Gravel Street and the gravel pits are shown in the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich
One of the older established ways in town, Washington Street may have started as a footpath for Native Americans long before John Winthrop and the first settlers arrived.
Today’s Washington Street was called once called Bridge Street, and for two decades was known as Gravel Street for the two gravel pits on the hillside. It took a right turn to High Street at Lords Square on what is now Liberty Street. At about the same time that Central Street was created in 1870, Gravel Street was extended to Linebrook Road, reconstructed and renamed Washington Street. The section near Lords Square was renamed Liberty Street. A late 19th Century building boom on these two streets and the new Mount Pleasant subdivision added Victorian houses to the old colonial neighborhood.
Before Washington Street was reconstructed in 2011, it had become an eyesore with huge swaths of cracked pavement and a buckling sidewalks (when there was one at all.) The redesigned road is a tremendous improvement in aesthetics and safety. Visitors see a well-preserved neighborhood that compliments the historic character of our town, and the community has a safer way to walk to stores, schools and Bialek Park.Color photos below are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties site for the Town of Ipswich.
Washington and Liberty Street houses
- Information is from MACRIS, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Photos are from the Ipswich Patriot Properties database.
Mary Holmes house, 10 Washington St. The house was Constructed before 1770 on N. Main St., moved to this location in 1888.
Patrick Riley House, 12 Washington St. This house was built between 1872 and 1884 for Patrick and Ellen Riley. Riley was a farmer and he and his wife lived at #16. It appears that after the house at 12 Washington was built, the Rileys rented it out and remained living at #16. By 1924 this house was occupied by Maurice and Mary Blaquiere. Maurice is listed in town directories as a clerk.
Patrick Riley House, 16 Washington St., built ca. 1865 for Patrick and Ellen Riley. They are also responsible for construction of the house at 12 Washington which stood on the same lot as late as 1910. Patrick Riley is listed in town directories as a farmer. By 1924 this house was occupied by Isaac W. Mitchell, a carpenter. JP LaVallee adds, “My Mom’s maternal uncle, Jacques Trudel, lived at 16 Washington Street with his spouse, Lucia, and they raised two children there. Jacques was the organist and choir director at Saint Stanislaus Church for many years, and taught many people in town piano lessons for many years.”
Sanford Peatfield House, 18 Washington St. This house appears to have been built for Sanford and Mary Peatfield around 1860. The Peatfield family came from England in 1827. His brother James was responsible for inventing a warp machine, after which he began manufacturing woolen underwear. He is considered one of the first in the country to do this. Sanford and James Peatfield built a brick mill on Washington Street (approximately where Hammett Street now intersects Washington) and continued making woolen underwear until about 1877. Sanford Peatfield died by 1884 and his wife continued to occupy this house. By 1910 it was owned by B. Kaufman who operated a scrap iron yard at the back of the lot.
E. Bray – Daniel Nourse House, 32 Washington St. The house was built ca. 1865 and by 1872 was owned by E. Bray, Town directories contain no information about Bray. By 1884 it was owned by Daniel P. and Sarah Nourse. Nourse died by 1888 and the house was sold. By 1916 it was occupied by Dennis and Nora Moynaham, Dennis is listed in town directories as a mason.
Michael Laffy – Chapman – Morrill House, 31 Washington St. This house was built between 1872 and 1884. By 1884 it was owned by Michael Laffy; Laffy is listed in town directories as a laborer. By 1910 the house was owned by Walter Chapman, a farmer who lived on Pineswamp Road and presumably rented this house. By 1916 the house was occupied by Euclid A. and CharoletteB. Morrill. By 1924 it was occupied by Insurance agent William F. Connor and his wife Mary.
Charles H. Bell House, 1890 35 Washington St., 1890.
Charles Grossman – Denis Doucette, House, 1890 37 Washington St. This house was built between 1884 and 1902 and was probably one of several in the area built by the Brown family. Prior to construction of the house, land on which it stands was part of a much larger parcel belonging to George B. Brown. Brown operated a large hay & grain business nearby at Brown Square and lived on Liberty Street. By 1916 this house was occupied by Charles (& Mary) Grossman and Denis (& Maggie) Doucette. Grossman is listed in town directories as a teamster and Doucette as a carpenter, By 1924 the house was occupied by William Cewke, a mill operative.
George Brown House, 41 Washington St., 1883. John A. Brown sold this lot to George B. Brown in 1883 and he built a house shortly thereafter. Brown’s house is one of the few Stick Style homes in Ipswich. Brown built a grist mill, also located on Washington St., in 1881. He started with a single team and by 1888 employed 6 men. Brown was the first in the area to install a roller mill, which removed all foreign iron substances from the grain before it entered the mill. This new method was known for saving machinery wear and produced cleaner, better grain.
Geanakos Grocery Store, 42 Washington St., 1938. This small grocery store was built between 1936 and 1940, and was operated by Christ G. Geanakos as a grocery store. Geanakos lived at 1 Burley Avenue.
Howard Hill House 44 Washington St., 1905. The house at 30 Washington Street was built between 1902 and 1907. It appears to have been constructed for Howards. Hills who lived here by 1910. Hills was manager of Russell’s Ideal Lunch at Depot Square.
James Peatfield – J. S. Marble House, 46 Washington St. 1860. This two-family house was built ca. 1860. A map of 1872 identifies J. Peatfield and J.S. Marble as the owners. This probably refers to James Peatfield. Peatfield was born in England in 1803 and came to America in 1827. He worked in Ipswich as a machinist in the lace factory of the Heard Brothers and built one of the first lace machines in this country. He was also responsible for inventing a warp machine, after which he began manufacturing woolen underwear. He is considered one of the first in the country to do this. Together with his brother, Sanford, Peatfield built a brick mill on Washington Street and continued making woolen underwear until he retired in 1877. By 1884 the house was owned by Charles S. Wlllcomb, a gateman for the railroad at the Linebrook Road crossing. By 1910 Baker had sold to T.K. Lord, and by 1916 the house was occupied by Abner H. & Elizabeth L. Gray and Noel & Serephine Boucher.
George W. Smith – Pickard House, 53 Washington St., 1880. The house at 43 Washington Street was built between 1872 and 1884. The earliest owner to be identified is George W. Smith who owned the house by 1884, Smith is listed in town directories as a flagman for the railroad. By 1910 the property was owned by Henry A. Pickard and occupied by Clarence, Ernest, and Henry A. Pickard. Ernest worked at one of the mills, while Henry was a carpenter. Packard owned the house as late as 1924.
Ephraim Goodhue House, 56 Washington St., built between 1872 and 1884. The earliest owner identified is Ephraim Goodhue, listed in town directories as a blacksmith and grocer with a shop of Pleasant Street. The early maps show a second building on this lot that was probably his shop. By 1902 the house had been converted to two-family use. By 1916 it was occupied by Mrs. Mary King and Leo & Margaret Meunier. Leo Meunier is listed in town directories as a mason. By 1924 the house was occupied by Lawrence & Georgina Gallant and Joseph & Veronique Peter.
From JP LaVallee: “My Mom and her family grew up on 56 Washington Street. Her parents, Arthur Raymond Martel (born on Labor in Vain Road) and Stella (Trudel) Martel raised their nine children in that house in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. In the 60s, the house was given to her eldest sibling, Mary Anne (Martel) Hall, and she then raised her five children there until the house was sold circa 2000. “
Charles W. Bamford House, 59 Washington St., built between 1884 and 1888 for Charles W. Bamford. Bamford was, at various times in his career, Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Justice of the Peace. Bamford owned the house as late as 1910. Read more
D. Haskell – F. G. Ross House, 78 Washington St.,1835. This is a story-and-one-third cottage with elements of the Federal style. Federal features include the narrow doorway with plain frieze and cap, the narrow cornerboards and lack of eave overhang. The Federal trim and substantial chimneys identify this house as perhaps the earliest of the many story-and-one-third 19th century cottages which survive in the Linebrook area. The house was owned in 1856 by D. Haskell. By 1910 it was owned by Mrs. F.G. Ross and the site had acquired four barns.
Levi Howe house, 11 Liberty Street, 1857-65. This house does not appear on the 1854 map of Ipswich, but by the time of the 1872 map, the house was in place and Levi L. Howe, a farmer, was in residence. The Howe family owned the house until 1953. The Howe House is perhaps the finest example of the Gothic Revival Cottage style in Ipswich, fairly conservative in its expression of the style.
Charles Brown house, 12 Liberty St. was built between 1884 and 1902. The earliest Identified owner is Charles E. Brown, proprietor who owned the house by 1910. Brown and his son .Walter 6. Brown, operated a brick manufactory and contracting company (Charles E. Brown & Son) that was located on Locust Road at the turn of the century and later on Mitchells Road. In 1916 there were several people living here, including William and Laura Wright, Mrs. Rebecca Leeman, and Joseph and Clara Jenest. William Wright is listed is town directories as a driver and Joseph Jenest as a mill operative. By 1924 this house was occupied by Carleton H. Crafts and his wife Ethel. Crafts was in the insurance business.
Davis-Russell house, 15 Liberty Street, circa 1870. The earliest identified owner is C.W. Davis who owned the house by 1872. By 1884 the house had been sold to John W. Russell, a freight agent. Russell continued to own the house into the 1920s. By 1932 the house was occupied by Odilon G. Chouinard, a carpenter and Nelson J. Chouinard who operated an express and trucking service on this property called “Anthony’s Express.”
William Nutt house, 18 Liberty Street, Built by John Brown in 1885. The houses at #16 and # 18 Liberty Street were built between 1884 and 1887 by John A. Brown, a brick manufacturer and lumber dealer, probably in association with C.E. Brown & Son. Charles E. Brown undertook some speculative development on Brown Street and it appears that John Brown did the same here on Liberty Street.