Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,175 at the 2010 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island (Massachusetts). A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest, and for Crane Beach, a barrier beach near the Crane estate. Ipswich was incorporated as a town in 1634.
Ipswich riverfront c. 1906
Birthplace of American Independence
|Incorporated||August 5, 1634|
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||42.5 sq mi (110.1 km2)|
|• Land||32.1 sq mi (83.2 km2)|
|• Water||10.4 sq mi (26.9 km2)|
|Elevation||50 ft (15 m)|
|• Density||310/sq mi (120/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0619448|
Ipswich was founded by John Winthrop the Younger, son of John Winthrop, one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and its first governor, elected in England in 1629. Several hundred colonists sailed from England in 1630 in a fleet of 11 ships, including Winthrop's flagship, the Arbella. Investigating the region of Salem and Cape Ann, they entertained aboard the Arbella for a day, June 12, 1630, a native chief of the lands to the north, Chief Masconomet. The event was recorded in Winthrop's journal on the 13th, but Winthrop did not say how they overcame the language barrier. The name they heard from Masconomet concerning the country over which he ruled has been reconstructed as Wonnesquamsauke, which the English promptly rendered into the anglicized "Agawam". The colonists, however, sailed to the south where some buildings had already been prepared for them at a place newly named Charlestown.
That winter they lost a few hundred colonists from malnutrition and disease. They also experienced their first nor'easter, which cost them some fingers and toes, as well as houses destroyed by the fires they kept burning day and night. Just as Winthrop was handing out the last handful of grain, the supply ship Lyon entered Boston Harbor. John now sent for his family in England, but his then wife, Margaret, her children, and his eldest son, John, whose mother was the elder John's first wife, Mary Forth, did not arrive until November, on the Lyon.
John the Younger resided with his father and stepmother until 1633, when he resolved to settle in Agawam, with the permission of the General Court of Massachusetts. Captain John Smith had written about the Angoam or Aggawom region in 1614, referring to it as "an excellent habitation, being a good and safe harbour." There is no record of any native resistance to the colonization either at Charlestown or at Agawam, even though estimates of the earlier populations run into the thousands. A plague of 1616–1618 and again in the early 1630s, perhaps smallpox brought from abroad, had apparently devastated the once populous Indian tribes. The fields stood vacant. The colonists encountered but few natives.
John the Younger and 12 men aboard a shallop sailed into Ipswich harbor and took up residence there. Two men continued up the river (now River Road) to a large meadow, which they called New Meadows, now Topsfield. Agawam was incorporated on August 5, 1634, as Ipswich, after Ipswich in the county of Suffolk, England. The name "Ipswich" was taken "in acknowledgment of the great honor and kindness done to our people which took shipping there." Nathaniel Ward, an assistant pastor in town from 1634 to 1636, wrote the first code of laws for Massachusetts and later published the religious/political work, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam in America in England.
Pioneers would become farmers, fishermen, shipbuilders or traders. The tidal Ipswich River provided water power for mills, and salt marshes supplied hay for livestock. A cottage industry in lace-making developed. But in 1687, Ipswich residents, led by the Reverend John Wise, protested a tax imposed by the governor, Sir Edmund Andros. As Englishmen, they argued, taxation without representation was unacceptable. Citizens were jailed, but then Andros was recalled to England in 1689, and the new British sovereigns, William III and Mary II, issued colonists another charter. The rebellion is the reason the town calls itself the "Birthplace of American Independence".
Great clipper ships of the 19th century, however, bypassed Ipswich in favor of the deep-water seaports at Salem, Newburyport, Quincy, and Boston. The town remained primarily a fishing and farming community, its residents living in older homes they could not afford to replace—leaving Ipswich with a considerable inventory of early architecture. In 1822, a stocking manufacturing machine which had been smuggled out of England arrived at Ipswich, violating a British ban on exporting such technology, and the community developed as a mill town. In 1828, the Ipswich Female Seminary was founded. In 1868, Amos A. Lawrence established the Ipswich Hosiery Mills beside the river. It would expand into the largest stocking mill in the country by the turn of the 20th century. What may be the last witchcraft trial in North America was held in Ipswich in 1878. In the Ipswich witchcraft trial, a member of the Christian Science religion was accused of using his mental powers to harm others, including a spinster living in the town.
The town government was reformed in 1950 with the acceptance of the Town Manager Charter. This charter was rescinded by the voters, regained, lost again, and the present Town Manager-Selectmen Charter was adopted by the voters in 1967. In 2012 Ipswich hired its first female Town Manager, Robin Crosbie, who served until her retirement in 2018.
In 1910, Richard T. Crane, Jr. of Chicago, the business magnate owner of Crane Plumbing, bought Castle Hill, a drumlin on Ipswich Bay. He hired Olmsted Brothers, successors to Frederick Law Olmsted, to landscape his 3,500-acre (14 km2) estate, and engaged the Boston architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge to design an Italian Renaissance-Revival style villa on the summit. A grande allée, 160 feet (49 m) wide and lined with statuary, would run the half mile from house to sea. But his wife, Florence, loathed the building. Crane promised that if she still didn't like it in 10 years, he would replace it. True enough, in 1928 a new 59-room mansion designed by Chicago architect David Adler in the English Stuart style stood in its place, called the Great House. At Mrs. Crane's death in 1949, the entire property was bequeathed to The Trustees of Reservations, which uses it as a venue for concerts and weddings.
Ipswich is drained by the Ipswich River and Plum Island Sound, which join at their mouths and empty through a narrow but navigable channel at the foot of Castle Hill around Sandy Point into Ipswich Bay adjoining the Atlantic Ocean. The southern portion of Plum Island falls within the area allotted to the town, making up the town's ocean shore along with Castle Neck, south of the Sound. The northeastern part of town is marshy, where the Rowley River, Roger Island River, and Eagle Hill River drain into Plum Island Sound. South of Castle Neck, the Castle Neck River separates the town from neighboring Essex. A large portion of the western end of town is dominated by Willowdale State Forest, and other portions of the town are also protected land, including Crane Wildlife Refuge on Castle Neck, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island, as well as Hamlin Reservation, Heartbreak Hill Reservation, Bull Brook Reservoir, Greenwood Farm and a portion of Appleton Farms Sanctuary, which extends into Hamilton.
Ipswich is located in central Essex County and is 11 miles (18 km) south of Newburyport, 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Gloucester, 13 miles (21 km) north of Salem, 20 miles (32 km) east of Lawrence, and 28 miles (45 km) northeast of Boston. It is bordered by Rowley to the north, Boxford to the west, and Topsfield, Hamilton, Essex and Gloucester to the south. (The border with Gloucester lies across Essex Bay, and as such there is no land connection between the two.)
There is no interstate highway which runs through Ipswich; Interstate 95 passes through neighboring Boxford and Topsfield. U.S. Route 1, known as the Newburyport Turnpike, passes through the western end of town. Massachusetts Route 1A and Route 133 pass through the town, entering concurrently from Rowley and passing through the center of town before splitting south of the town center; Route 1A heads towards Hamilton and Beverly, while Route 133 leads to Essex and Gloucester.
Ipswich has a station along the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail, providing service between Newburyport and Boston's North Station. There is no air service within town; the nearest small airports are in Newbury and Beverly, and the nearest national service is Boston's Logan International Airport. The Ipswich Essex Explorer provides summertime weekend shuttle service connecting Ipswich MBTA train station with Crane Beach, Essex and Appleton Farms.
This article describes the town of Ipswich as a whole. Additional demographic detail is available which describes only the more densely populated central settlement or village within the town, although that detail is included in the aggregate values reported here. See: Ipswich (CDP), Massachusetts.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,987 people, 5,290 households, and 3,459 families residing in the town. The population density was 398.6 people per square mile (153.9/km2). There were 5,601 housing units at an average density of 66.4 persons/km2 (171.9 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the town was 97.60% White, 0.39% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,290 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 8.4% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 34.6% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 28.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $57,284, and the median income for a family was $74,931. Males had a median income of $51,408 versus $38,476 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,516. 7.1% of the population and 4.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.8% are under the age of 18 and 13.0% are 65 or older.
The first Ipswich Grammar School began around 1636.
Currently, Paul F. Doyon Elementary and Winthrop Elementary schools are the town's two elementary schools. The schools use the Everyday Math program. Grade levels end in 5th grade, then the students move on to the Ipswich Middle School.
The middle school and high school are housed in the same building and share the library, the cafeteria, performing arts facilities and athletic resources (tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a football field, and a running track).
Ipswich High School (IHS) has been considered one of the best public high schools in the Boston area. The Ipswich Public Schools also have what is considered one of the best performing arts programs. In 2005, the high school was named a "Blue Ribbon" school. The Blue Ribbon is an award for national excellence in education under the No Child Left Behind legislation. The school also received a Vanguard award for similar academic prowess. IHS offers college-prep, honors, and AP-level classes. IHS has one of the highest graduation rates in Massachusetts.
Ipswich Middle/High School is considered to have one of the best music programs in the state. It contains choruses, bands (including jazz, pep and concert bands), orchestra and symphony orchestra. There are also plans to integrate dance into the program in the near future.
The high school mascot is the Tiger, and the school colors are orange and black. Ipswich competes in the Cape Ann League. The high school football team won the Division 3A Super Bowl Championship in 2006. It was the school's first title since 1992, and the fifth in school history. (Previous titles were achieved in 1974, 1977, 1991, and 1992.) Ipswich's traditional rival is Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.
Appleton Farms is a park in Ipswich, Massachusetts, that is owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations. The property was deeded to the Trustees in 1998.Bagwell Island
Bagwell Island is a small barren island within the Eagle Hill River, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, United States. The island is off the northwestern coast of Great Neck, just west of Eagle Hill Road on Eagle Hill.
The island is a part of the North Shore Salt Marsh.Bass Rock (Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts)
Bass Rock is a small barren rock between Plum Island Sound and Ipswich Bay, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA. The rock is just south of Sandy Point and Sand Point State Reserve on Plum Island and northeast of Little Neck (neighborhood) on Great Neck.
The rock is named for the Striped Bass that frequent the local area from May to October.Bradford Hill
Bradford R. "Brad" Hill (born January 22, 1967) is an American politician who represents the 4th Essex district in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He is the current Second Assistant Minority Leader.Prior to his election to the House, Hill served on the Ipswich Board of Selectman and the Hamilton Zoning Board of Appeals.Castle Hill (Ipswich, Massachusetts)
Castle Hill refers to either a 165-acre (67 ha) drumlin surrounded by sea and salt marsh or to the mansion that sits on the hill. Both are part of the 2,100-acre (850 ha) Crane Estate located on Argilla Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The former summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. Crane, Jr., the estate includes a historic mansion, 21 outbuildings, and designed landscapes overlooking Ipswich Bay, on the seacoast off Route 1, north of Boston. Its name derives from a promontory in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, whence many early Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers immigrated, and predates the Crane mansion.
The estate is a relatively intact work from the Country Place Era of the turn of the 20th century, when wealthy families built extensive country estates. The Crane Estate includes architectural and landscape designs from at least seven firms or individuals of national reputation, including the Olmsted Brothers and Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, and is extensively documented. In recognition of its state of preservation and design, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998. The property is now owned by The Trustees of Reservations and is open to the public.Crane Beach
Crane Beach is a 1,234-acre (4.99 km2) conservation and recreation property located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, immediately north of Cape Ann. It consists of a four-mile-long (6 km) sandy beachfront, dunes, and a maritime pitch pine forest. Five and a half miles of hiking trails through the dunes and forest are accessible from the beachfront.
Crane Beach is open year-round, and is free to Ipswich residents with the purchase of a yearly beach parking sticker. Non-residents must pay a fee to enter ($30 on weekends during peak season for a car, as of July 2018). In the summer months there is a refreshment bar, and the restrooms, showers and changing facilities are open year-round.
During low tide, it is often possible to wade out to sand bars, and during the warm months small boats often dock on these sand bars. Across the water, Plum Island and its sandy beaches are visible.
Crane Beach was established in 1945 as a gift from Richard T. Crane Jr., son of Richard T. Crane, and his family. Along with Castle Hill and the Crane Wildlife Refuge, it is owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations.
There is an annual celebration that takes place at the beach on June 16 (if the weather is sufficient) called Crane Beach Day. On this day, students from the Doyon and Winthrop Elementary Schools, as well as the Ipswich Middle School students, gather at the beach during the school day. The middle school students have the option to take part in a run that goes from the Ipswich Town Hall, to the beach. Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. Crane, Jr. (previous owners of the Crane Estate) began a tradition of inviting all the Ipswich school children to the beach for a day in 1911 to celebrate their son, Cornelius’, 6th birthday. Ever since, the tradition of Crane Beach Day has been repeated.
In 2011, the schools celebrated the 100th anniversary of the event. Several students, with birthdays closest to the day of the event, arrived at the beach by boat like they would when the tradition was started. There were people hired to impersonate the Crane family and greet people as they got to the beach, a replica of the old Ipswich Lighthouse, and even a special ice cream flavor dedicated to Cornelius (called “Cornelius Crunch”). In addition, every student received a celebratory t-shirt to wear to the beach, featuring a picture of Cornelius on his 6th birthday.Crane Beach is an important nesting site for the threatened piping plover. The 2006 International Piping Plover Breeding Census estimated that only 3,884 plovers remained. According to the same 2006 census, Crane Beach was home to 19 breeding pairs and 40 total adults.The Greenhead fly is active in this area for a few weeks in July.The Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) provides summer weekend bus service on sunny days between the Ipswich MBTA train station and Crane Beach. The walk-on fee is $2 per person.Dick Berggren
Richard "Dick" Berggren (born May 27, 1942) is a motorsports announcer and magazine editor from Manchester, Connecticut in the United States. He is commonly seen wearing a trademark flat cap.Eagle Hill River
The Eagle Hill River is a small river in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
The river arises within salt marshes just north of Ipswich, and empties into the Plum Island Sound. Broad and shallow, its total length is approximately 2 miles.Grape Island (Essex County, Massachusetts)
Not to be confused with Grape Island (Massachusetts)Grape Island, sometimes known as Grape Island, Ipswich, is a part of Plum Island, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the United States. For nearly two centuries, Grape Island was a small, but thriving community of fishermen, farmers, and clam diggers, until the land was purchased by the US Government and turned into a wildlife refuge in the middle of the 20th Century. Its last resident was Lewis Kilborn who lived his entire life on the island until his death in 1984.Greenwood Farm (Ipswich, Massachusetts)
Greenwood Farm is a historic property and nature reserve located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, which is owned by The Trustees of Reservations. It features the Paine-Dodge (or Paine) House, a First Period farmhouse constructed in 1694.Hamlin Reservation
Hamlin Reservation is a nature reserve located in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The reserve was established by The Trustees of Reservations in 1993.Holy Island, Massachusetts
Holy Island is a marshy island located off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann. The island is situated immediately west of Plum Island and is part of the Town of Ipswich in Essex County. The Rowley River runs by the island, which is the northernmost of four marshy islands.Ipswich Camp
Ipswich Camp is a former infantry and field artillery coastal defense base camp that existed from between May 1942 and November 1943 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA. Company L of the 181st Infantry Regiment was stationed at the camp, alongside Battery B of the 211th Field Artillery Battalion. The infantry company patrolled between Newburyport and Lynn, while the field artillery battery was located along several earthwork positions along the coast.Ipswich High School (Massachusetts)
Ipswich High School is a public high school in Ipswich, Massachusetts, United States, which serves students from grades nine through twelve. It is the only high school in the town of Ipswich. As of 2019, the school's principal is Jonathan Mitchell. Ipswich High School shares a building with Ipswich Middle School.John Hart (doctor)
Dr. John Hart (October 13, 1751 – April 27, 1836) was a highly respected and eminent surgeon originally from Ipswich, Massachusetts who served as a Regimental Surgeon during the American Revolution. Following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, he left his medical practice in Georgetown (now Bath) Maine to serve his newly forming country in his home state of Massachusetts.National Register of Historic Places listings in Ipswich, Massachusetts
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Ipswich, Massachusetts, United States. The locations of National Register properties and districts for which the latitude and longitude coordinates are included below, may be seen in an online map.Essex County, of which Ipswich is a part, is the location of 461 properties and districts listed on the National Register. Ipswich itself is the location of 31 of these properties and districts.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 21, 2019.USS Barbet (AMc-38)
USS Barbet (AMc-38) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.
The first ship to be named Barbet by the Navy, AMc-38 was laid down on 31 January 1941 at Ipswich, Massachusetts, by W. A. Robinson, Inc.; launched on 24 July 1941; sponsored by Mrs. E. Robinson; and commissioned on 29 September 1941, Ens. Stuart T. Hotchkiss, USNR, in command.USS Energy (AMc-78)
USS Energy (AMc-78) was an Accentor-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.
Energy was launched 20 September 1941 by W. A. Robinson, Inc., of Ipswich, Massachusetts; sponsored by Mrs. E. Benedix; and commissioned 1 January 1942, Lieutenant (junior grade) J. L. Maloney, USNR, in command.USS Exultant (AMc-79)
USS Exultant (AMc-79) was an Accentor-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
Municipalities and communities of Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
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