Wakefield, Massachusetts

Wakefield is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, located about 12.5 mi (20.1 km) north-northwest of downtown Boston. Wakefield was first settled in 1638 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 Street.

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, at one time employing a thousand workers. In 1868, Cyrus Wakefield donated land and money for a new town hall, prompting a change in name from South Reading to Wakefield.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20 km2), of which 7.5 square miles (19 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) 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.

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