Many of the mansions of the North Shore are reminders of the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th and early 20th Century, a time of concentrated wealth as well as deep poverty. During this period of unprecedented economic and industrial expansion, approximately 10 million European immigrants came to the United States to find work. The Gilded Age saw its end with the Panic of 1893, a growing labor movement, and the Great Depression. Many of the great estates and mansions of the North Shore were donated to non-profit organizations or the state, while others were torn down to lower property taxes.
Four communities in Massachusetts, including Ipswich have a Great Estates Bylaw to encourage appropriate development and preservation of large estate properties, providing an alternative to demolition. The following stories are about large estates and grand houses in the Ipswich area.
Turner Hill - Brief excerpts from “A Short History of the Rice Estate, 1890-1945” by Rev. Robert F. Ippolito, M.S., published in 1976, with pictures from the October 1903 issue of “Architectural Review.” Additional photos from the Turner Hill Residential Community site. Anne Proctor was born on September 18, 1869 in Peabody Massachusetts, and married Charles G. Rice … Continue reading Turner Hill The Amazing Life of Nancy Astor - If you look at an online map you will often see a reference to “Nancy’s Corner” at the intersection of Highland Street and Cutler Road in Hamilton. I started researching who this Nancy was and discovered an amazing story. Nancy Witcher Langhorne was the daughter of a Virginian slaveholder whose family fell into poverty after the … Continue reading The Amazing Life of Nancy Astor Fall of the House of Searle - The summer estate of Charles P. Searle on Jeffreys Neck Road, which he named Inglisby, was built in 1910. It is situated on an expansive terrace where one could look out beyond the fields at the extensive salt marshes. The mansion was designed in the form of a Florentine villa, and the living room and … Continue reading Fall of the House of Searle
Fairview, a Tudor Revival mansion - Hidden in the woods near the corner of County Rd. and Lakeman’s Lane is a beautiful “Tudor Revival” house, built in 1900 for Charles A Campbell. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about the early history of the property in Volume II, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: “On the east side of the Bay Road, the great tract of pasture, tillage … Continue reading Fairview, a Tudor Revival mansion Heard House (Ipswich Museum) - The Heard house on South Main Street is a Federal-style structure built in 1795 by wealthy John Heard. Before the Revolutionary War he had invested in the rum factory on Turkey Shore Road along the river bank where they unloaded barrels of West Indies molasses, and he later helped start the Ipswich Mills. His son Augustine Heard … Continue reading Heard House (Ipswich Museum) Argilla Farm, 107 Argilla Road - The Ipswich Historical Commission “Partial List of Historic Houses” prepared by Susan Nelson dates the house at 107 Argilla Rd. between 1734 and 1785 with later alterations. However, Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the following for the Ipswich Historical Society in December 4, 1899: “Allen Baker built the substantial hip-roofed farm house nearby early in the present (19th) … Continue reading Argilla Farm, 107 Argilla Road