is a town in Middlesex County
, United States
located ten miles north of Boston
. The population was 24,804 at the 2000 census.
Wakefield was first settled in 1639
as Lynn Village. It officially separated from Lynn
and incorporated as Reading in 1644 when the first church and corn mill were established. This first corn mill was built on the Mill River on Water St and later small saw mills were built on the Mill River and the Saugus River
The old parish church became known as the Old or South Parish when in 1713 the North Parish was established. This North Parish later became the town of North Reading. In 1769 the West Parish was established. In 1812 the Old or South Parish of Reading separated from Reading and was officially incorporated as South Reading.
The Railroad was chartered and built in 1844 between Wilmington and Boston. This later became the main line of the Boston and Maine Railroad. The Boston and Maine Foundry was built in 1854 and was later reincorporated as the Smith and Anthony Stove Company.
The Boston Ice Company cut and shipped ice from Lake Quannapowitt starting in 1851.
The Rattan Works (which made wicker furniture) was established in 1856 by Cyrus Wakefield. This later grew into the Wakefield Rattan Company and at one time had a thousand employees. In 1868 Cyrus Wakefield donated land and money for a new Town Hall and in thanks the town voted to change its name from South Reading to Wakefield.
In 1856 the South Reading public library was established, this later became the Beebe Town Library. The first weekly newspaper in town was established in 1858.
Wakefield is made up of various parts including the Westside, Montrose and Greenwood.
One of the oldest and largest manufacturers of flying model airplane toys in the world, Paul K. Guillow, Inc. is located in Wakefield. The company is particularly notable for its extensive line of balsa wood model airplane kits.
Wakefield gained media attention on December 26, 2000, when Michael McDermott, an employee at Edgewater Technology, fatally shot seven of his co-workers.
The town has also gained considerable attention in August, 2008 surrounding the trial of alleged double murderer Sean Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is accused of killing Michael Zammitti Jr. and Chester Roberts on March 13, 2006.
Wakefield is located at (42.501345, -71.071324).
Reading, Massachusetts (West), Melrose, Massachusetts (South), Stoneham, Massachusetts (Southwest), Lynnfield, Massachusetts (North), and Saugus, Massachusetts (East) border Wakefield.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20.5 km²), of which, 7.5 square miles (19.3 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it (5.56%) is water.
Wakefield has two lakes: Crystal Lake and Lake Quannapowitt. Crystal Lake is used as a reservoir for some of the town's drinking water. Lake Quannapowitt is used for a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, windsurfing and fishing, and is the primary source of the Saugus river.
In 1847, Lake Quannapowitt was named for the Indian, James Quannapowitt, one of the signers of the old Indian Deed of 1686. The earliest settlers referred to the lake simply as the "Greate Pond" or "Reading Pond." Lake Quannapowitt is also home to the oldest inland yacht club in the United States, Quannapowitt Yacht Club which was founded in 1886.
Long regarded as "Wakefield's greatest natural resource," Lake Quannapowitt covers an area of 247 acres. Its outlet is the Saugus River to the Atlantic Ocean. Wakefield Common sits to the south of the lake, and is the site of many recreational activities and events throughout the year.
In 1991, a group of local citizens formed "The Friends of Lake Quannapowitt" to advocate for the lake and to educate the public about this natural resource. The group has also raised money for projects that benefit the lake and the surrounding areas.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 24,804 people, 9,747 households, and 6,608 families residing in the town. The population density
was 3,321.6 people per square mile (1,282.0/km²). There were 9,937 housing units at an average density of 1,330.7/sq mi (513.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.94% White
, 0.45% Black
or African American
, 0.08% Native American
, 1.43% Asian
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.20% from other races
, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 0.82% of the population.
There were 9,747 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $66,117, and the median income for a family was $77,834. Males had a median income of $51,591 versus $39,327 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,369. About 1.7% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
Wakefield hosts yearly major town meetings to discuss the budget. As it is a town, not a city, Wakefield's main decisions are made by a Board of Selectmen.
Contains three High Schools: Wakefield High School
, Northeast Vocational, and Our Lady of Nazareth Academy
Elinor Freedman is the current principal of Wakefield High School. Wakefield High School's sports teams are known as the Wakefield Warriors. In 1997, the boys' and girls' basketball teams from Wakefield High School won Division II state championships on the same night.
Contains 1 middle school (Galvin Middle) (current Principal: Dr. Mullen), and 4 Elementary schools (Woodville, Dolbeare, Walton and Greenwood).
Defunct elementary schools include Doyle, Lincoln, Warren, Montrose, Hurd, Franklin, Yeuell, and the Little Red School House. The Little Red School house was a one-room school house building that was used for pre-K and K students on the Westside. Westside students would later attend the Mary E. Walton School or Doyle school from 1-4 grades. Now, all Westside pupils attend the Walton school. In 2003 the Doyle School closed down and forced children to changed schools. Wakefield is also home to two private schools, St. Joseph's & the Odyssey Day School. Since fall of 2003, Odyssey has been located in the former Doyle School, which they are leasing from the town of Wakefield.
An MBTA Commuter Rail
station on the Haverhill/Reading Line
is located near the center of town as well as a second station in the Greenwood section. Several MBTA
buses (Route 136
and Route 137
) run to nearby communities, including the Oak Grove train station on the
Points of interest
- Lucius Morris Beebe - American author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist born December 9, 1902 in Wakefield, MA (died 1966)
- Carleton S. Coon - Anthropologist
- David Dellinger, radical pacifist and member of the Chicago Seven was born in Wakefield and graduated from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1932.
- Israel Horovitz - American playwright and screenwriter born March 31, 1939 in Wakefield, MA. Beastie Boy Adam "Adrock" Horovitz is the son of Israel Horovitz. He completed several plays about Wakefield, collected in a book known as The Wakefield Plays.
- Mark Kumpel- Member of the 1984 US Olympic Ice Hockey Team and former NHL player with the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques, and the Detroit Red Wings.
- Dave Lapham Former NFL player with the Cincinnati Bengals. Former USFL player with the New Jersey Generals. Current member of the Cincinnati Bengal radio broadcast team.
- John Lilley- Member of the 1994 US Olympic Ice Hockey Team and former NHL player with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
- Judge A. David Mazzone was a judge for the U.S. District Court in Boston from 1978 until 2004. He is best known for the 1985 court decision mandating the cleanup of Boston Harbor, which ultimately cost $3.8 billion and resulted in the construction of the Deer Island wastewater treatment plant. Mazzone lived in Wakefield from 1959 until his death in 2004.
- Marcia Pankratz- Member of the 1988 and 1996 Olympic Field Hockey team and former head coach of Field Hockey at the University of Michigan.
- Buffy (Beverly) Sainte Marie, folksinger and composer, was born in Canada, but raised in Wakefield, graduating from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1958.
- Louis Sullivan, American architect considered the father of modernism, was born in Boston but lived in Wakefield with his grandparents during his school years.
- John Anthony Volpe, three time Republican governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and Ambassador to Italy, was born in Wakefield in 1908.
- Trevor Phipps, one of the founders of the heavy metal band Unearth, Phipps is the vocalist and is known for intense on stage performances during concerts and the filmings of the bands music videos.
- Dutton, E.P. Chart of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay with Map of Adjacent Country. Published 1867. A good map of roads and rail lines from Wakefield to Boston and surrounding area.
- Walling & Gray. 1871 Atlas of Massachusetts. see 1871 Map of Middlesex County Plate 44-45 which shows Wakefield and its roads and rail lines.
- History of the Town of Reading, including the Present Towns of Wakefield, Reading and North Reading with Chronological and Historical Sketches from 1639 to 1874. By Lilley Eaton, 815 pages, published 1874.
- History of Wakefield (Middlesex county) Massachusetts, compiled by William E. Eaton and History committee. Published under the direction and authority of the Tercentenary committee of the town of Wakefield, Massachusetts. published 1944.
- History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by Samuel Adam Drake, published 1880, Volume 2 Page 399 Wakefield by Chester W. Eaton. Page 270 Reading by Hirum Barrus and Carroll D. Wright. Page 259 North Reading.
- American Wicker: Woven Furniture from 1850 to 1930 By Jeremy Adamson, Kit Latham, Published 1993 by Rizzoli.
- Vital Records of Wakefield, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 Compiled by Thomas W. Baldwin 1912.
- Wakefield : 350 years by the lake : an anniversary history / compiled by the Wakefield 350 Writing Committee ; edited by Nancy Bertrand, 1994.
- Wakefield (Images of America series) / by Nancy Bertrand ; Arcadia Press, 2000.
- A completed century, 1826-1926; the story of Heywood-Wakefield Company / Heywood-Wakefield Company, 1926.