The boat house

  • The boat house
  • "Lake Quannapowitt and all its beauty has been the source of recreation for several generations of Wakefield residents. The bandstand was the scene of many concerts and the lake and her shore provided endless hours of swimming, sunbathing and boating. In 1872, Albert S. Wiley captured the spirit of the lake and established a boat house at the end of Spaulding Street. His son Will soon joined him and together they built a larger, more modern boat house, complete with a large wharf. This building stood facing West in Hartshorne's Cove, but was later turned to the North and used for several years as the Bath House. In 1887, Will Wiley erected the new boat house which stood at the end of Lake Avenue, directly on the shores of Lake Quannapowitt. For several years after, Wakefield residents enjoyed the serenity of the lake with numerous sail boats, row boats and canoes lining the wharf. A dance hall was added in 1912 where several big name bands performed. After the death of Will Wiley, his widow sub-let the ballroom to local promoters, namely Kimball's and Cubberley's, and the hall soon became the recreational facility for servicemen stationed at Camp Curtis Guild during World War I. The boat house and dance hall were sold to Harold and Gertrude Hill in 1923. The Hills opened the dance hall to flower shows, exhibitions, and special events sponsored by local organizations. The Hills owned the boat house until 1963 when it was purchased by the Town. The property became a Town-owned beach and later a playground for children. Recently the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association built a new playground for the children which was dedicated in 1987." -- Text from calendar.;Captions: 1. Wiley's Boat House was originally located at the end of Spaulding Street. In this photo, taken in 1890, the boat house and its long wharf faces West near Hartshorne's Cove. The building was later turned North and used as the bath house. -- 2. The second 'more modern' Wiley's Boat House was built in the late 1880s at the end of Lake Avenue. A dance hall was added on the second floor in 1912 and the building was purchased by the Hill family in 1923. -- 3. The site of the Wiley Boat House and its successor the Hill Boat House, is now the home of a Town-owned beach and playground. The Bath House can be seen at right.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1988
  • Photos courtesy of Bourdon Studios and the Wakefield Daily Item.
  • Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“The boat house,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed May 16, 2021,


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