Building of Veteran's Field, circa 1934

  • Building of Veteran's Field, circa 1934
  • "Town Meeting voted to purchase land at North Avenue and Church Street following a huge fire on September 26, 1929, which destroyed most of the Porter-Milton Ice House. The fire, reported to have 'illuminated the whole town,' attracted hundreds of onlookers, many of whom had already made up their minds to buy the land for the Town to build a 'playground, bathing beach, bath house, and recreation park.' The loss of the icehouse was reported to exceed $50,000. A special Town Meeting was called for October 14th to purchase the land for the asking price of $15,000. The property extended from the corner of North Avenue and Church Street, up North Avenue to the 'old brook south of the Wakefield Ice Company and eastward up Church Street to the old Cemetery.' It also included a triangular lot of land (84' x 90' x 100') separate from the icehouse, across the west side of North Avenue, north of the gas plant. Included in the sale was the Lafayette House (now the Hartshorne House), the 'yellow house on Church Street on the lake side.' Approximately 100 voters attended the meeting and all but two voted to purchase the land. One opponent argued that the land was valued at $6,000 and the Town should take it by eminent domain. Funding came from the Town Treasury free cash (formerly known as surplus) which had a balance of $35,000. Within weeks, the stock market crashed, and soon after, the State Tax Commissioner said cities and towns would receive $5 million less the next year. Faced with dwindling funds, the Town's Park Commission needed help clearing the fire ruins, offering townspeople wood which was not totally consumed by fire. In 1934, initial plans called for a skating/hockey rink, ball field, tennis court and a general playground, with the work to be performed by the Civil Works Administration (CWA) which later became the ERA, a program designed to 'give relief to needy people through direct work or work relief.' These work projects were later shifted to the Works Projects Administration (WPA). The North Avenue - Church Street project was one of 92 completed projects carried out in Wakefield by the Federal government through 1935." -- Text from calendar by Jayne M. D'Onofrio.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 2001
  • Photo courtesy of Bourdon Studios.
  • ca. 1934
  • Wakefield, Mass. : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Building of Veteran's Field, circa 1934,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed October 3, 2022,


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