The part of Ipswich known as the Hamlet (now Hamilton) was “set off” as a separate parish (church) in 1714-15. The Hamlet was incorporated by the name of Hamilton on June 21, 1793. Rev. Cutler of the Congregational Church in the Hamlet had served in Congress before becoming one of the town’s longest-serving pastors, was a strong advocate of Federalism, and urged that the new town be named after Alexander Hamilton.
The following images of First Period, Georgian, and Federal houses in Hamilton, MA are provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission site (MACRIS). Photos were taken in the late 20th Century, are displayed alphabetically in order of street name, and house numbers may have changed. Click on any image to view a larger photo. Descriptions were provided by the Hamilton Historical Society in 1978.
Dodge, Col. Robert – Gibney House, 435 Bay Rd, 1772. This substantial house was built in April, 1772 by Col. Robert Dodge (1743-1823), a Revolutionary War hero. Dodge fought at Bunker Hill as a Captain of the Minute Men and served in the Line in the Revolution. His sword hangs over the fireplace in the old dining room. His son Francis Dodge, b. 1782, was a successful Georgetown, D.C. merchant who owned the farm at his death in 1853. Col. Dodge’s grandson the Hon. Allan W. Dodge (1804-1878), Harvard 1826, was a legislator and in 1852 became Treasurer of Essex County. He sold the house to John Gidney, a Salem merchant, in 1866 (reported elsewhere as 1851.) In 1882, the members of the newly formed Myopia Hunt Club leased the Dodge/Gidney House; they subsequently purchased it in 1891. At that time, Hamilton had broad meadows and treeless slopes which were ideal for hunting meets. The members had previously hunted in Winchester and Brookline had been dissatisfied with the terrain there. As described above, the home was easily renovated to provide cozy dining and lodging facilities for members, who were largely residents of Boston.
Dane, F. House, 351 Bay Rd. One of the few homes which escaped the fire of 1910.
Hamilton First Congregational Church, 630 Bay Rd, 1762. This is the area where the origin of the Town took place. The church first gathered in 1714, with a building constructed in 1713. In 1843 the building was remodeled, using the frame of the 1762 meeting house. It was turned to face Bay Road. The floor was raised and heat installed for the first time. In 1843 the church was used for all Town Meetings. Selectmen also rented office space until Town Hall was built. The clock was installed on the tower in 1795. It still belongs to the Town which pays for its upkeep. There are several memorial stained glass windows. Three prominent ministers, Wigglesworth, Cutler and Felt, served there the first 150 years.
Brown, Jacob – Brown, Israel D. House, 638 Bay Rd, c 1700. Late 1690s to 1700’s is the probable date of this salt box house; later remodeled. Capt. Daniel Brown, son of Jacob Brown, was the first postmaster (1803), tavern keeper and blacksmith. His son, Israel D. Brown was later postmaster and tavern keeper. Daniel received deed to 1/2 of the property in 1782 from Jacob, and the other half in 1802 from Samuel and Hannah Whipple. (*Now known as the Matthew Whipple House).
Poland, Nathan – Porter, Benjamin House, 700 Bay Rd, r 1795. Nathan, blacksmith, bought the property in 1772. His wife was Elizabeth. Samuel Roberts was his administrator. He sold the house at public auction to Joshua Porter in 1806. Porter was a carpenter. Joshua Giddings, who bought it in 1812, was one of the townsmen who helped incorporate the Town of Hamilton in 1793. He died in 1835 at the age of 90 and is buried in the Hamilton Cemetery. He was a tanner.
Dodge, Isaac House, 776 Bay Rd, 1799. John Whipple III sold a farm of several parcels to Isaac Dodge in 1799. K.L. Dodge ”son of Isaac Dodge” to James B. Dodge & Isaac B. Dodge 1850, Isaac B, Dodge to Albert W. Smith.
Peck, Benjamin House, 799 Bay Rd, c 1793. Sept. 71 1793 – Nathaniel Whipple to Benjamin Peck, a house lot along the “country road”, for 10 pounds. Benjamin Peck is referred to as “a chairmaker.” The lot lay in the north corner of Nathaniel Whipple’s pasture land adjoining the land of John Whipple.
Patch, Emeline House, 918 Bay Rd, c 1725. The old Patch House, was originally “built about 1680, and added to about 1720. The late First Period frame of this house is visible only in the right-hand front room and lobby. The longitudinal summer beam of the right-hand room has flat chamfers and tapered stops, while the chimney girt and post are unchamfered. Rafters of the original principal rafter, common purlin roof are still in place on the front slope of the roof. When the roof was raised, new timbers were pieced between original rafters and the ridge.
Brown, Austin House, 1028 Bay Rd, c 1725. The ell to the right was added by1907. In 1915, the house was again enlarged and stuccoed to create a Colonial Revival style country estate. At that time a new higher roof with ridge on the central axis and three dormer windows was built and porches were added to the left wings. There is a one story porch across the facade. First Period features, in the form of an exposed decorated oak frame, are visible in the left-hand room and in the right-hand and left-hand chambers. In the left-hand room, the 12 inch wide longitudinal summer beam has flat chamfers and tapered stops. In the right-hand and left-hand chambers, the 9 inch wide summer tie beams have flat chamfers and taper stops. Posts are deeply jowled, but unchamfered.
Brown House, 76 Bridge St, r 1670. The house was on the site by 1673 when John Brown Sr. gave the property to his son Nathaniel, but may have been built c. 1662 when Brown originally acquired the land. The Brown House is associated with the early 20th century restoration movement. Mrs. W.G. Mitchell had the house restored c. 1920. The restoration included replication of the original sheathing for fireplace wall finish, the introduction of a staircase copying the Parson Capen House staircase, and the reconstruction of the exterior chimney along the lines of the plastered chimney at the Parson Barnard House. First Period features are found in all four front rooms and on the exterior. The right-hand room is a little over 19 feet wide and 21 feet deep. The longitudinal oak summer beam in that room is 12″ wide by 15″ deep and is decorated with broad quarter-round chamfers and lamb’s tongue stops, except on the south face at the right-hand end. Joists are tusk tenoned and are spaced 18 inches on centers.
Woodberry – Quarrels House, 180 Bridge St, c 1690. The oldest part of this 2.5 story, seven bay wood frame house is the central doorway and the rooms to its right, which were built c. 1690 along with a central chimney that was probably removed during Federal-period alterations. Later in the First Period rooms to the left of the entry were added, and there have been a series of alterations and additions since then. The First Period core of the house survived the major Federal-era changes, and the house retains much decorative work from that period.The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Patch, Gen. House, 293 Bridge St, 1783. The house was built for General Patch who served under General Washington.
Woodbury, A. House, 375 Bridge St, 1757. The house was probably built by a member of the Woodbury family which settled this area. Isaac Woodbury married Elizabeth Herrick and 10 children survived. One, Nicholas, was captured by the Indians in 1711 and returned to the Hamlet 9 years later after paying ransom for his release.
180 Bridge St., Woodberry – Quarrels House. The oldest part of this 2.5 story, seven bay wood frame house is the central doorway and the rooms to its right, which were built c. 1690 along with a central chimney that was probably removed during Federal-period alterations. Later in the First Period rooms to the left of the entry were added, and there have been a series of alterations and additions since then. The First Period core of the house survived the major Federal-era changes, and the house retains much decorative work from that period. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
109 Cutler Rd., built in 1760. This house is said to have originally been a post office, but the History of the Hamilton Post Offices lists the first post office in Hamilton as the Old Tavern, 9 Farms Rd. Samuel Story, Jr. was the first Postmaster, serving from 1803 to 1841.
117 Cutler Rd. (1930?)
288 Essex St., Knowlton, I. F. House. This was the farm-house for the Knowlton Farm which covered a large area in this section of the town.
428 Essex St., Woodbury, W. House. This area was known as the Woodbury’s Crossing as the Essex Railroad crossed Essex Street by this house.