In addition to being the home of Lakeside Park, this scenic community just 12 miles northwest of Boston is full of surprising details and history.
Wakefield was once known as Linn Village.
Wakefield was first established in the late 1630’s by settlers from the town of Lynn MA, and given the name Linn Village. In 1644, it became part of the town of Reading, and later incorporated as the town of South Reading in 1812. The current name was adopted in 1868 and was chosen in honor of the rattan industry entrepreneur, Cyrus Wakefield.
Wakefield is not a City.
The difference between a city and a town is often based on population, but that’s not the case for municipalities in Massachusetts. With a population estimated at more than 24,000, Wakefield is not a city because of its choice in government. As a town, Wakefield’s main decisions are made by the Town Council and the Town Administrator. A number of other matters are handled by town committees and major annual town meetings are held to discuss the budget.
Wakefield helped an NBA Player get his start.
Before Bruce Brown Jr. played college basketball for the University of Miami Hurricanes and was drafted to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons in 2018, he played basketball at Wakefield Memorial High School. Although born in Dorchester, Bruce attended school in Wakefield and started his high school career as a two-sport star in both football and basketball. After his sophomore year he transferred to Vermont Academy, where he was noticed by college recruiters.
Wakefield is the former site of New England’s Disneyland.
From 1959 to 1969, the northeastern part of Wakefield was home to Pleasure Island, an amusement park promoted as the “Disneyland of the Northeast”. Designed by Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood, one of the Disneyland designers, the park covered 80 acres and featured nearly 50 rides and attractions, theme restaurants, a shopping area and more. Ultimately the park struggled due to New England’s relatively short summers and closed after only 10 years.
Wakefield’s Greatest Natural Resource is Lake Quannapowitt.
While most people have heard of Lake Quannapowitt, newcomers are often reluctant to pronounce its name. Named for the Native American James Quannapowitt (KWAN-ah-POW-it) in 1847, today the lake is a popular setting for walkers, joggers and cyclists. In fact, one of the best things about the Lakeside Park is its location on the banks of this picturesque lake. If you’re looking for something to do, check out these 6 ways to enjoy Lake Quannapowitt.