Agawam house, Ipswich MA
Photo by Ipswich photographer George Dexter, by 1900.

In 1727, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell “inn holder” (1700 – 1777) opened an inn in the house at 12 North Main St. in Ipswich, still standing. John Adams visited Ipswich frequently during the 1770’s in his capacity as a lawyer and always stopped at Captain Nathaniel Treadwell’s inn.

Closeup from the 1832 Ipswich map
Closeup from the 1832 Ipswich map

A later Nathaniel Treadwell built the second Treadwell’s Inn at 26 N. Main 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, and Daniel Webster often stayed there while in town for sessions of the local court. The most famous guest was the Marquis de LaFayette, who was entertained for several hours on Aug. 31, 1824 before continuing on his day’s journey to Newburyport.

Treadwell’s Inn was a three story building with a Federal-style hip roof. The Second Empire-style mansard roof and fourth floor were added in the second half of the 1800’s when it was renamed the Agawam House. The upper porch and tower had not been added when this photo was taken.

The inn originally had a hip roof and probably looked somewhat similar to the Heard House (Ipswich Museum). In the late 1800′s Treadwell’s Inn was modernized with Victorian architectural elements, a Mansard roof, generous front porches and a tower. The inn was renamed the Agawam House and continued as the town’s first class hotel until it closed in the late 1920′s.

Charles Lamson purchased the building, removed the porches to add rooms, and converted the inn into apartment housing. The old inn still stands next to the Colonial Building, wrapped in faded aluminum siding. The building is long overdue for renovation, its former glory unrecognizable. If you stand across the street on the rocks in front of First Church you can see its Victorian tower and Mansard roof.

Postcard of the Agawam House after the porches and tower were added in the late 1800’s.
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The Agawam House still stands on North Main St. today, unrecognizable.