Landmarks and What Makes Them So

Ipswich is an old town, as in predates the birth of America-old, so it’s no surprise that a lot of our local landmarks have quite a bit of history behind them-history that I’d argue most people are totally unaware of. So today I’m going to take on the totally unnecessary job of teaching you all about random places around Ipswich and maybe, just maybe, we’ll both learn something.

The first stop on our historical town tour is the Old North Burying Ground. Located at 63 High Street, and colloquially known as “the hilly one.” This macabre mound was founded in 1634, a year after Ipswich itself was founded, for the sole purpose of burying a young woman named Martha, the wife of one John Winthrop JR. Winthrop is a name that I’m sure we all recognize. Since its creation many more people have been buried there, including founding families such as the Harts, Mannings, Jewetts, and Appletons. 

Next up is the famous Choate Bridge. It is widely known as one of the oldest standing bridges in America and the oldest in Massachusetts. This double-stone-arched landmark was built in 1764. At that time townsfolk had argued to be allowed to open shops, or as the settlers would say “shoppes.” These early entrepreneurs wanted, and I quote, “to have liberty granted them to build shops upon ye bank by ye river side,” which is weird pilgrim-speak for “we want money and a pretty view.” Now, these pretty views could only be monetarily viable if they had an easy, preferably double arched, way to stay dry, so they built a bridge. Nowadays the Choate Bridge is widely known for its pretty good pub and its pretty terrible sidewalks.

Lastly we have Crane Beach, established as a public beach in 1945 after a century-long game of “deed-holder hot potato.” It was a gift to the town of Ipswich from Richard T. Crane who, despite what his name may lead you to believe, was not actually a crane, but a man. Over the next few years the Crane family kept donating more and more land to the trustees association to make sure their land was preserved. After a few decades of signing over land what we know today as the complete Crane Estate existed.

I hope that through our romp into the past has illuminated pieces of Ipswich history that you were unaware of. Obviously I couldn’t delve too deep into the lives of these locations because fitting four hundred years of information into a paragraph isn’t the easiest task, but if you found this interesting you could continue your research through Ipswich’s website dedicated to scribing its historic past “”