The North Shore area of Massachusetts contains the greatest concentration of First Period structures in the nation. Built in the first century of English colonization (1620-1720), they have some structural similarities with the English post-medieval domestic buildings in which the New World settlers were raised.
Because Ipswich suffered a period of economic hardship between the Revolutionary War and the Industrial Revolution, it is believed to have 59 houses with significant First Period elements still standing, the most in the nation. The Georgian era from 1720 until the Revolutionary War is referred to as the Second Period. Many of those houses grace the streets of Ipswich, and the exteriors are often indistinguishable First Period homes that were “Georgianized” in the 18th Century. View also, Ancient houses of Essex County.
First Period houses in Ipswich
Giddings – Burnham House, 43 Argilla Rd. Ipswich MA c 1685
The Giddings-Burnham house is representative of First Period construction in the last quarter of the 17th century in beam chamfering, joist spacing, and framing system. However, the house incorporates certain conservative features which link the house to carpentry practices in the earliest years of settlement. These features are the wattle and daub wall fill, the use of flat-wise joists in the cellar and the two story lapped studs in the north wall.
The presumed builder of the present house, Carpenter Thomas Burnham, was an elderly man by the time the house was built. George Giddings, who was granted the land in 1635, sold the property with dwelling house to Thomas Burnham in 1667. Burnham was sixty-two in 1680, the earliest date Cummings felt the house could have been built on the basis of style.
Smith House, 168 Argilla Rd. Ipswich MA c 1725
The “Tilton-Smith House” at 168 Argilla Road in Ipswich was awarded the 1999 Susan P. Conley award. Built circa 1720 by Abraham Tilton Jr., a 1998 fire took away much of its original frame, but the owner totally rebuilt the home with attention to historical detail and authentic 18th century craftsmanship. He saved what was salvageable from the burned structure and replaced the rest with period materials salvaged from 18th and 19th century structures throughout New England. The 12-by-38-foot keeping room still has the original 18th-century wood floors, with pit-sawn pine planks 20 inches wide and 22 feet long. The rebuilt walk-in fireplace has twin beehive ovens and a pot rail.This house has a preservation agreement with the
Ipswich Historical Commission. Continue reading.
Isaac Goodale House, 153 Argilla Rd. Ipswich MA c 1695
This colonial home was built in West Peabody in approximately 1695 by Isaac and Patience Cook Goodale. In 1928 it was reconstructed at 153 Argilla Road near Russell Orchards in Ipswich by Robert Lincoln and Susan Goodale. First Period elements include 5 fireplaces and a large central chimney, diamond leaded pane casement windows, hand carved raised paneling, a steep pitched roof, bare clapboards and trim, board and batten doors, and chamfered summer beams. Continue reading.
Robert Kinsman house, 49 Candlewood Rd. Ipswich MA 1721
Robert Kinsman constructed this First Period house in 1714.The home has been greatly expanded over the years. Stephen Kinsman inherited the house in 1726, and with his wife Elizabeth Russell brought up a family of twelve children. They dwelt in the old Robert Kinsman homestead until 1767 when he sold his farm, 47 acres and buildings to Samuel Patch.
According to Thomas Franklin Waters, “it was said” that the old Robert Kinsman dwelling burned sometime after it was sold to Samuel Patch, and that this house was built by his son John Patch in 1800, but the story is not supported by any documentation or by the apparent age of the house. Continue reading.
Thomas Dennis House, 7 County St. Ipswich MA c 1670
Shoreborne Wilson, a cooper, built a house and a cooper’s shop on this site about 1660. Thomas Dennis bought the property in J.663 (8:69) and added an adjoining parcel in 1671 (3:201). The rear ell of the present house dates from that period, with wide chamfers on the summer beam and unusual unpainted horizontal feather-edged sheathing.
The early house appears to have been a typical one-over-one room floorplan 17th century half-house, facing due south with an end chimney. Thomas Dennis was a cabinetmaker and carver, and he is today one of the most renowned artisans of 17th century America. His works (or those attributed to him) are displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Essex Institute, Salem MA, Bowdoin College, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Continue reading.
Benjamin Dutch House 9 County St. Ipswich MA c 1705
The early ownership of this property is unclear, but it was part of Benjamin Dutch’s estate, and probably was owned by him in the late 17th century. A house was on the lot by 1714, and occupied by Dutch’s daughter and son-in-law, Though most of the trim on the house is Federal in character, ceratin first period features remain that suggest the present house was begun in Benjamin Dutch’s time. Framing elements from that period are visible, and both butterfly and strap hinges can be found. Continue reading.
Rogers and Brown House, 83 County Rd. Ipswich MA c 1665
The Rogers and Brown House (also known as the Nathaniel Rust House) is made up of 3 first period homes joined together. The main part of the house was built before 1688, abutting the Heard House across from South Green at the corner of County Street. The builder is recorded to have been Major Ammi Ruhami Wise, who was the son of Rev. John Wise. It became the residence of Dr. Samuel Rogers, The house was sold to Asa Brown who moved it to the current location on County Road in 1837 so that the Old South Church could be built facing the Green. (The South Parish church burned in 1977.) Continue reading.
Capt. Matthew Perkins House, 8 East St. Ipswich MA c 1709
The Captain Matthew Perkins House at 8 East St. in Ipswich was the winner of the 1991 Mary Conley Award. The house dates to about 1710 and was formerly known as the Norton-Corbett House. The 1st period 2-story structure has a timber frame, clapboard siding, an elaborate pilastered chimney, a rear ell, post-medieval overhangs front and side, and one of the best Jacobean staircases in New England.
The land on which the house sits was at one time part of an orchard lot and was sold to Matthew Perkins, a weaver and soldier, by Major Francis Wainwright in 1701.The house was probably built about this time. Key features of the house include molded overhangs, a front staircase with Jacobean balusters, and a fireplace in the attic, which was partially finished from the very beginning. There is evidence to suggest that additional original details survive under the 18th and 19th century trim in several principle rooms. Continue reading.
Jordan – Snelling House, 30 East St. Ipswich MA c 1700
Francis Jordan, mentioned as an Ipswich resident as early as 1634, was the first owner of this lot. He was also the first recorded Town Whipper, a service for which he *as paid 20 shillings a year. His dwelling house is mentioned on this site by 1646. In 1655, one Jeffry Snelling was in occupancy on the site. He had the twin distinctions of receiving a whipping in 1650 “for divers lyes,” and also serving as Town Whipper.
The first deed to mention a house on the site dates from 1708 (20:109), and it refers specifically to an “old house.” Waters theorizes that the present house was built subsequent to 1708, but notes that the architecture does indicate an early period. The exact period of the house rerrains undetermined, and the evidence is confused by years of alterations. Structural evidence reveals that the house was built in two stages, and that the west (Mt) side is the earliest portion. The two story enclosed porch on the front facade in 1968. Continue reading.
Hodgkins – Lakeman House, 72 East St. Ipswich MA c 1690
William Hodgkins probably built this house before 1700. In 1718 he sold the dwelling to Archelaus Lakeman and the property remained in the Lakeraan family for almost 200 years. The Lakemans were a sea-faring family with extensive wharves and warehouses on the property and on the Town Wharf across the street. Hie houa-o wars re-storodThe house was restored in 1 95>l|-. The chamfered frame was exposed in one room and the original fireplace was revealed. Some third period trim is extant as well.
Arthur Johnson is said to have taken a wall of panelling from the house and it is new installed in the Lakeman-Johnson house on upper East Street, A pre-Revolutionary wall painting was remove’d as well, and is now located In the Whipple House. • Original rafters from the earliest construction reveal that the house was only one room deep. The rafters were lengthened later to cover the the two story rear leanto. Continue reading.
Andrew Burley House/ Tavern 10 Green St. Ipswich MA c 1688
Andrew Burley bought this land in 1683 and built a house shortly thereafte. Captain John Smith, captain of a fishing schooner, apparently liked the location of the house, midway between the Meeting House and the wharves on the Ipswich River. He bought the house in 1760 and opened a tavern in the building. He operated the tavern there for thirty years. Continue reading.
Thomas Low House, 42 Heartbreak Rd. Ipswich MA c 1700
The original house was a double cell structure, to which the lean-to was added and then presumably raised in the 18th century. The current east wing was built in 1981, more or less replicating an earlier east wing. The only First Period features currently in the house are a single chimney post with crude chamfer and the collar beams in the attic (survey data indicates collar beams disappear as a feature of the roof framing of one room deep houses before the end of the First Period). Chimney bay dimensions, size of summer beam boxes, steep roof pitch and overhangs at the gable end in combination also indicate First Period construction. East and west room dimensions are 16 feet wide by 19 feet deep. The chimney bay is an ample ten feet wide. One chimney post visible in a closet appears to have an intentional flat chamfer. The longitudinal summer beam in the east room and the summer tie beam in the west chamber have boxes that are 14 inches wide. Continue reading.
James Burnham House, 45 Heartbreak Rd. Ipswich MA c 1690
Deed research by the Rev. Thomas Franklin Waters of Ipswich in the early 20th century strongly suggests the house was one of three owned by James Burnham before 1703 on Heartbreak Road: 1) the house Burnham acquired from Samuel Poad in 1677 ; 2) a new house Burnham built before 1687 ; or 3) another house in which James Burnham lived in 1703.
Physical evidence of First Period construction includes: 1) joist spacing of 17 to 18 1/2 inches (among houses examined by Cummings, those with comparable joist spacing were all built before 1683; 2) steep roof pitch; 3) nearly 20 feet square room dimensions (consistent with other major 17th century buildings in Ipswich); 4) extreme width of summer beam boxes on both floors, suggesting that the enclosed summer beams are among the widest on record; 5) the disparity in wall width between the first and second floors on the three outer walls of the right-hand room. The right-hand room and chimney bay comprise the earliest part of the house. The left-hand rooms and the rear ell were added in the 18th century. A 20th century, 2 story porch abuts the west end. The house retains First Period massing with steeply pitched roof and the original central chimney. Continue reading.
Joseph Willcomb House, 13 High St. Ipswich MA c 1668
The Joseph Willcomb House was built by John Edwards, a tailor, in 1669. It has a massive oak frame, central chimney and clapboards typical of other First Period houses on High Street. The dining room boasts a cavernous firebox and beehive oven. There is a rear ell and a Beverly jog. Some walls display the original wide-board paneling, which was exposed when plaster was removed during restoration. The parlor retains its 17th Century floor and hearth. Continue Reading
Thomas Lord House, 17 High St. Ipswich MA c 1658
The Thomas Lord house at 17 High Street in Ipswich features original champfored summer beams, unpainted feather edge paneling in the front rooms and hall, an original saltbox frame, center chimney and five cooking fireplaces with bake ovens and large hearths. The saltbox roof slopes down to one story in the rear. The front entry features the original stairway and paneling. Typical of many early homes, the windows are 6 panes over 9 (cottage style). View MACRIS
This First Period house stayed in the Lord family for generations. The lot was granted to Robert Lord who arrived as one of the first European settlers of Ipswich in 1634 and served as town clerk until his death in 1683. The property was transferred to Robert Roberts and then to Thomas Lord, a cordwainer (shoe maker) who built this house in 1658. Continue reading.
Philip Call House, 26 High St. Ipswich MA c 1659
The Phillip Call House at 26 High St. in Ipswich is a 2 story timber-frame First Period house built by cordwainer Philip Call about 1659, enlarged around 1725. It was probably at first a one over one “half house” with the front door on the right side. The evolution of this property to its current twelve rooms is an outstanding example of careful adaptions of various periods over four generations. Pleasant surprises were awaiting when the house was purchased by the current owners in 1967. Its careful restoration uncovered a chamfered 17th century summer beam and 17th century field paneling behind newer walls. Continue reading.
Edward Brown House, 27 High St. Ipswich MA c 1650
Edward Brown was the original owner of this site in 16 39, and a portion of the present house may date from the period of his ownership (c. 1650). The oldest part of the house is the east side, which began as a one-roomover-one-room floorplan. The summer beam and chimney girt of the main east room have simple 1% inch chamfers, and there is pin evidence for a casement window in the front hall.
On the door leading to the hallway is a re-used early cock’s-head hinge. In the mid-18th century the west side of the house was built, completing the common central chimney, two-over-two configuration. Later a rear leanto was added. Most of the present trim dates to the 18th century and early 19th century. The significant architectural features of this house are protected by a Preservation Agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Cornmission. Continue reading.
Waldo – Caldwell, John House, 33 High St. Ipswich MA c 1660
John Caldwell bought a house-and land from Cornelious Waldo in 1654 and he removed the old house and built a new house t as a two-over-two-room, central chimney plan house, with massive summer beams, a huge fireplace, and heavy chamfered frame. All these features correspond to a substantial house of the 1660’s. A leanto was added at a later date, and has since been replaced, Early 18th century details include fine sheathing in the chambers, the front stairs, and the present chimney. The attic stairway is also of considerable age, and is fastened with roseheaded (handwrought) nails. The Waldo-Caldwell House was restored in 1956 and is protected by a Preservation Agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Continue reading.
Daniel Lummus House 41 High St. Ipswich MA 1686
The Daniel Lummus House at 39-41 High Street is a recent addition to known 59 First Period Houses in Ipswich (Colonial era homes built between 1625 and 1725). After it was purchased by Al Boynton and Kathy Bruce, they discovered that it was full of first period elements that would date before 1720, as early as 1686. Kathy and Al have dedicated much of their time and energy to renovating the property. They received the 2012 Mary Conley Award for historic preservation from the Ipswich Historical Commission.
Ipswich architect Mat Cummings discovered hand-made plaster lathe, chestnut flooring, paneling similar to the nearby Day Dodge House, and a large hidden brick fireplace. Exceptional features in this house include bolection molding around the fireplace on the second floor, and some good raised field paneling. The ell was added about 1900 and the leanto was raised to 2 stories about 1930. Continue reading.
Jonathan Lummus House, 45 High St. Ipswich MA c 1712
Jonathan Lummus bought Captain 3ymon Stacy’s land and dwelling in 171 (24:236). This was the same parcel granted to Thomas Dudley, Governor, It is said that Lummus built his new house (soon after his purchase) on cellar of the Dudley house. Lummus served in King Philip’s War in 1675 was appointed a tithing man by the town in 1700. The house underwent a careful restoration in 1964. The early frame remains and the original window openin can be determined. Two walls of excellent 18th century paneling exist on the second floor. Kogging has been exposed in the two front rooms. Continue reading.
Kingsbury – Lord House, 54 High St. Ipswich MA c 1660
Henry Kingsbury, the earliest known owner of this lot, is first mentioned in Ipswich Records of 1638. The oldest elements of the present house are usually dates c. 1660, the year Kingsbury sold a house and lot to Robert Lord (2:10), but they may date from earlier in Kingsbury’s ownership. Robert Lord was an active Ipswich citizen. He was charged with keeping the public ways clean and he initiated fire laws for Ipswich – inspecting chimneys himself. Between 1648 and 1683 he served as the First Clerk of the Quarter Sessions Court. Lord was a cordwainer by trade and signed the Loyalist petition in 1666.
The house remained in the family until 1820, when Ephraim B. Harris, a housewright, bought the property. The west end of the house is probably the earliest. Among the visible first period details are chamfered timbers in the stone chimney foundation. Second and third period additions were built, and most of the trim is of Federal origin. Key features of this house include a hidden room, 10 fireplaces with delicate Federal details (added by the Lords when they redecorated in 1790). Three hundred years of stylistic variations harmonize well in this house. Continue reading
John Kimball – Lord – House 77 High St. Ipswich MA c 1690
Richard Kimball owned this lot in 1637. The property passed to John Kimball, and the present house dates stylistically from the time of his ownership, in 1696 he sold the property to another Richard Kimball (12:114), and it stayed in Kimball hands through most of the 18th century. The Lord’s acquired the house in 1784 (142:213), and were in possession through the 19th century. The house is an excellent example of growth, particularly in its collection of rear additions, and stylistic evolution. Ralph Burnham restored the house in the 1930’s and it was called “The House of Pine and Oak” for its exposed beams and ceilings. Continue reading.
John Brewer House, 82 High St. Ipswich MA c 1690
The first owner of this site was John Brewer, and the corner itself was called Brewer’s Corner in the early 18th century. Brewer sold the corner lot, with a house, to Daniel Low in 1717 (32:237). Several early features of the present house indicate it is the dwelling Brewer sold to Low, and probably dates from the late 17th century. The frame is West Anglian in type, a narrow summer beam in one of the first floor rooms has a 1 1/2″ wide chamfer, and the front room contains a great fireplace hidden behind the present opening. The central hall and second floor rooms display beaded Federal detail, and the rear extensions were probably built when those renovations were made.
John Brewer was an active citizen in Ipswich’s first century. He built a fort around Meeting House Green in 1661, and in 1683 served as Town Clerk, While in that office he recopied the two old town book. Continue reading.
Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell House 88-90 High St Ipswich MA c 1700
The oldest section of the Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell house at 88 High Street in Ipswich is said to have been built before 1690 as the home of John Shatswell, who came to join the Ipswich settlement in 1633 with his wife and four children. He was granted this piece of land and built the original small dwelling near the existing one. Shatswell was appointed a surveyor of the land upon which other homes were built, and is the earliest person in Ipswich to whom the title of Deacon was given. This House is one of the oldest residences in town and remained in the family by inheritance from the time of the original grant.
This house was the home of Col. Nathaniel Shatswell, famous for his command of Union troops during the Battle of Harris Farm during the Civil War.This lot was owned by Simon Tuttle in the early 18th century, and several late first period features of the house date it to that period. These include unusual horizontal feather-edged wainscotting and West Anglian type framing. The roof has been raised in the rear, but the original rafters survive. One of the upstairs rooms contains mid-18th century raised field paneling on the fireplace wall. The west end of the house -was added by Capt. John Lord in the 1820’s, uoon his marriage, completing the present elongated structure. Three families then occupied the house, sharing one narrow kitchen. Captain Lord was known as “India John”. He was Captain of the ship “Francis”, which sailed to the East Indies. Continue reading.
Simon Adams House, 95 High St. Ipswich MA c 1710
Simon Adams, a weaver and veteran of King Philip’s War owned this property in 1707, according to a deed of the adjoining property. This “half-house” was originally extended as a leanto ovoer the rear rooms. Perhaps at the same time the rear roof was raised to cover a full two stories and Georgian trim was added. Surviving elements of that trim include a cornice in the front room, and some fine raised-field paneling On the fireplace wall in the rear chamber. The staircase and the majority of the trim in the house are later. Around 1919 the east ell was added.
Simon Adams was born in Ipswich on 1655 to William Adams and Elizabeth Stacy (source). Simon Adams was a weaver by trade and a soldier in the campaign against “King Phillip”, the hostile Indian chief and his followers at Narragansett. The first mention of the house at this spot is in the ancient deeds of the adjoining (Jewett) property in 1707, but it could have been as early as 1678. Simon Adams grew up near the present Ipswich train station in his father William’s house. We read in Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony that in 1678, “Simon Adams, a weaver, conveyed to John Kimball, wheelwright, a house and land, “which lyeth next and doth adjoyn with Capt. Appleton, his land toward ye southwe.st and next unto Ensign French, his land, toward the norwest . . . which said house and land was my father, Will Adams, his homestead.” Simon Adams Sr. died in Ipswich on October 17, 1723 and Hannah died May 6, 1727. Continue reading.
Merchant – Choate House, 97-99 High St. Ipswich MA c 1671
Structural and documentary research on this house in the last decade revealed that what had been identified as a mid-18th century house contains the frame of a much older house of a century earlier.. Originally the house was a cottage, with a one room over one room floor plan.The house was later expanded to a typical two room, central chimney plan, and eventually the roof was raised and side and rear additions were made. The original portion of the present house is the western part. The frame in the first floor west room is of the H—type, an early structural technique. Only three known examples are known in this country. In the west attic the chimney bears the mark of the original, lower roof (which covered the 1 1/2 story house), and the rafters have mortices for corresponding low collar beams. Other first period features that are visible include huge fireplaces, a very early back door, and some verticle sheathing. Continue readiing.
John Kimball House, 104 High St. Ipswich MA c 1715
Caleb Kimball conveyed to his son John 2 acres of land in 1715 (36:23) and John built the present house soon after. Kimballs lived in this house for generations, serving in the Indian ‘wars, Revolutionary and Civil wars, and figuring prominently in Ipswich history. Interesting exterior features of the Kimball House include a 12″ overhang along the front cornice at the roofline and an early molded gutter. In 1946 the house was restored, which included removing the beam casings and later additions, and opening the fireplaces. The original portion of the house has a basic central chimney fioorplan, with two rooms on each story. The entry hall is dominated by a first-period stairway stained a rich tabacco brown color. The keeping room on the left has a great chamfered summer beam while the walls are covered with vertical wide-boarded tongue and groove sheathing, all in the same deep hue. The room on the right of the hall is Federal, with white painted delicate trim, and the bedrooms contain some fine 18th century paneling. Thus three major architectural periods are represented in one house. Continue reading.
Caleb Kimball House, 106 High St. Ipswich MA c 1715
This house and its neighbor to the southeast, the John Kimball House (see form #143), both stand on land Caleb Kimball bought of Richard Kimball in 16-65 (4:257). Caleb’s purchase included the old John CGoley House, built as early as 1638. That house was removed at an unknown date. The present house resembles the John Kimball house beside it which was built around 1715 on a portion of the lot originally purchased by Caleb Kimball. It is likely that “The House with Orange Shutters” was erected about the same time, for ^aleb Kimball, son of the 1665 purchaser. Continue reading.
John Kendrick House, 3 Hovey St. Ipswich MA c 1670
John Kendricks owned a large lot here in 1665, and the Town Records report that on July 30, 1668 Kendricks was granted the liberty to fell eight white oak trees. The first deed that records a house on the site dates from 1702, when Kendricks sold the property to his son (15:114). Waters states that “The venerable house still standing may be the Kendricks house” and stylistic evidence supports a date of about 1670. Important first period fabric includes rare fragments of a three part casement window frame in the southern gable, rear rafters of the original roof that are visible in the attic, and remnants in the chimney stack of what must have been a handsome pilaster. Roof repairs in 1978 uncovered evidence at the tie beams’ ends of a plastered cove cornice. This house is subject to preservation easements, under a Preservation Agreement held by the Ipswich Historical Commission. Continue reading.
Paine – Dodge House, 49 Jeffrey’s Neck Rd. Ipswich MA c 1695
Conflicting historical and architectural evidence makes it difficult to accurately date the house. There was a dwelling on this property by 1689, as Robert Paine, Sr., built a house here for his son, Robert Paine, Jr. in ca. 1665. The construction and finish techniques found in the house re more commonly found after 1700; thus there is some conjecture that this house was built ca. 1702, when Robert Paine’s daughter Elizabeth married Daniel Smith. The house retains much of the original floor plan. The first floor, right hand room has exposed framing. The longitudinal summer beam exhibits a bevel chamfer with lamb’s tongue stops on the south face of the beam, but no stops on the north face.
Other visible framing members exhibit a very narrow bevel chamfer, or none at all. The mill-sawn joists are 20″ to 21″ apart on centre and fit into butt cogs. Studs, hidden within the plaster walls, are pegged to the girts approximately every 28″. The first floor left hand room has early and very large size bolection molding around the fireplace opening. This type of molding was made ca. 1700-1720, and may be original to the house. Three generations of the Paine family made their home here, including Robert Paine, foreman of the Salem witch trial jury in 1692. The house became part of Greenwood Farm, an early 20th Century summer retreat for the Robert G. Dodge family. The property is now owned by the Trustees of Reservations which offers weekend tours. Continue reading.
Ross Tavern 52 Jeffrey’s Neck Rd. Ipswich MA c 1680
The Ross Tavern is, in its main body, 5 bays wide and one room deep. There is a wing to the right hand side and a large ell to the rear. The house is composed of two earlier houses moved on to the site and restored by Daniel S. Wendell. The main body of the house was dismantled and moved from an earlier Ipswich site abutting the Choate Bridge. The left-hand rooms and chimney bay comprised the original part of that structure. That single cell building was probably moved onto the Choate Bridge site between 1734 and 1736 and enlarged at that time by the addition of the right-hand rooms.
In the 19th century the building became known as the Ross Tavern. The rear ell, originally the Collins-Lord house on High Street (just south of 33 High Street), was also dismantled and moved by Wendell. In 1940, a kitchen wing was added to the right-hand side of the two reconstructed and restored 17th century houses and a small lean-to was built next to the ell at the left rear.
The house was restored to a high style First Period appearance by Daniel Wendell on the basis of very specific physical evidence. The clapboarded exterior has gables on the front and rear facades (restored from evidence of mortises in the plate), and a deep two story entrance porch originally was proven by mortises on the outer face of the framing). All the gables have molded verge boards (unweathered ends of the purlins on the exterior indicated an original verge board). There are elaborately embellished overhangs at the second story on three sides and in each of the gables. The second story overhang had been closed in for a number of years before the house was dismantled. Wendell found three cyma molded overhanging girts, mitered at the corners (the posts above have a right angled tenon which helps to hold the mitered ends together). The girts are supported from beneath at the centers by the projecting rounded ends of the T shaped summer beams of the left-hand room. At the corners, the overhanging girts are supported by brackets (restored on the basis of impressions in the wood on the underside of the girts, but with conjectural profiles). Continue reading
Shatswell Planters Cottage, 52 Jeffreys Neck Rd. Ipswich MA c 1646
The Shatswell family is one of the earliest to arrive in
Ipswich MA. A small building that was moved to the Collins-Lord property on Jeffreys Neck Road is believed to have been the original planters cottage of John Shatswell or his son Richard. It may have been built as early as 1646, in which case it would be the oldest structure in Ipswich. Continue reading.
Labor in Vain Road House, Labor in Vain Rd. Ipswich MA c 1725
The main body of the “Beloselski” House on Labor-in-Vain Road is 5 bays wide, one room deep and 2 1/2 stories high with a rear lean-to which may be integral. The house was extended by an ell to the left rear c. 1810 and by a full lean-to dormer in the late 19th or early 20th century. A second ell of 2 stories and a screened porch were added to the rear, very likely in conjunction with use of the building in the 20th century as the club house for the Labor-in-Vain country club.
First Period features, in the form of an exposed, decorated frame, are seen in the right-hand room and chamber. In the right-hand room, the longitudinal summer beam, the chimney girt, the front (south east) corner post and the chimney posts have inch-wide flat chamfers and lamb’s tongue stops. The chimney post has the added embellishment of a taper stop near the floor. In the right-hand chamber, all the framing is exposed and has inch-wide flat chamfers and lamb’s tongue stops. Rising braces are exposed in the rear wall of this room, but whether their presence indicates plank frame construction is unknown. In the lobby the staircase is embellished with a handrail molded on both sides and with possibly original turned balusters, of early Second Period style profile. The balusters are similar in profile to those found in the Smith house nearby at 142 Argilla Road. In the attic, a principal rafter/common purlin roof made with oak timbers is visible. Continue reading.
Harte House, 51 Linebrook Rd. Ipswich MA c 1650
An Irish tanner named Thomas Hart arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship Desire from Baddow, Essex County, England. He was briefly indentured to tailor John Brown in Boston. After ending his servitude in 1637, Thomas Hart settled in Ipswich and by 1639 had become a proprietor. In 1640 he built a one-room starter home, and gradually expanded it. Thomas Hart was widely respected and was one of the town’s first selectmen and a town clerk. Thomas Hart, senior died in 1673 and is buried in the Old Burying Ground along with his wife Alice who lived until 1682. They had two daughters Sara and Mary, and two sons, Samuel and Thomas.
This venerable “Cape” survives in three locations: Ipswich, the Met. Museum in NYC and Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Ipswich retains some early interior detailing and the picturesque exterior, with irregular fenestration and extensive rear additions reflecting generations of growth and change. The frame and walls of one lower room of the Hart House are displayed in the American Wing at the Met. Museum of Art, and Winterthur Museum displays the interior of a chamber room. Continue reading.
Chapman House, 297 Linebrook Rd. Ipswich MA c 1720
Chapmans are listed among the earliest settlers of Linebrook in the 17th century. Although the house may have been built by Chapmans, the first Chapman to be positively identified as owner was Joseph in 1832. Joseph and his wife Mary had eight daughters remembered in the area as “that remarkable family of girls,” many of whom married into local families. The one son, Joseph Warren Chapman (b. 1814, d. 1884) inherited the house. The building is perhaps the oldest structure in Linebrook. According to previous descriptions, it once had a fireplace in which one could stand up, and summer beams with simple bevel chamfers.
Abraham Howe Barn 421 Linebrook Rd. Ipswich MA c 1725
This 18th century barn was erected by Emerson Howe and was converted to residential use in 1948. The Howe homestead area of Linebrook Road includes at least six houses built by members of the Howe family. The site of the house of Elizabeth Howe, convicted as a witch and put to death in 1692 is nearby. Many Howes are buried in the Linebrook cemeteries.
The Howe barn is believed to be a rare surviving example of a First Period barn frame, and is one of four such structures known to be extant in Essex County. Considering the preservation rate of redundant barns, the Howe barn may owe its survival to its conversion to a house. The building adds to our limited knowledge of the form and framing characteristics of First Period agricultural buildings. Construction characteristics of this barn, including angle of roof, placement of pins, treatment and size of stock and workmanship are, according to Robert St. George, nearly identical to those of the Stanley-Lake barn nearby in
Ephraim Harris House, 20 Mineral St. Ipswich MA c 1666
In 1820, Ephraim Harris was commissioned by Capt. Robert Kimball to build a new house on his Market St. lot. The lot was already occupied by an old dwelling house built by Daniel Warner prior to 1666. Harris removed a portion of this house to his own land on Mineral St. and enlarged it. A summer beam running from girt-to-girt with a 2 1/2″ chamfer is a remaining first period feature in the earliest western half of the house. In 1997 a large tree fell on the house, crushing the roof. The owner replaced it with a much steeper roof, restoring its First Period appearance and providing living space in the attic. Continue reading.
James Brown House, 56 North Main St. Ipswich MA c 1700
In 1721, Stephen Perkins, a shopkeeper and James Brown, a yeoman, bought from Thomas Lovell, currier (39:61) a house on a large lot that extended from North Main St. to High St. Subsequent divisions and sales have greatly reduced the lot, and considerable alterations have occurred in the house, but the house transfered in 1721 remains at the core of the present house. There had been a dwelling on the larger lot before 1654, when Thomas Lovell acquired the property but the oak frame with 1″ chamfers in the southern portion of the present house is of the type constructed in the late First period.
James Brown was sole owner of this house by 1722. The northern section appears to date from the 1720’s, andprobably was added by Brown after he had acquired the small house. Continue reading.
Dr. John Calef House, 7 Poplar St. Ipswich MA c 1671
Deacon Thomas Knowlton bought 3/4 of an acre from Goodman Younglove in 1671 and built this house on South Main St. John Heard acquired it in1777 and moved it to land he owned on Poplar St. He then built a pretentious Federal period mansion in 1795 on the old site facing South Green, now the Ipswich Museum. Dr. John Calef, a noted Tory who appeared in Paul Revere’s famous broadside, “A Warm Place in Hell,” lived in the house before Heard purchased it.
From 1754 to 1760 Dr. John Calef was a surgeon in the “Old French War” in ’56. From 1755 on he was frequently Representative from Ipswich to the General Court, and was in opposition to the growing differences between the colonies and the British Government. In 1774, after one of his votes was called into question,an angry crowd surrounded the house. The people of Ipswich never forgave John Calef. A cartoon by Paul Revere pictured the seven who had voted retraction of a petition to the King. Calef is drawn with a calf’s head. Calef sold the property to John Heard and joined the British troops at Fort George. At the close of the war he settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, there practicing his profession until his death. Continue reading.
Shoreborne Wilson – Samuel Appleton House, 4 South Main St. Ipswich MA c 1685
Shoreborne Wilson, a cooper, bought this lot in 1672 and built the house some time between 1685 and 1692. Framing reveals the northwest portion to be the earliest. Col. Samuel Appleton, a veteran of the Andros Rebellion (see Area Form E) and the Indian Wars, acquired the house in 1702 and built the southeast portion. The northwest section of the house is the earliest portion. Notable period features include a handsome chamfered frame and evidence of the size and arrangement of the original casement windows.
Col. Samuel Appleton, veteran of the Andros Rebellion and the Indian Wars, acquired the house in 1702. He built a southeast addition. In 1920 the house was restored by Ralph Burnham. He introduced reproductions of 17th century trim, casements, and fireplaces. Continue reading.
John Whipple House, 53 South Main St. Ipswich MA 1677
The 1677 Whipple house is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Ipswich museum, and is one of the finest examples of “first period” American architecture (1625-1725). The oldest part of the house dates to 1677 when the military officer and entrepreneur Captain John Whipple constructed a townhouse near the center of Ipswich. Prior to the 20th Century, oral history had attributed the house to John Fawne who moved to Haverhill before 1638, and to Richard Saltonstall, the town’s first miller. Dendrochronology tests conducted in 2002 dated the oldest timbers in the house to 1677.
The John Whipple House was once believed to have been, started by John Fawn before 1640, was originally a two story, two room house – with steep-pitched, thatched roof and casement windows of the Elizabethan mode. Elder John Whipple lived here and it was owned and occupied by successive generations of his descendants for two hundred years. The east half was added in 1670 and the lean-to after 1700. The house possesses heavy oak and tamarack beams, gun-stock posts, pine paneling with shadow molding, clay and brick filled walls and huge fireplaces of the early 17th century type. In 1898 the Ipswich Historical Society bought and restored the house. Many of the old Ipswich families have contributed to the furnishings which date from the 17th and 18th centuries. The house has been named a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Park Service. Continue reading
Benjamin Kimball House 3 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1720 (2nd period)
Benjamin Kimball Jr. bought this house lot on June 10, 1803 and three months later he sold the lot with a dwelling to Elisha Gould. Structural evidence suggests Kimball moved a mid-18th century, 1 1/ 2story house to the lot, and modified it extensively. The cellar reveals the end of a huge wooden lintel beam that spans a hidden fireplace. This large fireplace in the left front room, first floor, stands behind a smaller fireplace now visible in this room. In addition, the vertical cornerposts in the front two rooms of the first floor were shouldered at the first floor ceiling level, indicating that at one time a roof began at this point; hence the building was formerly a story-and a-half Cape instead of the present two story house. Further evidence supporting this theory may be seen in the change of stair detail: a simple heavy first-quarter-18th-century hand rail ending at the first floor ceiling is continued by a more delicate balustrade of the Federal period at the second story level. This was probably added by Kimball in 1803.This is the only known early 18th century Cape raised to a two-story level in Ipswich. Continue reading.
Nathaniel Hovey House, 9 Summer St. Ipswich MA
The Nathaniel Hovey house at 11 Summer Street was built in 1718, the First Period of construction. The uneven layout of the front suggests that it was originally built as a half house and expanded. The ell on the left side appears to be a modification of a Beverly Jog. The Hovey family were among the original settlers of Ipswich. Nathaniel Hovey Sr. was born in Ipswich in 1668 but lived only to the age of 28, about the time of the birth of his son Nathaniel Jr. in 1696. The property on Summer St. belonged to the younger Hovey.
Jonathan Pulcifer House 15 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1718
Jonathan Pulcifer (Pulsifer) built this house in 1718 on Summer Street, one of the “oldest ways” in Ipswich MA. He was probably the son of Benedict Pulsifer, an early settler of Ipswich who died in 1695. There was also a John Pulsifer who settled in Gloucester about the same time. The probably son of the builder of this house, Jonathan Pulcifer Jr. is listed as a sailor in the French and Indian War. Continue reading.
Knowlton House, 27 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1688
The lot on the corner of Summer St. and County St. was granted originally to Humphrey Bradstreet. He sold his house and land to Deacon Thomas Knowlton in 1646.Thomas Knowlton Sr. was a cordwainer and a master builder who arrived with his brother John during the Great Migration from England. The will of Deacon Thomas Knowlton (1) is dated 1653.
Deacon Thomas Knowlton (2), was born in 1662, the son of John Knowlton, Thomas Knowlton’s brother. He is believed to have built this house in 1688. In that same year he sold property on County Street to Nathaniel Knowlton, who sold it to Abraham Knowlton in 1725. Abraham Knowlton’s house also still stands. The MACRIS site states that Nathaniel Knowlton acquired the property in 1688, and that Waters believed he built the present house between 1688 and 1725, but key first period features such as the many overhangs point toward the beginning of that time span. Continue reading.
Foster – Grant House 39 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1717
Nathaniel Knowlton sold a small lot to James Foster in 1717, and Poster probably “built the house (35:63). The property remained in the Foster family until 1826, when it was sold to Ephriam Grant. James Poster was the first postmaster in Ipswich and a Deacon of the South Church. Summer “beam construction and reused shadow molded sheathing on the attic door are some of the architectural highlights of this house along, with other original First Period elements. Continue reading.
Willcomb – Pinder House 43 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1718
William Willcomb, a fisherman, bought land on Summer St. in 1718 and built this house. The Pinder family came into possession in 1801. The house demonstrates the persistence of first period features in Ipswich MA, including an exceptional fireplace in the left room and an extremely rare bannister with heavy beading. The interior of the home features hand-hewn summer beams, wide plank flooring and the original fireplaces. An Ipswich Historic Commission plaque identifies the house.
Out on Jeffreys Neck, William Willcomb operated a fishing stage, a small building and platform for salting and drying fish. The next owner, William Benjamin Pinder was a corporal with Col. Appleton’s company in the ill-fated 1756 expedition against the French at Louisburg, Nova Scotia during the French and Indian War. The Wilcomb and Pinder families were among the early settlers in Ipswich MA. Continue reading.
James Foster House 46 Summer St. Ipswich MA c 1720
James Foster bought this land in 1720 and built a house with first period characteristics. The original frame is exposed in places and the chimney girt in the southeast first floor room has simple beveled lamb’s tongue chamfer stops. On the second floor is a rare 2-panel door. Except for the mid-18th century stairs, much early material is concealed. The roofline shows that it was once a smaller house, later doubled in size and remodeled to appear Georgian, with the two chimneys, dormers and a symmetrical front. James Poster was the first postmaster of Ipswich and a Deacon of the South Parish. He bought this former orchard land from Nathaniel Clark who moved to Newbury
Appleton-Kimball House, 24 Topsfield Rd , 1688
The land on which the Moses Kimball house was built, is part of a larger grant to early settler Samuel Appleton, and passed to his son John Appleton. The early homes of Samuel and John Appleton in this location are long gone, but this house is often referred to as the Appleton-Kimball house. Col. John Appleton, son of Samuel Appleton, built a finer home at the corner of North Main Street and Central Street in 1707 and lived there for the rest of his life.
John Appleton sold a five and 3/4 acre lot on the south side of Topsfield Road to Moses Kimball, a taylor, who built some portion of this house in 1688. In 1696 Moses gave an acre of the land with the house on it to his son Moses Kimball Jr., who died in 1749. The enlarged house stayed in the Kimball family for several generations. A portion of the property was sold to the Eastern Railroad for the line that exists today. A later Moses Kimball in this family line was an unsuccessful Boston politician and owner of the Boston Museum, which became the Museum of Fine Arts. Continue reading
William Howard House, 41 Turkey Shore Rd. Ipswich MA c 1680
Thomas Emerson bought this lot in 1 638 and built a house. He sold the house and land to Daniel Ringe in 1 6I4.8 (1 :169), and William Howard, felt maker and hatter, bought the same in 1679. Architectural evidence reveals that the present house was built about 1680. Thus Howard must have removed the ancient Emerson House and built a new structure shortly after 1679.
The house was originally built as a half house and later added to and remodeled in 1709. The house is full of architectural quirks. The interior is partitioned, which is unusual for the period. The stairway has no rails, and the kitchen fireplace is angled to make room for an extra window. The chimney construction is unique and the fireplace is out of plumb with the house. The fenestration, which includes a 20th century restoration of the original casement windottfs in the left hand portion of the house and the hung sash on the right, serves as an architectural document showing the transition from the late 17th century to early 18th century building techniques. Continue reading.
Preston – Foster House, 6 Water St. Ipswich MA c 1690
Roger Preston sold his house and lot to Reginald Foster in 1655, and his son Jacob Foster inherited the property. It is not clear whether Reginald or Jacob built the present house. The house has a typical first period floor plan, and rear additions including a two story wing, built about 1890 and renovated in 1967. The righthand half of the house contains two massive t-round chamfered summer beams dating to the last quarter of the 17th century. If the timbers are original, the house dates to about 1690. Smallbeaded chamfering in the second story framing suggests a very late first-period style house of about 1730. The exterior facade, with very sharp pitched roof and purlins that extend and are exposed beyond the gable end, is unusual and indicates a first period date.
An important feature of this building lies in the variation of period material: heavy chamfered framing, fine, rich-hued unpainted horizontal feather-edged paneling in the first-floor right front room, and the superimposition of later Federal detail in the central hall area and upstairs fireplace walls. This house is subject to preservation easements, under a Preservation Agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Continue reading
Harris – Sutton House, 8 Water St. Ipswich MA c 1715
Abner Harris, who purchased the property in 1743 had a shipyard at the foot of Summer St. Captain Ebenezer Sutton, for whom the house is named, bought the house in 1816 (212:230). He piloted the stately ship “Ten Brothers” up the Ipswich River the year after he acquired the V/ater St. house. Sutton’s journal discusses the house in detail. Construction of the present house may have been begun by Nathaniel Knowlton, who bought the lot in 1702-03 or Joseph Smith, who bought the corner lot from Knowlton and eventually sold the property to Abner Harris.
When timber framer Jim Whidden began disassembling the frame, architect Matt Cummings and architectural historian Sue Nelson discovered evidence dating the eastern part of the house dated to 1677. The location had been a shipyard owned by Moses Pengry. Etchings of schooners on the house sheathing confirmed the discovery, since they were a “record of what kinds of ships were being built at the time.” The house is now called the Pengry-Harris-Sutton house. Continue reading.
Glazier – Sweet House 12 Water St Ipswich MA c 1728 (early2nd period)
Originally built c. 1728, the core of this small, simple, vernacular house has grown with additions on three sides and has been extensively altered. However, the additions and alterations do not obscure the original half house form and probably early Beverly Jog addition. The house is set facing east across Water Street and the Ipswich River. It is set back from the street on a corner lot. A low rubble stone retaining wall in front of the house contains the difference in elevation between the house and the street.
The original part of the house, heavily restored since 1987, is three bays wide by two bays deep. It is two stories high under a side gable roof. Much alteration has recently occurred on the facade: a modest Neo-Colonial door surround was added at the narrow opening in the first bay; the c. 1965 bay window that occupied the other bay of the first floor in 1978 was removed and two windows restored in its place. The two paired, high-placed windows of the second floor (probably an early twentieth century feature) were replaced with windows that align with those of the first floor. The roof is framed without returns and there is no cornice. On the original block and the Beverly Jog addition current sash is consistently 6/9 on the first floor of and 6/6 on the second, so is probably contemporary. An exterior chimney on the north elevation existed in 1978 but was probably added in the twentieth century. A contemporary picture window is located on the first floor of the north elevation of the rear addition, a 6/6 window is located above it on the second floor. The house expanded with many ells in the perhaps two hundred and eighty-six years since its erection. The first possibly late eighteenth or early nineteenth century addition was probably the two and one-half story gable-roof ell placed perpendicularly off the rear elevation. It is no longer possible to say how many bays deep it was as a one and one-half story Beverly Jog addition on its south elevation and two gable-roof ell additions of two and one stories on its north elevation obscure the original configuration. Continue reading.
Harris – Stanwood House, 28 Water St. Ipswich MA c 1696
John Harris bought this land in 1696 (16:11) and built the house. John Stanwood, a Revolutionary War veteran, acquired the property in 1809 (187:233) and it remained in his family for many years. The Stanwood family were wool-pullers and their business establishment became Willcomb’s Store (form #47).
The Stanwood women were prominent educators. In 1639 Caroline Stanwood established a school for girls in Ipswich and Harriet Stanwood taught Latin for several years at Elmira College in the second half of the 19th century and then became Secretary of the Women’s Board of Foreign Missions. A Victorian wing was added c. 1884, and the point of extension is clearly seen in the roof. Exceptional Georgian paneling is the finest feature in the house. Continue reading.
Jabesh Sweet House, 32 Water St. Ipswich MA c 1713
Jabesh Sweet built a house on this lot in 1713 or shortly thereafter. Most of the exposed elements in’this house are of mid 19th century vintage. However a first period frame and two parellel summer beams with heavy beveled chamfers support the earlier date. Shouldered corner posts are another special feature found in this house. Continue reading.
Click on the houses in the map below to view photos and descriptions of houses.
Ipswich MA First Period houses and early 2nd Period houses in the Architectural Preservation District or adjoining. Red houses are 17th Century First Period houses. Blue houses are 18th Century First Period construction through 1720. Yellow houses are early 2nd Period, also known as Georgian (1720-1776, View this map full size at Google Maps.