerson and built the left side of the present house about 1680. The right side was added in 1709. From 1891 to 1906 Arthur Wesley Dow and his wife ran the Ipswich Summer School of Art here.
Heard-Lakeman house, Poplar St., Ipswich 2 Turkey Shore, the Heard – Lakeman House (1776) - Nathaniel and John Heard bought this land in 1776 and built the present house. Nathaniel sold the house to Richard Lakeman III in 1795. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
17 Turkey Shore, Ipswich MA 17 Turkey Shore Road, the John Edward Norman house (1895) - John E. Norman was in command of the ship "Rival" which was lot at sea with all hands in about 1870. The Captain was only twenty-eight years old, leaving a widow and a young family. This house is presumed to have been built by his son, John E. Norman, 2nd. John Edward Norman 3rd was born in 1897, served in the World War, and sold the house in 1935 to John H. Hill.
Burnam-Patch House, 1 Turkey Shore 1 Turkey Shore Road, the Burnham-Patch-Day house c 1670-1730 - This house has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission. The house was built by Thomas Burnham in 1730 on the foundation of the earlier house he bought in 1667. The large ell on Poplar Street was added in the early nineteenth-century. Abner Day bought the house of the heirs of John Patch in 1814 and kept a well-known tavern.

Houses on Turkey Shore

Further reading:

Thomas Franklin Waters, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol. II

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