Meet the authors of the newest Wakefield history book, Lake Quannapowitt. Lake Quannapowitt is named for James Quonopohit, a member of the Pawtucket tribe of Nipmuc Indians and signer of the 1686 deed selling land to European colonists. A town called Redding (now Wakefield) developed on the shore of the lake that provided colonists with a bounty of fish, including salmon and alewives, until mills stopped their passage upstream. The town remained rural until the Boston and Maine Railroad arrived in 1845. Overnight, new markets became accessible, and Lake Quannapowitt ice was exported to destinations worldwide. Icehouses dominated the shoreline and stood side-by-side with boathouses and bathhouses. Some in Wakefield remember the last days of ice harvesting, although barely a trace of its existence remains. More residents remember Hill's Boathouse and Dance Hall, where many a romance began. For recent arrivals who walk and jog its idyllic 5-kilometer shore, the lake's industrial and complex past will come as a surprise.
Author Bio: Alison C. Simcox and Douglas L. Heath are environmental scientists with an interest in local history. They have researched and sampled Lake Quannapowitt since 1998. For this book, they selected images from private collections and public archives, tracing the lake's history from its natural origins through the industrial era to its transformation into an urban playground.