History

PAGE LAST UPDATED 10/9/15

Ipswich is a quaint and historic New England town dating back to the early 1600s.  According to historicipswich.org: “Ipswich is America’s best-preserved Puritan town, with more “First Period” houses [1625-1725] than any other community in America.”  Our condo is an addition that was added to the back of one of Ipswich’s most historic houses, the Dr. Philemon Dean house, built in 1716.  Here’s the grave marker for Dr. Philemon Dean, who’s son Philemon Dean, Jr. built our house [photo courtesy of ipswich.wordpress.com]:

gravestone of dr. philemon dean sr. who died in 1716 in ipswich ma

Dr. Philemon Dean Sr. was born in 1646.  He married twice.  In 1685, when he was 39, he married Mary Thompson.  They had no children.  In 1690, when he was 44, he married Ruth Converse.  They had 4 children, including a baby named Philemon Jr. who died at 6 months old.  They had twin boys a year later, Edward and Philemon Jr. [again].  Edward died in 1716, the same year Dr. Philemon Dean Sr. died, and the same year Philemon Jr. got married and built our house.  This information was found on the werelate.org website.

I believe from 1716 to 1822 our house was purely residential.  Still researching.

However, between 1822 and 1827 our house operated as a lace factory!  According to Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a book published in 1905 by Thomas Franklin Waters:  Mr. George Heard purchased the Dr. Philemon Dean dwelling near the foot bridge on the South Side of Ipswich.  Lace-making machinery, which had been smuggled from England by Benjamin Fewkes, was moved in and the “lace factory” became operational in October 1822.  It proved unprofitable and on February 4, 1824, “The Boston and Ipswich Lace Co.” was incorporated and Mr. Heard transferred the Philemon Dean house to the new corporation.  But the business remained unprofitable and The Company became insolvent.  The house and “lace factory” were sold at auction November 9, 1827, and the machinery was moved across town to a different house operating as a lace factory.

I believe from 1827 to  the 1920s our house was purely residential.  Still researching.

Here’s a postcard of our house and street from 1910 – our house is the first one on the left, surrounded by fence, and the matching photo [photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

postcard of the philemon dean house ipswich ma 1910        south main street and the philemon dean house ipswich ma 1910

In 1922, exactly 100 years after it housed the “lace factory”, The Ipswich Hosiery Mills opened a retail store in our house, named the “Ipswich Hosiery Shop”:

philemon dean house ipswich ma as hosiery shop 1922

Here’s 2 ads from the 1920s for the Hosiery Shop:

ipswich hosiery shop ad 1920s philemon dean house        ipswich hosiery shop ad 1920s philemon dean house

If you zoom in on the sketch drawing of the Hosiery Shop the logo appears the same as it does in both ads.  More ads can be found HERE.

Here’s a picture showing the showroom of the Hosiery Shop, which is currently the 3rd condo in our house, the studio owned by the man that built our deck last year [photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

history17

Here is an amazing photo of our house as part of a huge panoramic shot taken just before the start of WWII [I circled our house in red – photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich] – click to make it BIG:

philemon dean house as part of panaramic shot of ipswich mills around 1940

Here’s 2 pictures of our house from the 1940s – the house next door was the Ipswich Tea House and Inn [I can’t remember where I found these photos, I think it might have been the Library of Congress?]:

philemon dean house ipswich in the 1940s        ipswich tea house and inn 1940s next door to philemon dean house

That house you see in the background of the 2nd pic [to the right of the sign] was originally directly across the street from our house.  It was torn down in 1938, and is now the site of the Town Green and the War Memorial.  Another view of the same house shows our house in the background! [photos courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

house across south main street from the philemon dean house early 1900s        philemon dean house ipswich early 1900s

Here are 2 photos showing the original dam/footbridge from the early 1800s [photos courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

original ipswich river dam and riverwalk bridge 1828        history14

Here’s another shot of the entrance to the original footbridge.  Our house is directly to the right, behind the fence [out of shot – photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

original ipswich riverwalk bridge 1917

Here’s a cool photo from the 1950s showing one of the textile mill buildings across from us being torn down.  The original footbridge ran across the top of the dam.  Our house would be directly to the right – the original footbridge ended where the current-day fish ladder walkway is [photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

ipswich textile mill demolition in the 1950s

We don’t know when the addition to the house that we live in was added, but it was sometime between 1973 and 1991, based on aerial maps and photos.  As an example, here’s a picture of our house in 1973, and our addition wasn’t built onto the back yet [photo courtesy of William M. Varrell’s books on the history of Ipswich]:

history15

The current Riverwalk Bridge connects to the left of our house now, instead of the right.

The addition doesn’t match the historic nature of the original house, but I’m not complaining, as it’s a beautiful condo with stunning views of the river and lots of natural light.  There’s a small dam [which was built in 1827], waterfall, and fish ladder right outside our living room, and a public walkway over the river off to one side.  Here’s 2 photos of our house/condo I took from the Riverwalk bridge, and from the walkway above the fish ladder:

philemon dean house ipswich 2014 view from riverwalk bridge       our house after replacement windows were installed

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6 Comments

  1. Unbelievable job…U know I love history.

  2. You’ve done an amazing job with the history of your house. You two have a fantastic house in a wonderfully historic town. And your location – it’s the best!

  3. Hi we found your website.Regards from South Germany
    Joachim and Daniela

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