Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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36 | MAY + JUNE 2015 PLACES that's OK. They can be our very own hidden gems. Even people who don't know much about history won't be able to drive through Ipswich without notic- ing the distinctive historical houses and buildings that line the streets, all painted in various colors. Ipswich has the most surviving First Period houses—built between 1625 and 1725—than anywhere else in the country. "These very early houses are mixed in with Second Period houses, more Georgian in style," says John Fiske, chairperson of the Ipswich His- torical Commission. "Together they give a very beautiful streetscape." Ironically, Ipswich's histori- cal and architectural richness is actually thanks to the town's financially modest history. As towns like Newburyport and Salem found wealth through the China trade, rich residents tore down the older, smaller First Period houses and built grander, Federal-style ships' captains' houses instead. But that didn't happen in Ipswich. "The towns north and south of us that had deeper pockets than Ipswich also had big ocean-going ports," Fiske says. "Our small port and shallow river was one of the reasons why we preserved so many of these early houses. Poverty is the great preservationist." Although many of Ipswich's First Period homes are still private residences, visitors to Ipswich can get a glimpse of life in 17th-century America in the 1677 Whipple House museum, one of the best-preserved examples of this kind of architec - ture in the country. Ipswich is also, of course, home to another iconic house, and one that's certainly grander than the nearly 400-year-old post-and-beam- style houses that dominate the downtown landscape: The Crane Estate. The estate features a spec- tacular 59 room, Stuart-style man- sion that sits atop Castle Hill, and a 2,100-acre expanse of land, which includes Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. The early 20th-century man- sion was the summer retreat of the industrialist Richard T. Crane, and now is open to the public for tours and events. Its grounds and gardens are also open to the public, and the pristine, sheltered, BONS award- winning Crane Beach is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and accommodating beaches in the area. In addition to its beauty, Crane Beach takes pride in its acces- sibility, offering disabled beachgo- Date of settlement 1633 Date of incorporation 1634 Area 42.5 sq. miles Population 13,175 ZIP code 01938 Median household income $57,284 IPSWICH DETAILS MEDIAN 156 Topsfield Rd., 3 bd., 2 ba., 1,683 sq.ft., 2.32 acres PRICE $479,000 AGENT Coldwell Banker HIGH END 104 Essex Rd., 5 bd., 3.5 ba., 8,248 sq. ft., 4 acres PRICE $1,900,000 AGENT Coldwell Banker Real Estate Poet Anne Bradstreet, Hall- of-Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, musician Melissa Ferrick, Salem witch trials victim John Proctor, author John Updike NOTABLE RESIDENTS Paul F. Doyon Elementary, Winthrop Elementary, Ipswich Middle School, Ipswich High School PUBLIC SCHOOLS Ipswich's Crane Beach Ipswich Photograph by Suzanne M./Shutterstock (top)

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