Luther Wait House, East Street Ipswich MA
The Luther Wait house on East Street

The small yellow house at 35 East Street was built about 1810. It was once the Essex County jailor’s house, but is better known as the home of Luther Wait (1841-1924), who served two terms as postmaster.

Luther Wait’s formal education ended at age 12. As a young man he fished off of George’s Bank in the summer and repaired shoes in the winter. He and a large number of young Ipswich men enlisted to fight in the Civil War. Wait served on several town boards including the school committee and as town assessor.

Luther Wait, second from the right on the second row, worked at Daniel’s Shoe shop on County Street during the winters.

Wait was appointed postmaster in 1890 but relinquished the position in 1894 and joined tens of thousands in northwestern Canada looking to strike it rich during the Klondike Gold Rush. He returned to town, probably empty-handed, and resumed his appointment as postmaster from 1902 – 1914.

Luther Wait and his wife Elizabeth Heard Lord are buried at Locust Grove Cemetery. Photos of Luther Wait standing in the two previous locations of the Ipswich Post Office are shown below.

Luther Wait delivered mail daily to the Necks and islands by boat.
By the time of his second appointment as Postmaster, the Post Office had moved to  Central Street, where it stayed until the current Post Office building was built on Market Street in 1939.