The self-guided Walking tour of historic Ipswich was developed by town historian Gordon Harris. It is offered as a free resource, which you can view online or download as a PDF document.

walking_tour_map
Complete Walking tour of all four Ipswich Historic Districts. 

Location: The full tour starts across the river from the Ipswich Visitors Center at the Ipswich Riverwalk Mural behind the EBSCO buildings and Zumi’s. View at Google Maps.

From the mural, the tour continues to the South Green. The Sidney Shurcliff Riverwalk takes you to Water Street, Summer Street and County street, full of First Period Homes. It continues on East Street, follows High Street to the railway overpass, and then returns to North Main and Meetinghouse Green, the historic center of Ipswich. After crossing the Choate Bridge you’re soon back to the start location. The full tour includes almost four miles of walking, and you will have more time to appreciate the houses along the way by breaking it into the four sections of town listed in the National Historic Register.

Maps and descriptions below are provided by Gordon Harris for self-guided tours. Contact Gordon at historicipswich@gmail.com if you would like to arrange a guided tour for your family or group.

Walking Tours by Historic District

The contiguous historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th century private residences.

East End Historic District

East Street, north sideJohn Winthrop Jr led an expedition in 1633 to establish the settlement of Ipswich. The first houses were “wigwams, huts, and hovels” built near what is now the Town Wharf in the East End area of town.

South Green Historic District

the South GreenThe South Green was originally known as School House Green. Many of the most important early settlers received grants of land here, and for two centuries the South Green served as a military training ground.

Meetinghouse Green Historic District

Richard Rogers house, North Main StreetMeetinghouse Green on Town Hill was the governmental center for Puritan Ipswich. Dwellings had to be within one half mile of the Meeting House. North Main Street is lined with elegant homes built by the leaders of the town over.

High Street Historic District

High Street has the greatest concentration of First Period homes in America

High Street has the largest concentration of “First Period” houses in America (built before 1720). Many of the well-preserved 17th, 18th, and 19th Century houses along High Street served as taverns, stores, or craftsman’s shops. The Old Burying Ground is on High Street near Lords Square.

Some scenes from the tour:

3 thoughts on “Walking tours of historic Ipswich

  1. If you have a chance, take Gordon’s tour! Even as an Ipswich resident, I learned so much about our town and our history. Take the tour, you will be glad you did!

  2. This is one of the best walking tours I’ve been on. Gordon’s knowledge of the history of Ipswich allowed us to understand the daily life of Ipswich resdents from the time the town was established through the Revolutionary War and beyond. We learned things the history books omit. It is worth your time to take this tour!

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