Monday, June 17, 2013
Each week, Wakefield Patch takes a look at the town's past using a local relic found for sale on eBay.
It can be hard to believe that what is now a busy office park next to Route 128 in Wakefield was once an amusement park that drew celebrity performers that included the Three Stooges and Ricky Nelson. This particular image shows the front gate of the park, most likely around the time of its opening in 1959. The park generally seems to have had a Wild West theme, although there were also apparently pirates and a big white whale (rumored in some quarters to remain at the bottom of Reedy Meadow to this day) among the other attractions. This week's local history topic practically selected itself, since as noted elsewhere on this website this morning, local author and historian Bob McLaughlin is leading a tour of the former amusement park site …
Monday, June 10, 2013
Each week, Wakefield Patch takes a look at the town's past using local relics found for sale on eBay.
Here's a fairly interesting but somewhat grainy image of downtown Wakefield taken back around 1908, looking north up Main Street. It was the hand-written note that got my attention more in this case – “I have to go up this street every day to school.” A century before text messaging, people would think nothing of throwing a postcard in the mail for a penny and sending a note that short and casual to somebody. And a lot of the time, they weren't even vacationing. In this case, the recipient was a friend from Sebec, Maine, which turns out to be quite far up 95 (which wasn’t there when this postcard was mailed), up past Bangor and Old Town.
Monday, June 3, 2013
From time to time, Wakefield Patch takes a look at the town's past using items found for sale on eBay.
Here's an interesting recent find from eBay - a postcard that appears to be from the very early 1900s showing the former Quannapowitt Pool and Bowling Parlors that once stood at 502 Main Street in Wakefield. This pool hall/bowling alley looks like it was pretty nice for its time, although it doesn't seem like a big "date night" destination - or even a place that sold food or drink. Apparently the men of that era were as serious about their billiards and bowling as they were about their facial hair. For some reason I find myself wondering how many of those guys pictured in the back had flasks in their pockets. Anyhow, a check of where exactly this place was turns up the NAPA auto parts store and the car lot at the turn on to Richardson …
Monday, May 20, 2013
With Memorial Day just around the corner, here's an interesting item from Wakefield's past recently spotted on eBay.
I don't write about local history every week on Wakefield Patch, but from time to time I find an item that's worth sharing. I'm not sure where exactly in town it was located, but in the past year or so I've seen numerous local history references and photos involving a U.S. Navy rifle training facility, or something to that effect, in Wakefield around the World War I era. For this item, a Navy man named Will Neidhart wrote the following note home to his mother in Chicago. It was sent on a postcard showing a picture of himself among a couple of dozen other Navy personnel in front of a tent, with a postmark from Wakefield dated May 19, 1918 - exactly 95 years ago this past Sunday. "Dear Mother: I am still feeling fine and dandy. Hope all the …
Monday, April 22, 2013
Thanks to local authors Alison C. Simcox and Douglas L. Heath for providing these two images from different points in the town's past.
Earlier this year, this website spoke with Alison C. Simcox and Douglas L. Heath about their new Images of America book on the Breakheart Reservation. The two also provided some vintage images from Wakefield's history that you might find interesting. The first image shows a photo of a Quannapowitt skimmer boat that was taken in 1966. The second shows three Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers on a firetruck at the Breakheart Reservation back in August of 1935. Workers from the Depression-era program played a key role in building the Breakheart Reservation infrastructure that we know today.
Monday, April 15, 2013
A look at Wakefield's past using items from the town's past up for sale on eBay. This week - a look at the Patriot's Day connection to Wakefield's oldest house.
In recent weeks, this website has been taking a look at some of the items up for sale on eBay that help illustrate Wakefield's history. This vintage image of Wakefield's Hartshorne House appears was taken sometime after 1933, according to its listing on eBay. With today being Patriot's Day, it's a perfect day to look at a house that was already getting a little old by the time the American Revolution broke out in 1775. The Hartshorne House, which stands on Church Street on the shore of Lake Quannapowitt, was built around 1681. More than a century later, the Hartshorne House website reports that the house was the possession of Dr. John Hart, a Revolutionary War doctor who was a close associate of George Washington. According to the history …
Monday, April 1, 2013
With all three options for its steeple project still on the table, Unitarian Universalist Church will begin outside fundraising campaign soon. Congregation marks 200th anniversary on April 28th.
Members of the Unitarian Universalist congregation in downtown Wakefield have raised about $100,000 so far in their ongoing campaign to possibly fund a new steeple for the nearly 200-year-old building. Back in January, the church hosted a public forum where members discussed three options of varying costs, ranging from restoring a 40-foot steeple to the building to placing a small dome at the top of the building to simply removing the remainder of the steeple parts from the top of the steeple and replacing it with nothing. The church building on Main Street in downtown Wakefield near the common was constructed in 1839 and the congregation first formed in 1813 at the Amos Boardman House in town. On Sunday, April 28th at 3 p.m., the 64-…
Here's an image from a fire that appears to have destroyed a three-story building in town back in 1907.
From time to time as a Patch.com editor, I've run columns about photos found on eBay that are of historical interest to local residents. This latest image shows a fire that destroyed what appears to be part of a block of the downtown Wakefield area back in 1907. A sign on the building on the corner appears to say "Wakefield House," consistent with a hand-written note on the side of the photo. A larger building next door is also on fire - and a look at the equipment on the ground suggests that the hoses of the era didn't get water much higher than the second floor. Whenever they invented the first ladder truck, it couldn't have come fast enough.
Monday, March 25, 2013
From time to time, Wakefield Patch runs a vintage photo and talks about its connection to the present day. Check out this press photo of Bob Dolbeare from 1964.
Does that guy on the right look familiar to anyone out there? Chances are you might know his name if you're a Wakefield resident. This is one of numerous press photos from years back that come up for sale on eBay.com from time to time. Back in 1964, neighboring Lynnfield was celebrating its 150th anniversary - and one way it marked the occasion was apparently to have some town residents - including Dick Weeks and Bob Dolbeare - run a copy of the Governor's proclamation marking the occasion from the State House in Boston down Route 1 to the Lynnfield Town Common. The whole thing reportedly took about 90 minutes and apparently took place on June 13th, 1964. On the right, Mr. Weeks actually showed up some five decades later on Lynnfield …
Monday, March 18, 2013
A look at the area long ago with help from some vintage photos.
Earlier this year, I interviewed local authors Alison Simcox and Douglas Heath about their new Images of America book on the Breakheart Reservation. Along with talking about the book and the history of this conservation area located near the Wakefield/Saugus line, they were also kind enough to provide a handful of vintage Wakefield photos that capture long-ago moments of life in town. In this week's introductory column, we're transported back to the former Breakheart Farm, which, according to the book, was located near the present-day entrance to the Breakheart Reservation, not far from the vocational school. These particular photos show Bess Parker and her brother Ernest at the farm with their horse Prince around 1916 or 1917. In one of …