The population of Ipswich was 13,602 in the 2000 Census, and continues to grow. The present High School opened on High Street, and the former school on Green Street became the Town Hall. The Town continues to debate about construction of new elementary schools and public safety facilities. The “Mothers Day Storm” of 2006 flooded downtown, but a decade later the Ipswich River dried up during a long drought. The Ipswich Riverwalk opened, featuring a mural of the town’s history, painted by Alan Pearsall.
The 2016 Ipswich drought - Based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Palmer Drought Severity Index, the three-month period between May 1 and July 31 was the driest for those three months in Massachusetts since 1966 and the ninth driest on record. Due to the shortage of rainfall and continued high water demand, the Ipswich Water Department issued a Drought … Continue reading The 2016 Ipswich drought
Deluge! An Eyewitness Account of the Mother’s Day Storm of 2006 - The spring of 2006 brought a paucity of rain that resulted in very dry conditions throughout Eastern New England. I remember noting the dryness of the landscape while patrolling through April into early May. Places normally exhibiting pools of standing water; the low ground west of Route One, Town Farm Road, and the Greenbelt property … Continue reading Deluge! An Eyewitness Account of the Mother’s Day Storm of 2006
Remembering John Dolan - The following article was written in 2013 by Beverly Perna for the Ipswich Chronicle. Reprinted with permission. It is true—when you become “of an age,” you start to scan the obituaries. Sadly with each passing year, I see more familiar names. If I didn’t know them, I knew of them. I looked at the paper last week, and one … Continue reading Remembering John Dolan
Remembering Susan Howard Boice - by Beverly Perna Sue Boice died on July 16, 2013, but word got around town slowly that she had passed. I didn’t know until August 24th when a friend called and asked me to go to a Native American memorial for Sue, hosted that morning at Wolf Hollow by her longtime friend Joni Soffron. I regretted … Continue reading Remembering Susan Howard Boice
Melanson’s fire, August 7, 2009 - Herman Melanson’s Boatyard on Water Street burned in a spectacular fire on August 7, 2009.The boathouse was constructed by Herman Melanson’s father in 1954. Herman and his mother continued to live there after it was sold to Arthur Harrington in 1985. Harrington’s heirs had a sales agreement with developers who planned to build condos. The entire building, … Continue reading Melanson’s fire, August 7, 2009
Central Street fire, February 17, 2015 - Fire was reported early the morning of February 17, 2015 at 62 Central Street in Ipswich, almost directly across from the Ipswich Fire Department. The wood frame building was constructed in approximately 1920 and housed the Ipswich Floor Covering store.
The Ipswich drive-through ban - In 1999, the Town of Ipswich began a growth management initiative for the 21st Century which came to be called “The Future of Ipswich Planning Project.” Its overall purpose was to help the residents, business owners, and property owners in Ipswich agree on a vision for the future of the town, a strategy to make … Continue reading The Ipswich drive-through ban
Into the Fire, 2001 - On a Tuesday night in January 2001 the Collum house at 18 Lafayette Street went up in flames. Harold Bowen once wrote that this house had been built from lumber that was salvaged when a tall wood fence surrounding Bialek Park was removed early in the 20th Century. Lisa Collum and her two young daughters … Continue reading Into the Fire, 2001
Remembering Taffy Hill - by Beverly Perna Ipswich lost a great friend recently with the death of Howard “Taffy” Hill. Memories poured forth as residents learned he had passed away at the age of 87 on March 26, 2011. Hill was a familiar sight at his near iconic store on Market Street, in operation since 1929 when it was opened … Continue reading Remembering Taffy Hill
A nice day on the roof, February 22, 2015 - The Winter of 2015 has been abnormally cold, and the silly 4″ we received overnight brought us to 100 inches, almost all of which fell in the last four weeks.
Photos from the Great Snow of 2015 - Images from the blizzard, January 27, 2015 and the series of snowstorms that followed. Many photos are from the I Love Ipswich Facebook group. Featured image: The road into Crane Beach, by Diane Young.
The old American Elm tree succumbs, July 11, 2012 - The American Elm tree at the corner of County Street and East Streets succumbed to Dutch Elm disease and on July 11, 2012 it was felled. The town made available pieces of the wood to artisans, woodworkers, furniture makers, builders, crafters and nonprofit organizations. Applications were reviewed by the Ipswich Department of Public Works and the Shade Tree … Continue reading The old American Elm tree succumbs, July 11, 2012
Building and launching the schooner Ardelle in Essex - The 55-foot pinky schooner Ardelle was designed and built by Harold Burnham of Burnham Boat Building in Essex MA using locally harvested wood and hand tools and similar techniques to those that Colonial-era shipbuilders used. Hundreds of spectators watched from the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in 2011 for the launching of the Ardelle into the Essex River.
Gordon Harris, Ipswich Town Historian - The Ipswich Historical Commission is revitalized and in good hands with John Fiske as chairman, and we have an energetic group of members and alternates. I continue as a member, focusing on the Commission’s website. This blog is where I dig deeper into the town’s history, and I received an exciting letter from the Ipswich Town Manager yesterday appointing me to … Continue reading Gordon Harris, Ipswich Town Historian
Microburst strikes Ipswich, September 6, 2014 - A microburst or tornado touched down on Topsfield Road near our house on Mill Road, and hit again in the lot just beyond our house on Mill Road, shattering pine trees. Power on Mill Road went out with the storm on Saturday afternoon and did not return until almost 24 hours later, when they fixed … Continue reading Microburst strikes Ipswich, September 6, 2014
Building a pipe organ - On last week’s Historic Ipswich walking tour I met Rick Isaacs and Dana Sigall, a couple of Ipswich craftsmen who are intricately involved in the process of building traditional pipe organs at the Gloucester company C.B. Fisk. Each new organ is assigned a number. Opus 62 at the Ascension Memorial Church in Ipswich was built in 1973 … Continue reading Building a pipe organ
Finding my mailbox in the snow, winter 2011 - I grew up in the South and was ten years old before I saw my first snowflake. It was on a “trip north” to Tennessee and was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. That same year John Kennedy was elected president and the television gave us our first glimpses of Massachusetts, a place that … Continue reading Finding my mailbox in the snow, winter 2011