Wakefield was first settled in 1638 as Lynn Village. It officially separated from Lynn and incorporated as Reading in 1644 when the first church and corn mill were established. This first corn mill was built on the Mill River on Water Street, and later small saw mills were built on the Mill River and the Saugus River. The old parish church became known as the Old or South Parish when in 1713 the North Parish was established. This North Parish later became the town of North Reading. In 1769 the West Parish was established. In 1812 the Old or South Parish of Reading separated from Reading and was officially incorporated as South Reading. At the time it was spelt South Redding, not South Reading. The railroad was chartered and built in 1844 between Wilmington and Boston. This later became the main line of the Boston and Maine Railroad. The Boston and Maine Foundry was built in 1854 and was later reincorporated as the Smith and Anthony Stove Company. The Boston Ice Company cut and shipped ice from Lake Quannapowitt starting in 1851.The Rattan Works (which made wicker furniture) was established in 1856 by Cyrus Wakefield. This later grew into the Wakefield Rattan Company and at one time had a thousand employees. In 1868 Cyrus Wakefield donated land and money for a new town hall, and in thanks the town voted to change its name from South Reading to Wakefield. The town hall, currently named for William J. Lee, is located at 1 Lafayette Street.In 1856 the South Reading public library was established, which later became the Beebe Town Library. The first weekly newspaper in town was established in 1858.One of the oldest and largest manufacturers of flying model airplane toys in the world, Paul K. Guillow, Inc. is located in Wakefield. The company is particularly notable for its extensive line of balsa wood model airplane kits.