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Ipswitch

Renting an Apartment in Ipswitch

Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,987 at the 2000 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island and Plum Island State Park. A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest and also for Crane Beach, a beautiful barrier beach near the Crane estate.

History

Native Americans called the area Agawam, meaning “lowland, marsh or meadow (with water).” Here they hunted and caught fish, especially shellfish, leaving behind mounds of shells. Captain John Smith would write about the region in 1614, referring to it as “an excellent habitation, being a good and safe harbour.” A plague of about 1617, perhaps smallpox brought from abroad, devastated the once populous Indian tribe. In 1633, John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, sent his son, also named John, and 12 men aboard a shallop to settle the town. It was incorporated in 1634 as Ipswich, after Ipswich in the county of Suffolk, England, the source of prominent early settlers. Nathaniel Ward, an assistant pastor in town from 1634 to 1636, wrote the first code of laws for Massachusetts and later published the religious/political work, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam in America in England.

Pioneers would become farmers, fishermen, shipbuilders or traders. The tidal Ipswich River provided water power for mills, and salt marshes supplied hay for livestock. A cottage industry in lace-making developed. But in 1687, Ipswich residents, led by the Reverend John Wise, protested a tax imposed by the governor, Sir Edmund Andros. As Englishmen, they argued, taxation without representation was unacceptable. Citizens were jailed, but then Andros was recalled to England in 1689, and the new British sovereigns, William and Mary, issued colonists another charter. The rebellion is the reason the town calls itself the “Birthplace of American Independence.”

Great clipper ships of the 19th century, however, bypassed Ipswich in favor of deep-water seaports at Salem and Newburyport. The town remained primarily a fishing and farming community, its residents living in older homes they could not afford to replace — leaving Ipswich with a considerable inventory of early architecture. In 1822, a stocking manufacturing machine which had been smuggled out of England arrived at Ipswich, violating a British ban on exporting technology, and the community would develop as a mill town. In 1828 the Ipswich Female Seminary was founded. In 1868, Amos A. Lawrence established the Ipswich Hosiery Mills beside the river. It would expand into the largest stocking mill in the country by the turn of the century.

In 1910, Richard T. Crane, Jr. of Chicago, the magnate owner of Crane Plumbing, bought Castle Hill, a drumlin on Ipswich Bay. He hired Olmsted Brothers, successors to Frederick Law Olmsted, to landscape his 3,500 acre estate, and engaged the Boston architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge to design an Italian Renaissance Revival style villa on the summit. A grande allee, 160 feet wide and lined with statuary, would run the half mile from house to sea. But his wife, Florence, loathed the building. Crane promised that if she still didn’t like it in 10 years, he would replace it. True enough, in 1928 a new 59-room mansion designed by Chicago architect David Adler in the English Stuart style stood in its place, called the Great House. At Mrs. Crane’s death in 1949, the entire property was bequeathed to the Trustees of Reservation, which uses it as a venue for concerts and weddings. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998. It was a filming location for the 1987 movie The Witches of Eastwick, based on the novel written by John Updike. For many years a resident of Ipswich, Updike used the community as a model for his fictional town of Tarbox. Other movies with scenes filmed in Ipswich include Mermaids, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Glory (1989), National Treasure (2003) and The Crucible (1996).

Flooding in May of 2006 caused extensive damage to three bridges in town. The Choate Bridge (built in 1764), a stone arch bridge, was closed as a result of structural damage. County Street Bridge and Mill Bridge were also closed for repairs. Following the bridge closings, a fire occurred in an historical block of shops adjacent to the Choate Bridge.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 109.1 km� (42.1 mi�). 84.4 km� (32.6 mi�) of it is land and 24.8 km� (9.6 mi�) of it (22.69%) is water. Ipswich is drained by the Ipswich River.

Demographics

This describes the town of Ipswich as a whole. Additional demographic detail is available which describes only the more densely-populated central settlement or village within the town, although that detail is included in the aggregate values reported here. See: Ipswich (CDP), Massachusetts.

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,987 people, 5,290 households, and 3,459 families residing in the town. The population density was 153.9/km� (398.6/mi�). There were 5,601 housing units at an average density of 66.4 persons/km� (171.9 persons/mi�). The racial makeup of the town was 97.60% White, 0.39% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,290 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 8.4% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 34.6% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 28.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $57,284, and the median income for a family was $74,931. Males had a median income of $51,408 versus $38,476 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,516. 7.1% of the population and 4.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.8% are under the age of 18 and 13.0% are 65 or older.

Education

Ipswich High School is considered one of the best public high schools in the Boston area. In 2006 the school was named a blue ribbon school. Blue Ribbon is an award for national excellence in education. IHS offers a great deal of college-prep, honors, and AP classes. IHS also has one of the best graduation rates in Massachusetts.

The school mascot is the Tiger. Ipswich competes in the Cape Ann League. Football won the Division 3A Super Bowl Championship in 2006. It was the schools first title since 1992, and the 5th in school history. (1974, 1977, 1991, 1992, 2006)