Historic Ipswich: 17th – 18th Century Houses, Streetscapes & Gravestones


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Course Code: HHIP-wi23 Categories: , , Tags: ,


Ipswich, Massachusetts is known as America’s best-preserved Puritan town, and its residents have been the proud custodians of its history and structures. The 1764 Choate Bridge on South Main St. is the oldest documented double stone arch bridge in America. Join Ipswich town historian Gordon Harris for a virtual tour of the historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green, and their well-preserved streetscapes of 17th and 18th century homes. Of the roughly 300 houses left standing that were constructed (in part or in whole) during the first century of English settlement, 59 are in Ipswich. We go inside several of these houses and identify First Period elements based on appearance, layout and architectural features that distinguish them from the succeeding Georgian era. We also visit the Old North Burying Ground, which dates to the town’s founding in 1634. Tombstones in the oldest section feature lunettes with simple faces carved by John Hartshorne and the Leighton family of Essex County, as well as the winged death-heads carved by Boston’s William Mumford and the Lampson family. By the mid-18th Century, gravestones of the more wealthy inhabitants featured artistic life-like faces with wings and three-dimensional scrolling typical of Boston’s Park family of carvers. The 1.5 hr presentation is accompanied by photos of the historic neighborhoods of Ipswich, digitally remastered from glass plate negatives taken by George Dexter, Arthur Wesley Dow and Edward Darling in the last half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century.

Start Date: 2/9/2023, 1 meeting
Class Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Day of Week: Thursday
Location: Zoom
Instructor: Gordon Harris
Status: Running/Openings