|The lot on which the Hall-Haskell-House sits was owned by a succession of people who played notable roles in Ipswich's early history. Thomas Perin bought the property in 1691 and later sold the property and house to Henry Wise, son of the famous Reverend John Wise in 1733. The land then went through a series of owners and at some point the original house was removed. No record has-been found as to what happened to the original dwelling. Mary Hall acquired the property and present house in 1819. She ran a general store downstairs to generate income and lived above the store. In 1825 the Haskells bought the property and later sold it to Abraham Caldwell, a well known builder and cabinet maker. He changed the roof line of the house from gambrel to its present pitch. The house was purchased by-John Heard, a prominent citizen in Ipswich in 1864.
The house had been slated for demolition back in the early 80's and a group of people formed an organization to save the so called "Little Red House" as it was so often-identified by that name. The group also became part of a standing committee of the Town of Ipswich since it is a town owned piece of property.
The reason the house was saved is because it provided a wealth of information as to the social history of the common person of that period. Life was very difficult and salaries were meager. To Mary Hall the house provided shelter and her little shop sustained her from poverty. The economic situation in Ipswich was bleak at that time due to the great debt incurred in the Revolutionary War and also due to the decline of seaport trading because of the War of 1812. Its presence is important because it sits in a most strategic entrance to the center of downtown. It also establishes a scale and visual character which is important to the streetscape. This National South Green District represents a wonderful living history museum spanning from the 17th through the 19th century.
In 1987 the town received a matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission to help in restoration of the house. Much work was then done to shore up the house and make it safe from the elements. There is still work that needs to be addressed in the interior and the work is ongoing.
The house is open in the summer months as an art gallery where artists display their work and wares. This year it also houses the Essex Trail Visitor Center which is part of the National Park Service.
We welcome you to this humble structure and ask that you notice its type of construction, wide board floors, Indian shutters and enjoy it in its most humble state.