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Stories from Ipswich

Gordon Harris is the official town historian and vice-chairman of the Ipswich Historical Commission. He publishes the Ipswich Historical Commission site and a blog, Stories from Ipswich, with hundreds of local legends and stories about the town’s historic houses and the people who lived in them. Read Stories from Ipswich Since the founding of the town, dozens of residents have…

The Old North Burying Ground project sign is mounted beside the entrance from High Street

Old North Burying Ground restoration

The Ipswich Historical Commission thanks Essex National Heritage for the 2014 Partnership Grant for the Old North Burying Ground. We contracted with Fannin-Lehner Preservation Consultants for a study of a section of the Burying Ground that represented a sampling of the oldest tombstones, dating back to the late 17th Century. The area is immediately to…

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“To secure a competence”

The following are remarks made by the Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske, on accepting the 2014 Community Service Award from the Ipswich Democratic Town Committee,  January 31, 2015: As Chair of the Ipswich Historical Commission, I know how pleased and proud we all are that you have decided to honor us with the 2014…

The new sign

The Old North Burying Ground gets new signs

Thanks to Penny Bernard for painting the new sign for the Old North Burying Ground preservation project! Thanks also to the Harold Bowen Fund, Essex National Heritage, and the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund for funding this study, which will provide a plan for restoration of the graves and grounds at the Old North Burying Ground. The first stage…

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Abraham Knowlton, “Workman of rare skill”

By Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske: Ipswich is home to two groundbreaking masterworks of early eighteenth century America,  a paneled wall and a pulpit. Both were made by Abraham Knowlton (1699- 1751), a woodworker who is less well known than he deserves to be. William Knowlton, born in England in 1615, was the first of the family to settle in…

Map of proposed Architectural Preservation District

Ipswich Town Meeting adopts Architectural Preservation District

Historic houses on High Street are now protected through the APD   A Warrant article for the 2014 Fall Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 established an Architectural Preservation District (APD) for the most historic areas of the town. TheAPD encompasses an area roughly defined as 220 acres beginning at the South Green, continuing along the…

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Key Terms and Major Players at Town Meetings

Prepared by Town Moderator Tom Murphy INTRODUCTION Open town meeting has been the basic form of local government in New England for hundreds of years and its origins have been traced back for almost 1000 years in the Old World. This is pure democracy; where citizens directly administer the affairs of the town.1 Registered voters are invited…

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Town Meeting: how it works

This three-part overview by Ipswich Town Moderator Tom Murphy explains the function of town meeting, who is responsible for what, and generally now the process works. 1. HISTORY OF TOWN MEETING & THE ROLE OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE First we look at the history and start with the Finance Committee (FinCom). Why history you ask?…

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Dover mourns the loss of historic house

The oldest house still sitting on its original site in Dover MA was demolished on July 14 by its owner, after a 9 year effort by preservationists to save the building. Alice Jones lived in the house at 6 Farm Street in Dover Massachusetts for nearly 70 years during the 19th Century. In her book,…

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Tax Benefits for Historic Preservation Easements

A historic preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement, typically in the form of a deed, that permanently protects an historic property. Through the easement, a property owner places restrictions on the development of or changes to the historic property, then transfers these restrictions to a preservation or conservation organization. A historic property owner who…

Middleton builder Michael Panzero saved a historical house located at 52 Centre Street in Danvers from being demolished and completely renovated the house. DAVID LE/Staff photo. 7/25/14.

First Period Danvers house is saved by builder

The Benjamin Holten house at 52 Centre Street in Danvers is one of only 15 First Period houses remaining in that town (Ipswich has 58). It was abandoned and had fallen into disrepair. The bank that had foreclosed on it and wanted to demolish the house. The location of the house n the Salem Village…