In 1903 the Electric Light System was built as a municipal utility by the Town. A labor strike at Ipswich Hosiery Mills in 1913 resulted in a young Greek woman being killed after out-of-town police were brought in. The Great Depression brought desperately hard times to the people of Ipswich. The Old North Church on Meetinghouse Green was destroyed in 1965 by fire after being struck by lightning, and the South Congregational Church suffered the same fate a decade later. A new Town Manager Charter was adopted in 1967.

A town of immigrants - Featured image: Immigrant workers at the Ipswich Hosiery Mill, by Ipswich photographer George Dexter. The earliest evidence of habitation in Ipswich was discovered in the 1950’s at the Bull Brook Paleoindian site, where hundreds of stone instruments were recovered, made by early Native Americans who migrated here after the ice age glaciers receded. The Agawam Indians who greeted the first … Continue reading A town of immigrants
Ipswich woodcut,1838 attributed to S. E. Brown. Market Square and the lower North Green, a photographic history - Featured image: Ipswich woodcut attributed to S. E. Brown, 1838, or John Warner Barber, 1839
Postcards from Newburyport - (Click on any image to begin a slideshow. Press the X in the top left corner or the Esc button to leave the slide show).
Ipswich after a snowstorm, circa 1900 - This photo was taken by Ipswich photographer George Dexter in the late 19th or early 20th Century from Town Hill above High Street, in the vicinity of Highland Cemetery. The First Church and Methodist Church steeples are in the background. Snow-covered Heartbreak Hill rises in the distance. Copies of this photo are in early print publications, but … Continue reading Ipswich after a snowstorm, circa 1900
Boston streetcar 1906 The streets of Boston, 1906 - Boston’s first motorized trolley opened on Jan. 5, 1889. Within seven years, the city had a network of electric streetcars. Enjoy this 1906 trolley ride on Boston’s busy Boylston Street. Read more at the New England Historical Society.
Eunice Stanwood Caldwell Cowles - *Excerpt From the Cowles Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.which contain correspondence, writings, biographical information, Caldwell and Cowles family papers and a photograph. Chiefly focusing on Eunice Stanwood Caldwell Cowles amd her connections to Mary Lyon and Zilpah P. Grant Banister through both Mount Holyoke and Ipswich Female Seminaries. “Eunice … Continue reading Eunice Stanwood Caldwell Cowles
Dustbane–sawdust in a can! - Dustbane Products was founded in 1908 by two entrepreneurial Canadians, Chester E. Pickering and George W. Green, who managed to convince people to buy pine-scented sawdust for cleaning floors, despite the fact that people already used free sawdust for that purpose. U.S. Manufacturing plants were established in Chicago and Ipswich.The Ipswich plant was on Washington St., which … Continue reading Dustbane–sawdust in a can!
Samuel Goodhue’s pier - In the early 20th Century, Samuel Goodhue operated a canoe rental business on the Ipswich River at the end of Peatfield St in the area known as Pole Alley.
A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam - Until 350 years ago, the Ipswich River ran unencumbered from its origin 35 miles upstream, carving its way through a 148-square-mile watershed. Herring, shad, salmon and alewife swam upstream to spawn. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that, “Great shoals of alewives came up the river in the Spring and were seined at night by the light of torches … Continue reading A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam
Essex shipyards and the age of the Gloucester schooners - Over 4000 wooden vessels were launched from Essex, including many schooners that sailed from nearby Gloucester, once the largest fishing port in the United States. View below, “Legacy: Shipbuilders, Fishermen and the Age of the Gloucester Schooners” (58 minutes).
Sam Smith shocks his kin by becoming a Methodist - Having grown up in a Methodist family, I found this story enlightening.
The Strand Opera House and Theater - The Strand Opera House was built in 1909 at 37 Market Street in Ipswich. It hosted operas, plays, travelling shows and even the Boston Symphony. It was quite a big deal to have such a grand venue in town. In 1930 the Strand burned, then re-opened as a movie theater featuring first run films. It was owned … Continue reading The Strand Opera House and Theater
The Ice House - Lathrop Brothers Coal and Ice Company was located at “Tougas’ pit,” a small body of water that may have been an old channel of the Ipswich River. It can be accessed off of Hayward Street at “Ice House Crossing.” Photos courtesy of Bill George and archives. Susan Howard Boice wrote that it took three railroad cars full … Continue reading The Ice House
Views of rooftops from downtown Ipswich, circa 1900 -   The photo below is a panoramic made of two views from the roof of the old Hayes Hotel at the corner of Depot Square and Hammatt Street, which had a flat-roof wing on the back. The photos were;taken several years after the 1894 fire, which;destroyed all of the previous buildings in the first block … Continue reading Views of rooftops from downtown Ipswich, circa 1900
The Ipswich Safety Steam Automobile, 1901 - The Safety Steam Automobile Company headquarters was in Boston but its factory was at Depot Square in Ipswich.
Hook and Ladder 1 and heroic George Gilmore - by Harold Bowen, from Tales of Olde Ipswich, Volume 1. (published early 1970’s). He adds, “It is hoped that after my story is read this week, those persons who delight in sounding a false fire alarm will perhaps have found a lesson in this tragedy on South Main Street.”
The Giles Firmin Park: from tannery to arboretum to playground - In 1762 Benjamin Lamson set up a tannery on County Road along Saltonstall Brook, which starts in a wetland between the Public Works facility and the YMCA, crosses County Road and empties into the Ipswich River behind the brick Verizon building. View Google map. The old building continued for many years as Farley’s Tannery, which advertised that it could use all parts of … Continue reading The Giles Firmin Park: from tannery to arboretum to playground
Parting paths stone marker Rt. 133 and 1A Ipswich Ma Parting Paths - The intersection of Rt. 133 and  Rt. 1A is where Essex Road branches off from Bay Road/County Road and was for many years known as”Parting Paths.”
Theodore Wendel’s Ipswich - Theodore Wendel (1859–1932) was an Impressionist artist who lived for thirty-four years in Ipswich, where he painted the village, bridges, farmlands and landscapes, and left behind a magnificent collection of paintings of his adopted home town.
The Central Street Fire Station - The fire station on Central Street in Ipswich was built in 1910, replacing the fire house at Lord’s Square. Originally built for horse-drawn equipment, it took over the work of the smaller departments at the Old Town Hall, Warren St., Candlewood Rd. and several other locations in town when it became motorized. For over a century, the building has served as the … Continue reading The Central Street Fire Station
Lucy Kimball - The following is from Historic Ipswich Vol III by Susan Howard Boice: “This is an old photo of Lucy Ardell Kimball, joined by her mother, Kate, and father, Phillip. Lucy was a descendant of the Jewett, Lord and Kimball families, who were big parts of Ipswich for more than 300 years. Phillip, Lucy’s father, was … Continue reading Lucy Kimball
View from Bayberry Hill - This is a wonderful photo of the Ipswich River taken by Ipswich photographer George Dexter in 1906. He was standing on Bayberry Hill near the top of Spring Street where Arthur Wesley Dow had a studio.    
Crossing the tracks on High Street - High Street originally continued straight at the John Kimball Jr. house (the one with the blue tree house) until the first bridge over the railroad tracks was constructed in 1906. From 1900 when the first trolleys came to town until the bridge was built, passengers had to unload here to switch from the trolley from Newburyport to … Continue reading Crossing the tracks on High Street
The Ipswich Mills Neighborhood - The Ipswich Mills and Brown Mills neighborhoods are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The houses in this late 20th Century aerial photograph were built in the early 1900’s by the Ipswich Mills Company to house the workers of their mill, located just east of this area. The company was the largest employer … Continue reading The Ipswich Mills Neighborhood
Ada K. Damon, Ipswich MA Wreck of the Ada K. Damon - Ada K. Damon shipwreck photo from “Ipswich” by Bill Varrell Christmas, 1909 witnessed the heaviest storm in many years and is known by sailors on the Atlantic Coast as one of the most fateful days in the history of these waters. The “Great Christmas Snowstorm” struck the North Atlantic States hard as far south as Maryland. … Continue reading Wreck of the Ada K. Damon
The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard jack William Clancy, WWI hero - Featured image: The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard Jack Harold Bowen wrote in Tales from Olde Ipswich that William Clancy’s family lived in the Old Post Office on North Main Street. Thomas Franklin Waters spoke about historic actions by William Clancy in a 1917 address to the Ipswich Historical Society, reprinted from the Publications of the Ipswich … Continue reading William Clancy, WWI hero
1910 Ipswich census and maps - The 121 handwritten 1910 Federal Census survey forms for Ipswich provide a wealth of information about the population of Ipswich during its greatest period of industrial growth, which included the arrival of hundreds of immigrants to work in the Ipswich Mills. Survey forms for Ipswich are provided through The lists below begin on the first page of Ipswich … Continue reading 1910 Ipswich census and maps
Which Switch is the Switch, Miss, for Ipswich? - I’ve just had a row with a telephone girl, a telephone girl, my brain’s in a whirl. I asked her for Ipswich, but she lost her head, And somehow she switch’d me on Northwich instead. She got so mix’d up with the switches, it’s true, That I got annoyed and I cried, “Tell me, do!” (Chorus) … Continue reading Which Switch is the Switch, Miss, for Ipswich?
Early Ipswich MA photo Turkey Shore Turkey Shore, a Colonial and Victorian neighborhood - From the earliest times, the land along the south side of the riverbank was known as Turkey Shore, but no one knows why. In the mid-19th Century, it was given the “more proper” name of Prospect Street, but by the 20th Century it had regained its colorful original name. When Roger Preston arrived in Ipswich, he … Continue reading Turkey Shore, a Colonial and Victorian neighborhood
Photo by George Dexter Russell’s Lunch–where the Ipswich clam became king - (Excerpts from a 1972 article in Ipswich Today, published by Donna and Harris Smith) “That delectable delicacy known as the Ipswich fried clam has become a respectable part of nearly every menu from coast to coast. Almost every resident in Ipswich, 70 years of age and older who remembers Russell’s Lunch in Depot Square is … Continue reading Russell’s Lunch–where the Ipswich clam became king
The Crane Beach children’s picnic - In 1911, Florence and Richard Teller Crane, Jr. invited the school children of Ipswich to a picnic on Crane Beach to celebrate their son Cornelius’ 6th birthday. The event became an annual tradition, and a fund was established so that it could continue for many years. Robert Cronin, 91, writes:, “The picnic was important to every … Continue reading The Crane Beach children’s picnic
William Jeffreys’ Neck - This history of Jeffreys Neck is from the Agawam Manual and Directory by M.V.B. Perley, published in 1888. The business of fur-trading and fishing along the New England coast received a new impetus about the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1604 Agawam was the center of Arcadia, so-called in the French patent of November 8, 1603. For a … Continue reading William Jeffreys’ Neck
The mill girl’s letter: “I can make you blush.” - (Thanks to Linda George, who shared with me “this little piece of paper depicting a day in the life of a ‘mill girl’ from March, 1911.” March 20, 1911, Ipswich Mr. Jewett Dear Sir, I received the ribbon you sent me by mail, and I thank you ever so much for it. I was asking … Continue reading The mill girl’s letter: “I can make you blush.”
Taking to the air in Ipswich, 1910-11 - In 1909, W. Starling Burgess joined with Augustus Moore Herring to form the Herring-Burgess Company, manufacturing aircraft under a license with the Wright Brothers, thus becoming the first licensed aircraft manufacturer in the United States. Burgess took the initial flight of his first plane in 1908 at Chebacco Lake in Hamilton, MA.  Burgess had been offered $5,000 by Charles Parker … Continue reading Taking to the air in Ipswich, 1910-11
The Halifax Explosion – One Plea for Help Launches a Crusade – New England Historical Society - On the evening of December 5, 1917 a French ship, the SS Mont-Blanc, entered the Halifax harbor as the Norwegian ship Imo was exiting. The Imo was empty, stopping in Halifax on the way to New York to obtain relief supplies for war-torn Belgium. Unknown to anyone but the crew of the Mont-Blanc, that ship was loaded … Continue reading The Halifax Explosion – One Plea for Help Launches a Crusade – New England Historical Society
The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common - The Topsfield Rail Trail is a “Linear Common” following the former Danvers to Newburyport rail line, which was officially abandoned in 1981. A plaque at the trailhead in downtown Topsfield details the former railroad’s history.The trail connects to the Danvers Rail Trail as part of the greater Border to Boston Trail.   Topsfield voters approved the rail … Continue reading The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common
Invention of the fried clam, 1916 - (This article is from the New England Historical Society.) On July 3, 1916, Lawrence ‘Chubby’ Woodman invented the fried clam. It was a hot, steamy day in Essex, Mass. Chubby Woodman and his wife Bessie had opened a small concession stand on Main Street two years earlier. On weekends they sold small grocery items, homemade potato chips … Continue reading Invention of the fried clam, 1916
Riverbend, the Barnard estate (Marguery Restaurant), 1915 - For several decades, only the parking lot remained, visible from County Rd…. The George E. Barnard estate of Ipswich was originally a small four room farmhouse owned by Anthony Potter. It passed through several hands, with each owner adding more to the building. In 1899 it was renovated by George Edward Barnard, a manufacturer of fine shoes … Continue reading Riverbend, the Barnard estate (Marguery Restaurant), 1915
Margery Bedinger of Salem, campaigning for women's right to vote A Salem Suffragette | streetsofsalem - Well, today is Women’s Equality Day, designated in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which finally granted women the right to vote after a long struggle for suffrage.  I’m certain that there was more than one fierce advocate of votes for women in progressive Salem, but Margery Bedinger of Forrester … Continue reading A Salem Suffragette | streetsofsalem
Charles Wendell Townsend, Ipswich naturalist - Born in Boston, November 10, 1859, Charles Wendell Townsend, M.D. was attracted by the natural beauty of Ipswich. He built a summer house on a ridge overlooking a wide expanse of salt marsh with open sea to the east. From here he wrote a number of books, including Beach Grass, Sand Dunes and Salt Marshes, and … Continue reading Charles Wendell Townsend, Ipswich naturalist
The Great Salem Fire, June 25, 1914 - Salem, Massachusetts burned on June 25, 1914. It began with a series of explosions at the Korn leather factory on Boston street, and burned 253 acres, cut a swath a half-mile wide and a mile-and-a-half long through the city. Almost half of the population of 48,000 people lost their homes. Read more at the New England Historical Society site and … Continue reading The Great Salem Fire, June 25, 1914
Lowell women’s suffrage activist Florence Luscomb - Florence Luscomb was born in Lowell on February 6, 1887 in Lowell. She was among the first women to graduate from M.I.T. with a degree in architecture, and in 1912 she and a fellow MIT graduate formed a two-woman firm in Waltham, specializing in designing public buildings and housing for workers. Luscomb’s true love was … Continue reading Lowell women’s suffrage activist Florence Luscomb
Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, January 15, 1919 - On January 15, 1919, people in Boston’s North End were startled by a loud rumbling noise. They watched in horror as a five-story tank broke apart, unleashing a wave of molasses 15 feet high and 160 feet wide.   Moving at 35 miles per hour, it traveled over two blocks and engulfed everything in its … Continue reading Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, January 15, 1919
January 12, 1912: Lawrence Bread and Roses strike - On January 12, 1912, the labor protest later known as the “Bread and Roses” strike began in Lawrence. A new state law had reduced the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours. Factory owners responded by speeding up production and cutting workers’ pay by two hours. Polish women were the first to shut down their … Continue reading January 12, 1912: Lawrence Bread and Roses strike
Influenza 1918 - The flu pandemic of 1918 began during World War I and was the “greatest medical holocaust in history” and killed between fifty and one hundred million people worldwide. The following story was adapted by the late Susan Howard Boice  from the Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society. Influenza made its appearance in Ipswich in September of 1918. The disease … Continue reading Influenza 1918
Police open fire at the Ipswich Mills Strike, June 10, 1913 - The Lawrence Textile Mills strike in 1912 known as the “Bread and Roses strike” involved immigrant workers in Lawrence MA striking against a a two-hour pay cut. The strike grew to more than twenty thousand workers. Amos Lawrence also owned the Ipswich Mills Company, where a similar strike occurred a year later. The Ipswich Mills Strike In early 1913, … Continue reading Police open fire at the Ipswich Mills Strike, June 10, 1913
The Breakfast Club - A couple of days ago I sat down with an illustrious group of Ipswich gentlemen for their morning repast and reparte.  (I may have to quit going to work so I can join them more often!) The text for this story is from an article written a while back by Beverly Perna, reprinted with permission.
Saving the Rooster, 1915 - The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century. It looks small from a distance but is said to weigh 40 pounds. The origin of roosters on church steeples comes from the Ninth Century A.D. The pope reportedly decreed … Continue reading Saving the Rooster, 1915
Parades - Photos from 20th Century Ipswich parades
Nancy Astor, Hamilton MA 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
Searle's mansion, Ipswich MA 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
From the Pandemic of 1918 to the Bird Flu - A Local History, copyright 2008, by Bruce Laing “I had a little bird Its name was Enza I opened up the window And In-flu-enza.” *a Skip-rope song sung by children, Fall, 1918 Early Friday morning, August 23, 1918, in a small coastal town of Ipswich, on the North Shore of Boston, the Chronicle went on … Continue reading From the Pandemic of 1918 to the Bird Flu
Rum runners - Ipswich folks have always had a taste for good rum. All we know of Benjamin Wheeler who lived at 67 Turkey Shore Road is that in 1750 was that he was fined for selling rum without a license. When Rev. David Kimball was hired as pastor in 1806 for the First Church, his payment included “Best West India … Continue reading Rum runners
Election night in Ipswich MA Election night in Ipswich - Thomas Franklin Waters made observations about Ipswich politics in his two-volume set, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: “The New England settlers of the 17th Century largely reproduced English institutions in an older shape than they knew in England. They gave a new life to many things, which in their older home had well nigh died out. … Continue reading Election night in Ipswich
Memorial Hall, Central St., Ipswich MA Memorial Hall, Central St. - In 1921 the Memorial Building was voted to be built in memory of Ipswich Veterans of all wars at a cost of $52,000. It was used to house two 6th grade classes (52 pupils) from 1969-1971 and as an office facility for the Pupil Personnel department during the years 1974-1980. It was also at different … Continue reading Memorial Hall, Central St.
The day Nute Brown crashed through the Choate Bridge - Harold Bowen wrote this story in Tales of Olde Ipswich. In the early 1900’s, just about everybody knew Elisha Newton Brown, better known as Nute Brown. He was a prosperous farmer who lived in the Candlewood section of town. For years he was captain of the old Tossut hand tub, which was kept in Candlewood. … Continue reading The day Nute Brown crashed through the Choate Bridge
Wreck of the Edward S. Eveleth, October 1922 - Featured image: the Edward S. Eveleth from Bill Varrell’s book, “Ipswich.” In October 1922, the sand schooner Edward S. Eveleth rolled over when a wave rushed over her deck and pushed her onto the edge of Steep Hill Beach. Filled with sand, each tide buried her deeper. Her remains were visible for several years. From … Continue reading Wreck of the Edward S. Eveleth, October 1922
“Pivot Rock” at Crane Castle - After living here for almost 10 years, two people told me separately yesterday about a huge rock that acts as a pivoting gate on a trail that runs between the old Rose Garden and the former Casino at the Crane Estate. Mr. Richard Crane liked to surprise his guests by turning the stone to let … Continue reading “Pivot Rock” at Crane Castle
Crocker Snow, aviation pioneer - When we moved to Mill Road in Ipswich we wondered why Google Maps labeled a grassy strip across the street “Snow Airport”. The property belonged to Crocker Snow, an aviation pioneer who continued to fly his 1947 single engine plane until he died in 1999 at 94 years of age. One of Snow’s first passengers … Continue reading Crocker Snow, aviation pioneer
Ipswich Manning house frame on display at the Museum of Fine Arts - The “Art of the Americas” wing at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts features building artifacts from Ipswich and the surrounding North Shore area. The second-floor framing of the Manning house built in Ipswich about 1692 at the intersection of Manning and High Streets is in the America’s wing. It was once used as the town’s alms house. When it … Continue reading Ipswich Manning house frame on display at the Museum of Fine Arts
Agawam house, Ipswich MA The Great Agawam Stable Fire - By Harold Bowen, 1975 In the days of stagecoaches, there were several inns along the old Bay Road and High Street. These inns also provided stables in which to house the horses.. One of the later hotels was the Agawam House on North Main Street. In 1806 Nathaniel Treadwell bought land and a house and … Continue reading The Great Agawam Stable Fire
Hitler’s rise to power, and the role of Ipswich in World War II - July 1932: Adolf Hitler rises to power The Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded worldwide economic disaster, and the Nazis and the Communists in the 1930 Election secured over 50% of Reichstag seats, which required the moderate parties to negotiate. “The Communists”, wrote Alan Bullock, “announced that they would prefer to see the Nazis in power rather than lift a … Continue reading Hitler’s rise to power, and the role of Ipswich in World War II
WPA dam on Green Street in Ipswich The Green Street dam - (*In March 1934, Congress passed the Civilian Conservation bill, creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC). It was through this program that the old jail on Green Street was demolished and the short-lived Green Street dam was built.) by Harold Bowen, Volume III Tales of Olde Ipswich, published in 1977 For years before the … Continue reading The Green Street dam
A Heated Battle – Lodge vs. Curley 1936 - by Helen Breen Some things never change. In the midst of the inflammatory rhetoric of the 2016 American Presidential campaign, let us pause and reflect on the simpler, but no less acrimonious, political days of yore. To wit – the Massachusetts US Senate race of 1936. In the ring – Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., a … Continue reading A Heated Battle – Lodge vs. Curley 1936
The “Little Old Lady from Ipswich” who was seen around the world - In 1934, Mrs. Mary C. Hayes became the centerpiece of a poster that was placed in 25,000 English-speaking theaters throughout the world. Mrs. Hayes was chosen as the model by famous Ipswich artist M. Leone Bracker (1885 – 1937) as the personification of the great body of movie-goers. The theme of this poster was, “Forgetting a Thousand Cares,” the … Continue reading The “Little Old Lady from Ipswich” who was seen around the world
Photos from the 1934 parade celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Ipswich - The Indian village of Agawam became a Puritan settlement in 1633 as an outpost of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The community was named Ipswich in 1634 upon the official founding of the town. Click on any photo to begin the slideshow. Click on the X in the upper left corner or the ESC key on … Continue reading Photos from the 1934 parade celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Ipswich
A salt marsh walk at Strawberry Hill and Greenwood Farm - The landscape surrounding Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Rd. invokes a time when saltwater farms were common in Ipswich, after English settlers cleared the uplands for agriculture and livestock. The farms here were owned by the Hodges, Smiths, Bakers, Heards, and eventually by the famous Ipswich painter Theodore Wendel, who died in 1932. In the 1940’s, … Continue reading A salt marsh walk at Strawberry Hill and Greenwood Farm
Ipswich in the Great Depression - The severe winter of 1933-34, in which below-zero temperatures lasted for weeks, added great misery to the lives of the homeless during the Great Depression. As part of the New Deal, President Roosevelt signed a forced draft work relief program known as the Civil Works Administration, putting millions to work on secondary roads, schoolhouses, parks, and other projects. … Continue reading Ipswich in the Great Depression
Ipswich Red Raiders, “a melting pot of awesome contenders!” - “A melting pot of awesome contenders were the Ipswich Red Raiders, members of a semiprofessional football league active during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. Made up of Ipswich men in their twenties and early thirties, they played teams from the surrounding cities and as far north as Augusta, Maine.” The photo below is from William … Continue reading Ipswich Red Raiders, “a melting pot of awesome contenders!”
Ipswich MA lighthouse Santa hits the Ipswich lightkeeper’s house, December 24, 1937 - Benjamin Ellsworth was appointed keeper of the Ipswich Lighthouse by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and remained in the post until his death in 1902. His daughter Susan lived with him and also tended to the light.
The Ipswich Post Offices - The first known post office in Ipswich was on North Main Street in the small red building across from First Church. It was built in 1763, probably as a barn or warehouse. In 1775, a committee from Ipswich began meeting with other towns, from Newburyport to Danvers, regarding the establishment of a regular postal route. … Continue reading The Ipswich Post Offices
Gettin’ away on the ‘Pike - In the first half century of the automotive age, a weekend trip to the country for Boston folks often meant driving a few miles north on the Newburyport Turnpike and renting a cabin not too far from the shore. The Douglass Evergreen Village, above, was on Rt. 1 between Linebrook Road and Rt. 133
Soffron Brothers Ipswich Clams - Thomas, George, Stephen and Peter Soffron and their sister Virginia were the children of a couple who moved from Greece to Ipswich, to work in the mills. Whether the brothers ever worked in the mills is uncertain, but in 1932 they started digging clams for the local market, working out of the family farm on … Continue reading Soffron Brothers Ipswich Clams
The Burke Heel Factory and Canney Lumber Fire, June 19, 1933 - The Burke & Son heel factory at Brown Square burned on June 19, 1933. In the adjoining lot was the Canney Lumber Co., where most of the building and the lumber was destroyed. Shown below are photos of the aftermath of the fire, shared by Bill Varrell in Ipswich: Images of America
The Proximity Fuze: How Ipswich women helped win WW II - The former Ipswich Mills, now owned by EBSCO, was the site of one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Second World War. The VT proximity fuze (variable time fuse) resembled tubes found in radios, and made it possible to detonate antiaircraft shells in the proximity of their target, rather than on impact. Fearing that the secret of the invention might fall into … Continue reading The Proximity Fuze: How Ipswich women helped win WW II
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - These photos are from one of my favorite hikes in Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Sanctuary at 87 Perkins Row in Topsfield. Twelve miles of trails weave through an amazing mix of forests, meadows and wetlands, with great views of the Ipswich River from the central drumlin and two eskers that were left by retreating glaciers only 15,000 years ago. View the location at Google … Continue reading An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
WWII scrap metal collection in Ipswich - To build tanks, ships, and planes during WWII, scrap metal drives were held across the country, and Ipswich was no exception. Do you recognize this location?
Life magazine takes a new look at the old Whipple House, October 1944 - Seventy years ago, Life Magazine photographer Walter Sanders provided an unusual photo shoot at the Whipple House in Ipswich, featured in an October 1944 LIFE Magazine.
Clam Battle! (Life Magazine, July 16, 1945) - An article from the July 16, 1945 Life magazine: Last Summer, as their forefathers had for 300 years before them, the people of Ipswich and Rowley were making a comfortable living out of the rich juicy clams from the briny marsh along the Parker River. Last winter they suddenly discovered a proclamation posted on their land. … Continue reading Clam Battle! (Life Magazine, July 16, 1945)
The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard The Ipswich Company, Massachusetts State Guard, 1942 - (Thanks to Larry Collins for sharing this  document) With substantially 15,000 man hours of practice, procedure and training under their military belts, the Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard is rapidly being whipped into shape as a trained military unit for the protection of life and property in this area. Formed last January, it has … Continue reading The Ipswich Company, Massachusetts State Guard, 1942
300 years on Grape Island - Featured image: The pier at Grape Island, by George Dexter, circa 1900. Grape Island is a part of the town of Ipswich, and was once a small, but thriving community of fishermen, farmers, and clam diggers. Jacob Perkins, Matthew Perkins, William Hubbard, Francis Wainwright, Thomas Hovey, Thomas Wade, Benedictus Pulsifer, Captain John Smith, Samuel Dutch, … Continue reading 300 years on Grape Island
The Fox Creek Canal - The Fox Creek Canal is the oldest man-made tidewater canal in the United States. The following was written by Thomas Franklin Waters: “As early as 1652 a move was made toward cutting a passage way for boats through the marshes from Ipswich River to the River of Chebacco to avoid the long and sometimes dangerous … Continue reading The Fox Creek Canal
The Hello Girls - Story by Harold Bowen, from Tales of Olde Ipswich, 1975. It was sort of a sad year in 1954 when the telephone service in Ipswich was changed from the traditional operator system (Hello Girls) to the dial system. Although in many ways the dial system is an improvement over the old method of direct contact with … Continue reading The Hello Girls
IHS Calendar 1950 Block prints from the 1950 IHS calendar: Old Time Ipswich - Many thanks to Bill Barton for sharing the Ipswich High School Calendar for 1950, titled “Old Time Ipswich.” The slideshow below features block prints created and printed by the students for each month of the calendar. “The Calendar is the combined effort of the Ipswich High School Printing and Art classes under the direction of Mark Hayes, Instructor … Continue reading Block prints from the 1950 IHS calendar: Old Time Ipswich
Joseph Nye Welch shuts down Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?” - Joseph Nye Welch of Waltham, MA served as the chief counsel for the United States Army when it came under attack by McCarthy’s Senate Subcommittee on Investigations for alleged infiltration by Communists. He was a child of English immigrants, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a senior partner at Boston law firm Hale and Dorr. On June 9, … Continue reading Joseph Nye Welch shuts down Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?”
Swampscott train wreck Ipswich woman survived two train crashes in one morning, 1956! - Today I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Charlotte Lindgren, an Ipswich native, and who also loves Ipswich history. Her great grandparents Marianna and Maynard Whittier owned a “commodious house” at the junction of Essex Road and County Road (also known as “Parting Paths“). The old house and farm were long ago replaced by the … Continue reading Ipswich woman survived two train crashes in one morning, 1956!
Hurricane Carol, September 6, 1954 - These photos were taken after the September 6, 1954 storm knocked down trees and power lines all over Ipswich. Hurricane Carol devastated the Massachusetts south coast and Rhode Island, and was responsible for 65 deaths in New England and $642 million in damage. On September 11, Hurricane Edna hit New England with additional destruction. This image shows … Continue reading Hurricane Carol, September 6, 1954
Emma jane Mitchell Safford The Ipswich “Indian Princess” Emma Jane Mitchell Safford - Across Green Street from the Ipswich Town Hall is a sign on a fence, commemorating Emma Jane Mitchell Safford. She was a descendant of Massasoit, Sachem (tribal leader) of the Wampanoag when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in 1620. While the sign is factually incorrect (the term “Indian Princess” is an English construct and Massachusetts was not named after … Continue reading The Ipswich “Indian Princess” Emma Jane Mitchell Safford
Photos from Ipswich Town Reports - In the 1950’s and 60’s, Ipswich town reports had photos that we find very amusing now.
The Christmas Eve hobo, 1958 - When I was a child in the 1950’s, “hobos” or “tramps” would come to the door and ask for a quarter or a dollar or something to eat. They knew my father was a minister with a soft touch because other hobos would put a secret mark on the curb in front of the house. … Continue reading The Christmas Eve hobo, 1958
Memories of Quint’s Corner - This is a 1967 photo of  Quint’s Corner (The Tyler block) in Ipswich which Robert Swan shared with the “I Grew Up in Ipswich” Facebook group. Buddy Riel commented, “Quints Corner had an effect on so many Ipswich people. A lot of us can mark the stages of our early lives by the events we … Continue reading Memories of Quint’s Corner
A look back at the 1950 Ipswich Town Report - With the recurring subject of the school budget override in mind, I decided to look back to the annual report for the year I was born, condensed below: IPSWICH SCHOOL REPORT The School Budget for 1950 The budget here presented for 1950 requires the expenditure of $181,524.42. Of this total $137,212.00 will be required for salaries. … Continue reading A look back at the 1950 Ipswich Town Report
Bull Brook boys, Ipswich MA The Bull Brook Discovery - Native Americans began moving into New England after the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier, around 12,000 BC. Artifacts discovered at Great Neck and along the riverbanks have been identified as belonging to the later Archaic period (8000-5000 years ago) and the Woodland period (2000 years ago). Evidence of a 3000-year old village was discovered along … Continue reading The Bull Brook Discovery
The Agawam Diner - The Agawam Diner on Rt. 1 in Rowley was built by the Fodero Dining Car Company in 1954. An earlier Agawam Diner was opened by the Galanis Family at Depot Square in Ipswich in 1940, and was replaced by a larger diner, and then by the current one in 1954. The diner was moved from … Continue reading The Agawam Diner
Building a ship in Essex - This very entertaining mid-20th Century documentary is shown at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, just a short drive from Ipswich. Viewing time: 12 minutes.
The Old Town Clock - From All that Remains, Volume 1 of Tales of Old Ipswich by Harold Bowen, I was watching the workmen install the new electric clock in the bell tower of the First church on the hill, and I thought it was a good time to say a few words about the old town clock that was … Continue reading The Old Town Clock
Abraham Choate House, 16 Elm St. (Now at Smithsonian) - In 1963 Kay Thompson and Helen Lunt, two housewives, recognized that chapters of American history, written within the walls of a simple clapboard house slated for destruction in Ipswich, Massachusetts, were in peril. Through their efforts, the historic house was relocated to the Smithsonian where it still resides as the Museum’s largest single artifact on permanent display. … Continue reading Abraham Choate House, 16 Elm St. (Now at Smithsonian)
Third tree, Ipswich MA Third Tree A Lasting Summer Tradition - Originally posted on poet22dcw:
       Hanging from third tree up the Ipswich River along the railroad tracks is a rope swing that is as much a part of this town’s history as any historical site or house.In fact this swimming hole can be directly linked to the development of many town characters as well…
First Church burns, June 13, 1965 - It was a sad day for Ipswich when on June 13, 1965, lightning hit the steeple on the sanctuary of the First Church on Meeting House Green and the building was destroyed by fire. The building was more than a century old and was considered to be one of the best examples of Gothic church construction in … Continue reading First Church burns, June 13, 1965
Ipswich missed the scourge of urban renewal that demolished First Period houses in Plymouth - In 1962, the oldest town in New England, Plymouth, Massachusetts, approved the clearance of 30 acres along Summer and High streets. Thus, one of the oldest neighborhoods of First Period homes in North America fell victim to urban renewal. By 1970, 105 Plymouth buildings dating from the 17th to the 20th century had been demolished, replaced … Continue reading Ipswich missed the scourge of urban renewal that demolished First Period houses in Plymouth
The Hayes Hotel - Three men died from smoke inhalation when a blaze swept through the former Hayes Hotel on Depot Square in the early morning hours of August 24, 1969. The fire started in a wing on the left of the building and spread throughout the old brick building. Fire roomers and two firefighters were hospitalized. Most of the 27 roomers … Continue reading The Hayes Hotel
John Updike, the Ipswich years - In 1957, John Updike moved to Ipswich, where he and his family lived in the Polly Dole house on East Street, where they lived for seventeen years. Updike wrote that “Most Americans have not had the happy experience of living for thirteen years in a seventeenth-century house, since most of America lacks seventeenth-century houses…To wake and work … Continue reading John Updike, the Ipswich years
Third tree, Ipswich MA Third Tree - This story was published by David Wallace in his blog Poet22DCW  in August, 2014.  Lee Trask provided an old photo through the Facebook group, I Grew Up in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Saving John Appleton’s house, 1962 - In 1707, Col. John Appleton acquired the lot at 2 North Main Street (across Central Street from the Five Corners Deli) after commanding a regiment in the expedition against Port Royal. He built the house still standing, and lived in it for the rest of his life. John Appleton represented the Town in the General Court in 1697, was … Continue reading Saving John Appleton’s house, 1962
Kings Rook and Stonehenge Club: when Ipswich rocked! - Just beyond the Choate bridge on South Main Street was a funky building put together from pieces of other buildings by an antiques dealer named Ralph Burnham early in the 20th Century. In the 1960’sHoward Ferguson and Gardner Damon started the Kings Rook. Good coffee and cocoa were served, two fireplaces kept it warm in the … Continue reading Kings Rook and Stonehenge Club: when Ipswich rocked!
The Middle Circumferential Highway (that never happened) - In its 1968 comprehensive report “Recommended Highway and Transit Plan” the Massachusetts Department of Public Works (MassDPW) proposed a new beltway around the Boston area that would be situated between MA 128 and I-495. The Middle Circumferential Highway would have been a 66-mile loop six-lane expressway cutting through the Ipswich River Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farms, … Continue reading The Middle Circumferential Highway (that never happened)
Stopping the nuclear options, 1967-1970 - 1967: Ipswich Nuclear Missile Site 1970: Nuclear Power Plant In 1970 a proposal was made to build a nuclear power generating plant on the site of the former town dump at the end of Town Farm Road in Ipswich. MEPP Inc., an organization of 29 Massachusetts Municipal Electric Departments, had been studying Ipswich as a … Continue reading Stopping the nuclear options, 1967-1970
Boston protests against Vietnam War April 1, 1970: The Massachusetts Legislature challenges the Vietnam War - On October 16, 1967, over 5,000 opponents of the Vietnam War rallied on Boston Common and marched to the the Arlington Street Church.  At the end ofa service broadcast to the crowd, over 280 men turned in or burned their draft cards. On January 5, 1968, indictments were handed down to Yale Chaplain William Sloane … Continue reading April 1, 1970: The Massachusetts Legislature challenges the Vietnam War
Elizabeth Cole Ipswich MA selectman Elizabeth S. Cole is elected as first female Ipswich selectman, March 10, 1970 - IPSWICH, March 10, 1970: For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, a woman has been elected a member of the Ipswich Board of Selectmen. Trouncing three male contenders, including the incumbent, Mrs. Elizabeth s. Cole of Argilla Road swept into office Monday, poling 1401 of the 3364 ballots cast by an … Continue reading Elizabeth S. Cole is elected as first female Ipswich selectman, March 10, 1970
Tales of Olde Ipswich by Harold Bowen - In 1972 Harold Bowen was asked to write a column for a newspaper called Ipswich Today, the first of a series of stories that continued for ten years. Tales of Olde Ipswich was republished in three volumes. Below are stories written by Harold, or which contain excerpts from Tales of Olde Ipswich.
Captain Arthur H. Hardy, 1972 - Arthur Hans Hardy was born in Marburg Lahn, West Germany on November 7, 1948, the son of Gordon E. and Inger Hardy of Highland Avenue, Ipswich.
Alice Keenan’s Ipswich: Preserve and Protect - The following is an excerpt from the book Ipswich Yesterday written in 1982. by Alice Keenan Naturally when we moved to Ipswich my antiquarian cup ranneth over. This lovely old town, its long history, ancient houses and interesting people became almost an obsession — a most delightful one to be sure — and supported by an understanding if not occasionally … Continue reading Alice Keenan’s Ipswich: Preserve and Protect
South Congregational Church: only the Bell Remains - The South Congregational church burned on December 10, 1977. The lot is now a small park with two benches and the bell which survived the fire, surrounded by the old foundation.   The house owned by Asa Brown was moved it to its current location on County Road in 1837 so that the South Congregational Church … Continue reading South Congregational Church: only the Bell Remains
The Blizzard of ’78, February 5, 1978 - Featured image: Market Street photo from “Ipswich Today” February 10, 1978. On the far right you can see the Strand Theater, which was demolished in 1985. The “Blizzard of ’78“ raged from Sunday evening February 5 through Tuesday evening February 7. Over a billion dollars of damage occurred, including the loss of 11,000 homes and the lives … Continue reading The Blizzard of ’78, February 5, 1978
Doug Flutie, Hail Mary Boston College Doug Flutie “Hail Mary,” November 23, 1984 - Doug Flutie grew up in Natick, where he became the quarterback for the high school in his sophomore year. Recruited by Boston College, he became the first player in BC history to surpass 10,000 yards in total offense. On November 23, 1984, the University of Miami pulled ahead of Boston College in the last minute of the Orange Bowl. In the legendary … Continue reading Doug Flutie “Hail Mary,” November 23, 1984
Sally Weatherall Memorial Reservation - The Sally Weatherall Memorial Reservation on Little Neck Road is dedicated to Greenbelt’s first executive director. The property is primarily salt marsh–a trail through a small section of wooded upland leads to a viewing area and an osprey perch. In addition, the pond next to the Whipple House (formerly known as the Bicentennial Pond) was renamed Sally’s … Continue reading Sally Weatherall Memorial Reservation
Sacred Heart Church - *Information and text for this post is from the MACRIS listing for Sacred Heart Rectory by Christine S. Beard. Quotes are from articles published in the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. When large numbers of Polish immigrants began coming to Ipswich in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they brought with them their strong ties to the … Continue reading Sacred Heart Church