The Only Lakeside Town Common in Massachusetts is Located at Lake
Quannapowitt in Wakefield
The town common at Lake Quannapowitt
Article and photos by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 10/2/17.
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It's hard to believe that tranquil Lake Quannapowitt, in
Wakefield, Mass., is just off manic Route 128. The Lake offers numerous
recreational opportunities, including a lovely four-mile walk around
the scenic body of water. A pretty town green, open park land and a
playground offer additional scenic and recreational opportunities at
this jewel in the middle of northwest suburbia not too far from Boston.
Near the center of town, the Lower Common surrounds a part of Lake
Quannapowitt and is actually the only common in Massachusetts with a
lakeside location. Beside it's waterfront location, the most striking
attraction is the old-time bandstand (pictured above) that dates back
to the late 1800s.
The Lower Common connects with the Upper
Common -- the latter which has more history, having been established in the
1640s. The Upper Common once accommodated a schoolhouse,
blacksmithing, cattle grazing and military training. Along with the
Lower Common and most other town commons in Massachusetts after the
separation of church and state, the Upper Common now offers a
park-like, community setting near the Lake with spring flower beds,
period lighting, benches, and well-maintained paved walkways and
several dedication monuments.
The Festival by the Lake––held by the Wakefield Center Neighborhood
Association––is a popular Lower Common event held the second
Saturday in June, featuring crafters, artists, musical entertainment,
local organizations, and food. Also, don't forget the 4th of July
celebration -- the second largest in New England next to Bristol, R.I.! The Lake setting is a beautiful setting for the fireworks display.
Lake Quannapowitt is most pleasant during the spring, summer and fall,
but winter has its shining moments, too, as long as it is not too cold!
Winter scene at Lake Quannapowitt.
Wakefield also has a
nice, old-fashioned downtown with charming, old brick town buildings,
beautiful old homes and churches, independently-owned local shops and
convenient parallel parking. For a town with a population of around
25,000, the Lake and small-town downtown make it seem like a much
Want to learn more about the Wakefield Upper and Lower Town Commons? Read my book, Massachusetts Town Greens, which celebrates the history of local town commons, including Wakefield!
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