Wakefield's history and industry

  • Wakefield's history and industry
  • "Since the mid-1800s, Wakefield has been a residential suburb within commuting distance to Boston. In 1845 when the Boston & Maine railroad completed its Boston to Wilmington line, the community and its appeal grew by leaps and bounds. Because of its proximity to Boston, Wakefield has attracted a mix of industry and new citizens throughout the past century. One of Wakefield's major contributions came from the rattan and reed industry founded by Cyrus Wakefield. As a young boy, Mr. Wakefield found he could turn the useless rattan thrown overboard by stevedores into useful products for everyday use. He began making furniture, mats, floor coverings, baling cloth and baskets from the rattan. As the interest in his products grew, Mr. Wakefield purchased homes and land in the center of South Reading and later bought a mill site on the Mill River. The railroad itself brought a number of industries to the town. Ice houses were opened on the banks of Lake Quannapowitt and ice from the lake was shipped to Boston on the trains. Foundries were opened along the railroad line and the shoe industry, an important part of Wakefield's rich history, played an enormous role in the community's population growth. Other larger industries included a knitting mill and a piano factory. When these industries closed shop, other companies moved into town. The buildings vacated when the rattan industry stopped production were quickly occupied by other industries. New industries also cropped up in the mid 1990s when Rte. 128, now known as Technology Highway, was created. Today, corporate headquarters for major industries are located throughout the town, and scores of commuters travel in and out of the community each day. Wakefield has become a vital asset in the Commonwealth's economy." -- Text from calendar.;Captions: 1. The bandstand in Wakefield Park, better known as the Common. -- 2. The Wakefield Rockery.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1987
  • Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department (Wakefield, Mass.)Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Wakefield's history and industry,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed May 16, 2022, https://digitalheritage.noblenet.org/noble/items/show/7172.


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