Ipswich First Period House and Streetscape Trail

Ipswich First Period House and Streetscape Trail
1 South Village Green
Ipswich, MA 01938
978-741-1244      

The lasting colonial character of Ipswich is one of the most significant in the country. Visitors to Ipswich are able to see whole “streetscapes” of First and Second Period houses (1625-1725) and truly feel transported to an authentic colonial town of the 17th century.  These early American streetscapes were built along trails used by the Agawam Indians, following the natural landscape. When the community grew around the Ipswich River and Meetinghouse Green, people did not need large front or side lawns.  

Properties often extended to the rear, where much of the household needs were taken care of including gardening, firewood, orchards and animal husbandry. The contiguous historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, East Street, County Street, Summer Street, South Green and along the Ipswich River are well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th century private residences. The north-south route along High Street and County Road dating back to the early 1600s was the predecessor of the Ipswich Turnpike (1A) which opened in 1803, establishing Ipswich as a vital stop for stage travel.  Inns and “Ordinaries” (taverns) sprang up to provide services for travelers. We recommend starting the trail at the Whipple House.

Driving Directions: 

From Route 1A South, go through Ipswich town center, cross Choate Bridge and the starting point house (1677 Whipple House) is 1.4 mile beyond on the right. From Route 1A North, the Whipple house is on the left across from the South Green Common, before Route 1A veers left toward the town center. From the Whipple House, follow the map provided here across Routh 1A, to County Street, across the County Street Bridge, and into the 17th century neighborhoods. Park in the Visitor Information Center parking lot on Route 1A, next to the Ipswich Historical Society's Heard House. Pick up the Ipswich Trail Map at the nearby Visitor Center (open May - October). Off season, pick them up at the Heard House.

Site Notes & Advisories: 

Categories: 

  • First Period Architecture
  • Historic Resources
  • Early Settlement Trail
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Rail Trail
Rail Trail Trailhead