Shameless promotion of husband’s work follows. Ipswich is my second-favorite Essex County town, so I was thrilled when my husband got the contract to convert its former town hall into condominiums. The project was long and complicated but is now completed: I accompanied him to the open house last week to take some photographs, but in all honesty I’ll seize any opportunity to go to Ipswich, whose inventory of First Period and later antique homes is without parallel. The District Condominiums provide quite a contrast to this material heritage in terms of interiors, but the exterior restoration of the building is faithful to its second incarnation. It began its life as a (one-story) Unitarian Church in 1833, was considerably enlarged in 1876 when it was transformed into the town hall, and underwent a series of additional alterations during its service as administrative offices and a district court before it was sold by the town in 2004. There were hopes for a theater conversion, but eventually condominiums emerged as the only option for its preservation (visit the wonderful blog Historic Ipswich for a far more detailed history and lots of photographs). While the building has long presented a dignified silhouette along South Main Street, it has been vacant for a decade, so I hope residents are happy with the new residences. The building is on the National Register and the local historical commission holds a preservation restriction, so there were considerable constraints governing the construction process, most notably windows. As you can see, there were two windows added to the front facade, and smaller ones in the back and sides, but all the other windows had to be incorporated into the interior design, in one way or another.
The former Ipswich Town Hall/District Court (today and in the early 20th century) transformed into condominiums–across the green, the Ipswich Museum @ the Heard House, c. 1800; and just a few steps away, the Ipswich River.
September 17th, 2017 at 8:44 pm
Those are great, Donna. Congrats to John and his team.
September 17th, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Just an FYI it’s on South Main Street…Ipswich doesn’t have a Main Street.
September 18th, 2017 at 6:30 am
Oh of course, thanks!
September 18th, 2017 at 7:10 am
Kudos to your husband. What a job considering all those layers of alteration from Church to Town Hall to Court House. How many condos in the building?
I also love Ipswich. My sister is a nun who lived at the Notre Dame Center on Jeffery’s Point for two years. I often took her for rides around the area – visiting ice cream stands, farm stands, the Village for lunch and the like. So I had an opportunity to really appreciate the architecture and charm of the place.
I am also a fan of Gordon Harris and his work on storiesfromipswich.
September 18th, 2017 at 8:48 am
Hello Helen–Ipswich is wonderful; it really has everything, and Gordon Harris’s blog has everything too! There are 11 units in this building–flats on the first floor and then bi-level units on the second.
September 19th, 2017 at 8:03 am
Challenging project for John …so well done…Bravo
September 19th, 2017 at 8:04 am
Thanks Lou—I will pass on your sentiments to him!