Ipswich Massachusetts, Bridging History

Self-guided walking tours of Historic Ipswich

Self-guided walking tours of historic Ipswich were developed by town historian Gordon Harris, and can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF document.

Complete Walking Tour of Historic Ipswich

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.  You may also download this tour as a PDF document to print or read online with mobile devices. View the comprehensive 4-mile Historic Ipswich tour online

The 1690 Preston Foster house and the Harris-Sutton house on Water St.

Walking Tour  of the East End

John 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.

The South Green with the John Baker house in the background

Walking Tour of  the South Green

The 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.

The Dr. John Manning house, Old Post Office, Capt. James Brewer and John Johnson houses on North Main Street

Walking Tour of Meetinghouse Green

Meetinghouse 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.

The Thomas Lord, Joseph Wilcomb and Samuel Newman houses on High Street

Walking Tour of High Street

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.

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