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Wakefield, Massachusetts

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Wakefield, Massachusetts
Town of Wakefield
Veterans Field Wakefield 07 17 12 (cropped).jpg
Wakefield common 2011.jpg
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WakefieldMA StJosephsSchool.jpg
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Colonel James Hartshorne House.jpg
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Lake Quannapowitt, Wakefield, Ma, USA.jpg
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Wakefield Bandstand in the Winter.jpg
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Official seal of Wakefield, Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°30′23″N 71°04′24″W / 42.50639°N 71.07333°W / 42.50639; -71.07333Coordinates: 42°30′23″N 71°04′24″W / 42.50639°N 71.07333°W / 42.50639; -71.07333
Country United States
State Massachusetts
RegionNew England
Renamed "Wakefield"1868
Named forCyrus Wakefield
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • AdministratorStephen P. Maio [2] (through 2018)
(more info...)
 • Board of Selectmen/Town CouncilAnn Santos (through 2022)[3]

Paul R. DiNocco (through 2021)[3]
Edward F. Dombroski, Jr.(through 2023)[3]
Julie Smith-Galvin(through 2021)[nb 1] [3]
Jonathan Chines (through 2022)
Peter J. May (through 2022)
Mehreen N. Butt (through 2023)

(more info...)
 • Town ClerkBetsy Sheeran[5]
 • Clerk to the Board of SelectmenSherri Dalton[3][6]
 • CounselThomas A. Mullen [nb 2][7][8][9][10]
 • Total20.5 km2 (7.9 sq mi)
 • Land19.3 km2 (7.5 sq mi)
 • Water1.1 km2 (0.4 sq mi)
30 m (100 ft)
 • Total27,135[1]
 • Rank73rd in Massachusetts
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)339 / 781
FIPS code25-72215
GNIS feature ID0619410

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Wakefield is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in the Greater Boston metropolitan area,[11] incorporated in 1812 and located about 12.5 mi (20.1 km) north-northwest of Downtown Boston. The 73rd most populous municipality in Massachusetts, Wakefield's population was 24,932 at the 2010 census,[1] with a 2016 population estimate of 26,399. Wakefield offers an assortment of activities around the local lake, Lake Quannapowitt.[12]


Wakefield was first settled in 1638 and was originally known as Lynn Village. It officially separated from Lynn and incorporated as Reading in 1644 when the first church (First Parish Congregational Church) and the first mill were established. This first corn mill was built on the Mill River on Water Street, 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. At the time it was spelled South Redding, not 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. The town hall, currently named for William J. Lee,[13] is located at 1 Lafayette Street.[3][14]

In 1856 the South Reading Public Library was established, which later became the Beebe Town Library. In 1923, the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library was built and established by Junius Beebe, the son of Lucius Beebe (1810–1884).[15]

The first weekly newspaper in Wakefield was established in 1858.

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.

Route 128 was built along the north edge of the town by 1958, and the American Mutual Insurance Company built its headquarters between Lake Quannapowitt and Route 128. American Mutual had over 1000 employees, most of them commuting to work via Route 128. By the late 1980s American Mutual was in liquidation due to the Woburn W. R. Grace litigation. The headquarters building was sold to the Beal Company and was home to Boston Technology Inc. which invented and manufactured corporate voice mail systems that operated on computer systems. Boston Technology merged in 1997 with Comverse Technology, a digital telecommunications equipment manufacturer, which later bought the building; Wakefield became headquarters of its eventual spinoff, Comverse.

Panoramic view of Lake Quannapowitt from its eastern shore, looking westward — June 2016

The northeastern part of Wakefield was home to an amusement park, Pleasure Island, billed as "The Disneyland of the Northeast," but the park closed in 1969 after only ten years of operation[16] due to unseasonably cold weather that brought diminishing returns among tourists.[16] In April 1971, a fire burned down much of the amusement park. The area now consists of several office buildings and is called "Edgewater Park".[16]

The bicentennial of the incorporation of Wakefield took place in 2012, whereas 2018 was the sesquicentennial of the 1868 town name change from "South Reading" to "Wakefield."

2000 shooting spree[edit]

On December 26, 2000, seven workers at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Massachusetts were shot and killed by an Edgewater Tech employee. The 42-year-old gunman was an application supporter at Edgewater Technology.

During his trial, he stated that he was born without a soul and that God had allowed him to earn a soul by traveling back in time to kill Nazis. However, the prosecution asserted that the killings were motivated by his employer's garnishing of his wages to the IRS, as he failed to pay back taxes. He was found guilty of seven counts of first degree murder and sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In 2008 this case was studied on the psychology program Most Evil.


The diagram above shows what is to the east, west, north, south, and other directions of the center of Wakefield. Towns with population above 25,000 are in bold italics.

Wakefield is located at 42°30′4″N 71°4′16″W / 42.50111°N 71.07111°W / 42.50111; -71.07111 (42.501345, -71.071324).[17]

Reading, Massachusetts (northwest), Melrose, Massachusetts (south), Stoneham, Massachusetts (southwest), Lynnfield, Massachusetts (northeast), and Saugus, Massachusetts (southeast) border Wakefield.

Route 129 runs through Wakefield as its Main Street. I-95/Route 128 skirt the northwestern border of Wakefield as one road known as the "Yankee Division Highway".

View of Wakefield's Upper Common, with Civil War memorial at center right.

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), or 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; as such, recreation is prohibited on Crystal Lake. Lake Quannapowitt, meanwhile, is used for a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing, and is the primary source of the Saugus River.

In 1847, Lake Quannapowitt was named for the Native American 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, seen here, is the larger of Wakefield's two principal lakes, the other being Crystal Lake.

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 (1.00 km2). 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.


Wakefield harbors a climate typical to the Northeastern United States, with cold, snowy winters, cool, rainy springs, cool, sunny autumns, and hot, humid summers.[18] The town received, along with many other parts of Massachusetts, 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) of snow during a January 2011 Nor'Easter. Wakefield also received 27.5 inches (700 mm) or 2.29 feet (0.70 m) of snow during the February 2013 Nor'Easter known as Winter Storm Nemo,[19] and snowfall in Wakefield was unofficially reported as 29.0 inches (740 mm) or 2.42 feet (0.74 m) following the January 2015 Nor'Easter known as Winter Storm Juno.[20]

Climate data for Wakefield, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 35
Average low °F (°C) 15
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.36


2010 U.S. Census demographics [1][edit]

As of the census of 2010, there were 24,932 people, 9,994 households, 10,500 housing units, and 6,547 families residing in the Town of Wakefield.

Racial makeup, 2010[edit]

The racial makeup of the Town in 2010 was:[1]

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% (575) of the population.

Household statistics, 2010[edit]

In the town in 2010, there were 9,994 households, out of which:[1]

  • 28.3% (2,825) had children under the age of 18 living with them
  • 52.7% (5,265) were a husband and a wife living together
  • 3.2% (323) had a male householder with no wife present
  • 9.6% (959) had a female householder with no husband present.

The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.07.[1]

Age classifications, 2010[edit]

In the town in 2010, the population was spread out agewise with:[1]

  • 5.6% (1,401) under the age of 5 years
  • 5.9% (1,478) between the ages of 5 and 9
  • 6.2% (1,534) between the ages of 10 and 14
  • 5.5% (1,365) between the ages of 15 and 19
  • 4.7% (1,176) between the ages of 20 and 24
  • 6.1% (1,530) between the ages of 25 and 29
  • 6.2% (1,534) between the ages of 30 and 34
  • 6.8% (1,705) between the ages of 35 and 39
  • 7.9% (1,981) between the ages of 40 and 44
  • 8.6% (2,137) between the ages of 45 and 49
  • 8.3% (2,066) between the ages of 50 and 54
  • 7.3% (1,816) between the ages of 55 and 59
  • 6.2% (1,538) between the ages of 60 and 64
  • 4.2% (1,039) between the ages of 65 and 69
  • 3.3% (811) between the ages of 70 and 74
  • 2.5% (633) between the ages of 75 and 79
  • 2.4% (607) between the ages of 80 and 84
  • 2.3% (581) aged 85 years or older.

The median age was 41.9 years, 40.6 for males and 43.0 for females.[1]

2007/2008 demographics[edit]

The population of Wakefield was 24,915 as of July 2007.

The town's population was 47.4% (11,814) males versus 52.6% (13,101) females.:

The median resident age was 38.9 years, compared to the Massachusetts median age of 36.5.

In 2008, the median household income was $85,011, about $20,000 above Massachusetts as a whole.

The estimated income per capita was $39,918.

The estimated median house or condominium value in 2008 was $416,592, up from $240,300 in 2000, representing a $176,292 increase in real estate desirability.

Racial makeup, 2007/08[edit]

Racially, Wakefield broke down as:

A jazz concert on the steps of Lucius Beebe Memorial Library on June 26, 2014, with Main Street in Downtown Wakefield in the background.

Ancestry breakdown, 2007/08[edit]

Ancestries in Wakefield broke down thus

The cost of living index was listed as 121.4, 21.4 points above the U.S. average.

2000 U.S. Census demographics[edit]

As of the census[29] 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 per square mile (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.

Wakefield Lower Common as seen on July 9, 2010

Hispanic or Latino 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 holds yearly major town meetings to discuss the budget. As it is a town, not a city, Wakefield's main decisions are made, in the New England style, by a Board of Selectmen, which works in collaboration with a town administrator. Stephen Maio is the town administrator as of 2020.[3] Administrator Maio hosts a "Town Administrator's Report" monthly on the public-access television cable TV station, WCAT-TV[30] (about which more below).

A number of other matters are handled by different committees in the town, such as the Finance Committee, or FinCom, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the School Board. The Town Hall houses the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee,[14] as well as other town boards and offices.

List of Wakefield Governmental Positions[edit]

List of Wakefield Governmental Positions
Title Name
Town Accountant Kevin Gill
Animal Control Officer Kenneth Stache
Assessor Victor Santaniello
Beebe Library
Catherine McDonald
Health Director Ruth Clay
Building Inspector John Roberto
Community Development
Program Manager
Wayne Darragh
Council on Aging
Executive Director
Judy Luciano
DPW Director Joseph Conway
Management Director
Thomas P. Walsh Jr.
Resources Manager
Amy Forziati
Wakefield Fire
Department (WFD) Chief
Michael Sullivan
Information Technology
Department Director
Todd Bowden
Wakefield Municipal Gas &
Light Department
(WMGLD) Manager
Peter Dion
Parking Clerk Kenneth Stache
Wakefield Police
Department (WPD) Chief
Steven Skory
Wakefield Recreation
Department Director
Dan McGrath
Wakefield Retirement
Board Administrator
Cathy Cheek
Wakefield School Department
Assistant Superintendent
Douglas Lyons
Kara Mauro[31]
Tax Collector Kathleen Kelly
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio
Town Clerk Betsy Sheeran
Town Counsel Thomas Mullen
Town Planner Paul Reavis
Town Treasurer John J. McCarthy, Jr.
Veterans' Services Hector Errina
Wakefield Housing
Sandra Gass
Water and Sewer Supervisor Steven Fitzpatrick
As of January 2020

Board of Selectmen/Town Council[edit]

The Board of Selectmen was the name of Wakefield's primary governing body until 2018, when it changed its name to the "Town Council"[35] in an effort to maintain gender neutrality. "Selectmen" are now called "Councilors." However, despite the name change, members of the newly formed Town Council are and will be—barring elections—the same as those that composed the Board of Selectmen. A single Councilor term lasts for three years; barring special elections, annual town elections take place each April. The Town Council consisted of, as of October 2020, Ann Santos, Paul DiNocco, Peter J. May, Edward F. Dombroski, Jr., Mehreen N. Butt, Julie Smith-Galvin, and Jonathan Chines.[3][8][9][10] with Betsy Sheeran newly elected to the town clerk position,[32] Sherri A. Dalton as clerk to the Town Council,[3][36] and Thomas Mullen as town counsel.[3][8][9][10]

Recent Selectmen Elections[edit]



Brian Falvey replaced Albert Turco, who did not seek re-election, in a Selectmen's seat in town elections of April 24, 2012,[37][3][4] and Paul R. DiNocco renewed a term for three years.[3][4]


In 2013, Selectmen John B. Encarnacao and James E. Good[36] announced that they would not seek reelection.[38] Vice Chair Tiziano Doto was reelected to a three-year term while former Board of Health member Ann Santos won a seat. Former Selectwoman Phyllis Hull returned to the Board with a term lasting through 2016.[3][38]


In 2014, Selectmen Patrick S. Glynn and Betsy Sheeran ran in a three-way election against one challenger, Roland A. Cote.[39] Both Glynn and Sheeran renewed their terms through 2017.[3]

2016 (April)

Phyllis Hull and Ann Santos both ran for re-election on April 26, 2016, in a field of five.[40] Santos renewed her term; Hull lost out to new Board of Selectmen add-on Anthony J. Longo and Peter J. May.[41]

2016 Special Election (July)

A vacancy on the Board of Selectmen was filled by a Special Town Election held on July 19, 2016. The candidates to fill the vacancy were announced as Daniel L. Benjamin, Jr., Mehreen N. Butt, Christopher J. Callanan, Nathaniel David Gayman, Allyson Gael Houghton, and Phyllis J. Hull. Hull won the election by 31 votes, avenging her defeat of three months prior and filling a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen. Hull's new term lasted through April 2017.[42]



The 2017 town election was held Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The only incumbent Selectperson on the ballot in this election cycle was Phyllis J. Hull,[43] who was defeated by the two top vote getters, Edward Dombroski Jr. and Mehreen N. Butt.[44]


In the 2018 town election, held on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, two seats were up for election. Paul R. DiNocco renewed his Selectman's seat while a newcomer to the Wakefieldian political scene, Julie Smith-Galvin, defeated incumbent Selectman Brian Falvey.[45]


Three seats for Town Councilors were to be decided in 2019. Ann Santos and Peter J. May, both incumbents, renewed their terms through 2022. However, Anthony Longo was voted off of the Board of Selectmen/Town Council after receiving fewer votes than the only new member to be elected in 2019, Jonathan Chines.[46]


In 2020, Councilors Mehreen N. Butt and Edward F. Dombroski, Jr., held the only open seats. Both cruised to re-election in a race in which each ran virtually unopposed, with no competition except for write-in candidates,[47] and renewed their terms through 2023.

Finance Committee[edit]

The Finance Committee, colloquially abbreviated FinCom, is responsible for matters of finance in the town and for setting a budget for the town and its various departments to follow. The fifteen-member committee is composed of, as of April 2020,[48] Chairman Daniel W. Sherman,[48] Vice Chairman James Sullivan,[48] Rebecca Gilding,[48] Joseph Bertrand,[48] Jan Digiambatista,[48] Douglas Butler,[48] Brian Cusack,[48] Dennis Hogan,[48] Peter McManama,[48] Stefan Chase,[48] Joanne Reilly,[48] Gerard Leeman,[48] Donald Ravenelle,[48] Joseph Tringale,[48] and Evan Kenney.[48]

Board of Appeals[edit]

The Wakefield Board of Appeals, alternately known as the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), holds hearings on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month[49] and as of March 2019 consisted of five members, Richard O. Bayrd,[49] James H. McBain,[49] Ami Wall,[49] Chairman David Hatfield,[49] and Charles Tarbell,[49] with Michael Feeley, Thomas Lucey,[49] and Gregory McIntosh[49] as alternates.

Fence Viewers[edit]

Although a somewhat antiquated position, the town of Wakefield, in accordance with other towns in the state of Massachusetts, appoints townspeople to positions of fence viewers. Fence viewers serve advisory positions to property owners before a fence is built on or dividing properties. As of March 2019, Dennis M. Cloherty[50] and James Byrnes[50] serve as fence viewers in Wakefield.

World War II Memorial Committee[edit]

The Town of Wakefield tasked a fifteen-member committee[51] headed by Selectwoman Phyllis Hull[51] to oversee the construction of a World War II Veterans' Memorial on the Upper Common. The memorial includes the names of 72 Wakefieldians who lost their lives during World War II,[52] as well as names of all other Wakefieldians who served in the war.[52] The creation of the committee overseeing the project was authorized in 2007,[52] and the memorial was completed in 2011.


MelroseWakefield Hospital (formerly Melrose-Wakefield Hospital), a Level II trauma center, is located to the south of Wakefield in nearby Melrose and serves both the town of Wakefield and city of Melrose.

Board of Health[edit]

The Wakefield Board of Health (BOH) legislates health policy within the town. As of March 2020, the three-member board is composed of Chair Laurel Skinner Gourville, Candace Lenahan, and Secretary Elaine Silva.[53]

Wakefield and COVID–19[edit]

As of October 12, 2020, Wakefield has reported 371 cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 pandemic, out of 14,097 total tests administered. On the state’s color-coded daily incidence rate scale, Wakefield remains green (low threat).[54]


Wakefield High School, as seen in December 2012.
The former Nazareth Academy, as seen in December 2012.
Woodville Elementary School, as seen in November 2011.

Wakefield is home to two high schools: one public school (Wakefield High School), and one regional vocational school (Northeast Vocational). Wakefield contains one middle school, Galvin Middle School, and five elementary schools, Greenwood, Walton, Woodville, Dolbeare, and Doyle.[55]

The Little Red School House is a former one-room school house building that was last used by kindergarten students on the West Side until the 1980s. It has been preserved and now houses the Wakefield Historical Society.

School Committee[edit]

The Wakefield School Committee oversees Wakefield Public Schools,[56][57] which is currently headed by superintendent Doug Lyons as of July 1, 2018.[58] Lyons' Assistant Superintendent is Kara Mauro.[31] The School Committee, as of June 2018, is composed of the following elected members:[57] Chairman Thomas F. Markham, III (2019), Christopher J. Callanan (2020), Anne-Marie Fortier (2020), Greg Liakos (2019), Ronald Masse (2019), Colleen Guida (2021), and Aimee Purcell (2021).[57] The School Committee controls the majority of municipal spending.


Wakefield is roughly composed of the following neighborhoods:[59]

This commuter rail station in Wakefield bears the name of Greenwood, one of its neighborhoods.
A satellite branch of the Wakefield post office in Greenwood, with Cibo Italian bistro visible in background.
Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, also located in Greenwood, is one of Wakefield's preeminent Catholic places of worship.
  • Greenwood consists of nearly all of Southern Wakefield, bordering the Melrose Highlands neighborhood of Melrose to the south, the Horace Mann neighborhoods of Melrose and Saugus to the south and east, and Stoneham to the west. Although a part of Wakefield, Greenwood is often labeled as a town separate from Wakefield on maps and in atlases, and a satellite U.S. Post Office exists on Main Street in southern Greenwood.
  • Woodville consists of much of central-eastern Wakefield.
  • The Downtown/Wakefield Square area extends from just north of the immediate north shore of Crystal Lake (an area known as Wakefield Junction, where North Avenue merges into Main Street) to the southern shores of Lake Quannapowitt.
  • The West Side encompasses nearly all of Wakefield which is west of Lake Quannapowitt and Crystal Lake.
  • The East Side, in spite of the name, is not in extreme Eastern Wakefield. Rather, the East Side is about the geographical center of the town, bordering the northeastern shore of Crystal Lake. Woodville is in fact to the east of the "East Side".
  • Lakeside encompasses northern-central Wakefield and borders the entire eastern shore of Lake Quannapowitt. Lakeside borders Reading to the north.
  • Montrose consists of much of northeastern Wakefield, bordering Lynnfield. Aside from Lake Quannapowitt and Crystal Lake, many of Wakefield's smaller ponds and lakes, such as Heron Pond, can be found in the Montrose region.

Points of interest[edit]

Places of worship[edit]

Wakefield has a wide variety of places of worship serving numerous faiths and denominations. Many townspeople are regular attendees at one of the following:

  • First Parish Congregational Church (Downtown/Wakefield Square)
  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Downtown/Wakefield Square)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Wakefield (Main Street)
  • Greenwood Union Church (Greenwood)
  • Most Blessed Sacrament Church (southern Greenwood)
  • Romanian Orthodox Church (East Side)
  • St. Florence Parish (Montrose)
  • St. Joseph Parish (West Side)
  • Temple Emmanuel (West Side)
  • Wakefield–Lynnfield United Methodist Church (Montrose)
  • Christ the King North Shore (Wakefield Junction)
  • Mun Su Sa Buddhist Temple (Montrose)

First Baptist Church Fire[edit]

The First Baptist Church of Wakefield (Downtown/Wakefield Square, constructed 1872) served Wakefield for nearly 150 years before being destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire around 7:10 PM EDT, Tuesday, October 23, 2018. It took the rest of the night for firefighters and first responders to extinguish the blaze. As of October 25, the remains of the church were in a pile waiting cleanup. In the aftermath, First Baptist worship services have continued at the nearby First Parish Congregational Church.


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. A former Boston and Maine Railroad station located east of this line is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Several MBTA buses on Route 136 and Route 137 run to surrounding communities, including the nearby Oak Grove stop as well as Malden Center, both rapid transit stations on the Orange Line. The route 428 bus from Oaklandvale in nearby Saugus to Haymarket in downtown Boston stops on Farm Street in front of Wakefield High School; this bus route runs express to Haymarket. Rt. 128/I-95 runs through Wakefield with exits at Albion Street, North Avenue, Water Street, Vernon Street, New Salem Street, and Salem Street. State Route 129 also passes through Wakefield. US Route 1 runs through nearby Saugus and Lynnfield, while I-93 runs through neighboring Stoneham.


The town is served by two daily newspapers, the locally owned Daily Item, an edition of the Daily Times Chronicle; and a weekly, the Wakefield Observer. The Wakefield Memorial High School has a newspaper, written by the students, recently renamed "WHS exPRESS". The town operates a Public Access cable channel, WCAT Wakefield.

In addition, Wakefield Nation provides election coverage and supports local charitable causes.


Softball at one of Wakefield's most popular sports venues, Veterans Field — July 17, 2012.

Wakefield has a strong local sports fan base and a robust youth sports culture. Wakefield High School has popular football, baseball, softball, hockey and basketball programs. Wakefield High's football team earned a Division II "Super Bowl" title in 1999,[60] and its men's and women's basketball teams won Division II state championships in 1997.[60] Baseball is a popular spring and summer sport in the town, with two men's semiprofessional teams: the Wakefield Merchants, a member of Boston's Intercity Baseball League (and champions of that league in 1978 and 1994),[61] and a team representing the local American Legion post.

Wakefield has many active youth sports leagues. Young athletes in Wakefield can choose to play baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football, soccer, hockey, dance, cheerleading, and softball, among other team sports. The following is a list of the volunteer organizations that maintain these leagues.

Annual events[edit]

  • Town Day
  • Independence Day Parade / Home Town March[nb 3] (July 4)
  • Festival Italia (typically 3rd Saturday in August)
  • Homecoming Celebration in Autumn
  • Concerts on the Common (July–September)
  • Festival By The Lake (2nd Saturday in June)
  • Tis the Season Holiday Stroll (1st Saturday in December)

Photo gallery[edit]

See the top of the page for additional photos.

Notable people[edit]

Below are some of the notable residents or people from Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown hails from Wakefield.
John Galvin was born in Wakefield and is the namesake of Wakefield's Galvin Middle School.
  • Lucius Morris Beebe, author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist born December 9, 1902 in Wakefield (died 1966)
  • Elizabeth Boit, textile manufacturer
Detroit Pistons draft pick Bruce Brown played basketball at Wakefield High School.
Buffy Sainte Marie spent part of her childhood in Wakefield.
John Anthony Volpe was born in and lived in Wakefield.
  • 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
  • James Massone, former contestant on season 2 of the NBC program The Voice.
  • Judge A. David Mazzone 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.
  • Charlie Moore, host of NESN's Charlie Moore Outdoors
  • Marcia Pankratz, member of the 1988 and 1996 Olympic field hockey team and former head coach of field hockey at the University of Michigan
  • Jimmy Pedro, multiple Olympic medalist in judo and former world champion
  • Buffy (Beverly) Sainte Marie, folksinger and composer, born in Canada but raised in Wakefield, graduating from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1958 [65]
  • Louis Sullivan, architect considered the father of modernism, born in Boston but lived in Wakefield with his grandparents during his school years
  • Richard Tisei, former Massachusetts State Senate Minority Leader and former candidate for Lt. Governor
  • John Anthony Volpe, three-time Republican governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and Ambassador to Italy; born in Wakefield in 1908.


  1. ^ As of April 24, 2012.[4]
  2. ^ As of July 2, 2014.[6]
  3. ^ The Wakefield Independence Day Parade was not held in 2013 after leaders of the Wakefield Independence Day Committee resigned.[62] Instead, the West Side Social Club staged a considerably smaller event called a "Home Town March" on July 4, 2013.[63] In April 2014, it was announced that the Wakefield Independence Day Committee would endeavor to stage the traditional 4th of July Parade in July 2015,[64] with another "Home Town March" organized by the West Side Social Club to take place for the intervening 4th of July 2014. Ultimately, no Home Town March took place in 2014 due to Hurricane Arthur.

    A more traditional 4th of July parade organized by a reformed Wakefield Independence Day Committee took place from 2015–19, before being scrapped again in 2020, this time due to the COVID–19 pandemic.


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  4. ^ a b c One Stop Election Info: Selectman Candidates – Wakefield, MA Patch. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
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  10. ^ a b c "Wakefield, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes – June 13, 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
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  13. ^ William J. Lee Memorial Town Hall Archived 2011-10-21 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
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  19. ^ Latest snowfall totals from Blizzard 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  20. ^ Snowfall totals: Who got what from blizzard. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
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  30. ^ "Town Administrator's Report Going Live" – WickedLocal. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  31. ^ a b Sardella, Mark (July 6, 2018). "Mauro will be new assistant superintendent". The Wakefield Daily Item.
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  38. ^ a b Joshua Stockbridge (February 12, 2013). "Board of Selectmen: Encarnacao won't seek re-election". WickedLocal Wakefield/Wakefield Observer. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  39. ^ John Laidler (March 23, 2014). "Board of Selectmen race is lone contest on town election ballot". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  40. ^ Sample Ballot. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  41. ^ April 26, 2016 Election Results - Final. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
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  44. ^ Election Results - Annual Town Election. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
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  47. ^ Town of Wakefield — Annual Town Election — June 23, 2020 — OFFICIAL RESULTS. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
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  63. ^ William Laforme (June 30, 2013). "Complete Schedule of Wakefield's 4th of July activities". Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  64. ^ Steven Ryan (April 2, 2014). "4th of July parade aims for 2015 return". Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  65. ^ Sonneborn, Liz (2014-05-14). A to Z of American Indian Women. Infobase Publishing. p. 215. ISBN 9781438107882.

Further reading[edit]

1852 map of Boston area showing South Reading, later renamed Wakefield

External links[edit]