Looking north on Leonard Street in the town center
|Motto: "The Town Of Homes"|
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
|• Total||4.7 sq mi (12.2 km2)|
|• Land||4.7 sq mi (12.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)|
|Elevation||44 ft (13 m)|
|• Density||5,300/sq mi (2,000/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||617 / 857|
|GNIS feature ID||0618216|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Education
- 5 Government
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Railroad history
- 8 Environment
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 Points of interest
- 11 Local media
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Belmont was founded on March 18, 1859, by former citizens of, and land from the bordering towns of Watertown, to the south; Waltham, to the west; and Arlington, then known as West Cambridge, to the north. The town was named after Bellmont, the 200 acre (0.8 km²) estate of one of the leading advocates of and largest donor to its creation, John Perkins Cushing. The easternmost section of the town, including the western portion of Fresh Pond, was annexed by Cambridge in 1880 in a dispute over a slaughterhouse licensed in 1878 on Fresh Pond, so that Cambridge could protect Fresh Pond, a part of its municipal water system.
Preceding its incorporation, Belmont was an agrarian based town, with several large farms servicing Boston for produce and livestock. It remained largely the same until the turn of the twentieth century, when trolley service and better roads were introduced, making the town more attractive as a residential area, most notably for the building of large estates.
Belmont's population grew by over 90 percent during the 1920s.
The economics of the town shifted from purely agrarian to a commercial greenhouse base: much of the flower and vegetable needs of Boston were met from the Belmont 'hothouses' which persisted until about 1983 when Edgar's, the last large greenhouse firm in the area, closed. Other commercial enterprises in Belmont included mining and waste management. The reclamation of a large dump and quarry off Concord Avenue into sites for the Belmont High School and the Clay Pit Pond stands as a lasting example of environmental planning. With the introduction of automobiles and highways Belmont continued its transition to a commuter-based suburb throughout the twentieth century.
Belmont was the home of the headquarters of the Appleton, Wisconsin in 1989.
In 1963, English composer Arthur Bliss wrote The Belmont Variations based on the town of Belmont MA, where his wife Lady Trudy Bliss was born. The work was used at the Royal Albert Hall (London) as the test piece for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.
Belmont remains a primarily residential suburb with little growth since the 1950s. It is best known for the mansion-filled Belmont Hill neighborhood, although most residents live in more densely settled, low-lying areas around the Hill. There are three major commercial centers in the town: Belmont Center in the center, Cushing Square in the south, and Waverley Square in the west. Town Hall and other civic buildings are located in Belmont Center. Large tracts of land from former farms and greenhouse estates form public or public-accessible areas such as Rock Meadow, Habitat (Mass Audubon), portions of the McLean Hospital tract and various town fields.
The major roads in the town are Concord Avenue, which bisects the town from east to west, Common Street and Pleasant Street (Route 60) which travel north-south through Belmont, and Trapelo Road and Belmont Street which run along the southern edge of the town. Massachusetts Route 2 runs along the northern border of the town. Belmont is also served by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Fitchburg Commuter Rail line and MBTA Bus line numbers 62, 62/76, 67, 72/75, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 84, and 554.
Belmont is located at (42.391546, -71.174712).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.2 km²), of which 4.7 square miles (12.1 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²), or 1.06%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 24,729 people. The 2010 census lists 10,184 housing units. The population density was 5,316.9 people per square mile (2,004.6/km²). The racial make up of the town was 83.5% White, 1.8% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 11.1% Asian, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population. 6.3% of the population are under the age of five, 24.6% are under the age of eighteen, and 15.8% are 65 years of age or older; 53% are female. The median household income was $95,377.
The 2000 census listed 9,732 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.
In 2010, 20% of the residents of Belmont were born outside of the United States. In 2000 this percentage was 15%.
There are four public elementary schools in Belmont, the Mary Lee Burbank, Daniel Butler, Winn Brook, and Roger Wellington schools. The Mary Lee Burbank School was founded in 1931. Two other public elementary schools, Payson Park and Kendall, were closed in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. The former closed after being destroyed by fire, the latter closed due to population shifts and was converted to an arts center, which was later also destroyed by fire. There is one public middle school, the Winthrop L. Chenery Middle School, which was rebuilt on the same location after an electrical fire damaged the auditorium in 1995, and one public high school, Belmont High School.
Belmont High has an outstanding reputation for college placement, strong athletics, academics, music, and theater arts; a typical class size of about 290 students; and average SATs for the class of 2004 of 1179. Belmont students also have the option to attend Minuteman Career and Technical High School in Lexington. Minuteman High also offers adult education courses. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report gave Belmont High School a gold medal and named it the 100th best non-private high school in the United States and the second best in the state of Massachusetts (after Boston Latin School).
Belmont Hill School is a private, non-sectarian high school, grades 7-12. Belmont Day School is a private, non-sectarian PK-8 school. There are several smaller private schools.
The executive branch of the town government consists of a three-person Board of Selectmen elected by the residents. The Selectmen appoint a Town Administrator who is in charge of daily operations.
Belmont is part of the 24th Middlesex District (for the Massachusetts House of Representatives), the 2nd Middlesex and Suffolk District (for the Massachusetts Senate), and Massachusetts's 5th congressional district (for the United States House of Representatives).
Belmont is served directly by two state routes. Running close to the middle of town is Route 60, locally known as Pleasant Street. On the northern border, Route 2 predominantly outlines Belmont's boundary with the neighboring town of Arlington. Other nearby major routes include I-95/MA-Route 128, Route 16, Route 3, and Route 20 .
Several MBTA bus routes serve Belmont directly:
- 72/75 — Belmont Center - Harvard Station via Concord Ave. Saturday and Sunday service (map schedule)
- 73 — Waverley Square - Harvard Station via Trapelo Road (trolleybus) (map schedule)
- 74 & 75 — Belmont Center - Harvard Station via Concord Ave. Monday through Saturday service, see 72/75 for Sunday service (map )
- 78 — Arlmont Village - Harvard Station via Park Circle (map schedule)
- 554 — Downtown Boston - Waverley Square via Newton Corner (map schedule)
These MBTA bus routes have stops in Belmont along the Route 2 corridor (eastbound):
- 62 — Bedford V.A. Hospital - Alewife Station, Monday through Friday service (map schedule)
- 62/76 — Bedford V.A. Hospital, Lincoln Labs, and Hanscom - Alewife Station, Saturday service (map schedule)
- 67 — Turkey Hill - Alewife Station (map schedule)
- 76 — Hanscom and Lincoln Labs - Alewife Station, Monday through Friday service (map schedule)
- 84 — Arlmont Village - Alewife Station (map schedule)
Belmont was once served by two railroads, the Fitchburg Railroad and the Central Massachusetts Railroad, both of which were later to become part of the Boston & Maine Railroad system. Originally the two railroads had their own tracks through town, but in 1952 the Central Mass tracks were lifted between Hill's Crossing and Clematis Brook (Waltham). Traffic was then rerouted over the Fitchburg line.
Today the MBTA owns the trackage that runs through Belmont. It is known as the Fitchburg Line. Passenger service on this line currently ends at Fitchburg, but it once was the area's main route into New York state. As of 2011, the MBTA was planning to extend future service to West Fitchburg.
The station stops at Belmont Center and Waverley were once grade crossings, meaning pedestrian and vehicular traffic had to cross directly over rails that were in public roads. In 1907 the grade at Belmont Center was eliminated by constructing a stone bridge to carry the tracks past a new station building. At Waverley, the grade was lowered so that the tracks ran under Trapelo Road.
A second railroad station building exists in Belmont, though it is not obvious. The Wellington Hill Station was originally built in the 1840s as a private school, not far from its current location in Belmont Center. It was then used by the Fitchburg Railroad from 1852 to 1879. When the railroad decided to replace the station with a larger structure, the building was moved to the Underwood Estate and used as a summer house. In 1974, the station was donated to the Belmont Historical Society. It was restored and relocated to its current location in 1980.
In 2002, Middlesex County was ranked in the worst 10% of polluted counties in the United States in terms of air and water pollution. Two companies that ranked in the top 10 for polluters in the county were Cambridge Plating Company in Belmont and the Polaroid Corporation in Waltham.
The chemicals released were trichloroethylene and dichloromethane, both of which are harmful and have been shown to cause cancer. These chemicals are released into the air so it is difficult to trace them and to determine the source as there are also several other industries in the area that release the same pollutants. It is estimated that 3% of homes in Belmont are at risk of having lead hazards.
In 2004, the town of Belmont first hosted an annual community environmental fair to encourage environmentally friendly behavior for its residents.
Due to its proximity to Harvard and MIT universities, amongst others, Belmont has had several Nobel Prize winners in residence at one time or another. Well-known past and present residents include:
- Founder of MAPS Rick Doblin
- China trader John Perkins Cushing
- Businessman and philanthropist Stephen P. Mugar, founder of the Star Market chain
- Sugar Daddy inventor and John Birch Society founder Robert W. Welch, Jr.
Politics and government
- Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney
- Former Director of Central Intelligence, John Deutch
- Crown Princess Masako of Japan
Arts and music
- Painter Winslow Homer
- Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted
- Musician Seth Justman of The J. Geils Band
- Composer Walter Piston
- Composer Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee
- Cellist Yo-Yo Ma
- Singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor
- Tom Bergeron - Radio and TV personality
- David E. Kelley- TV producer and writer
- Addison Powell - Actor
- Jean Rogers- Actress
- Major League pitcher, Red Sox and White Sox Wilbur Wood
- Major League catcher/Hall of Famer, Red Sox and White Sox Carlton Fisk
- Major League baseball player and two time NL MVP, Dale Murphy
- Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee
- New York Rangers defenseman Paul Mara
- New York Rangers Forward Patrick Rissmiller
- Author Leah Hager Cohen
- Author Tom Perrotta
- Author William Dean Howells
- Author/journalist Sebastian Junger
- Author and educator Gerald Warner Brace
- Author and psychologist William Damon
- Author/explorer/photographer Bradford Washburn
- American professor and legal scholar William P. Alford
- MIT systems scientist and entrepreneur VA Shiva Ayyadurai (born 1963). Claims to have invented email in 1978 at the age of 14.
- Physicist Albert Baez, and his daughters folksingers Joan Baez and Mimi Farina
- Harvard Business School professor and author Clayton M. Christensen
- Engineer Vannevar Bush
- Brigham Young University-Idaho President and Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark
- Roman Catholic bishop Thomas Vose Daily
- Scientist and photographer Harold "Doc" Edgerton
- Professor Martin Feldstein, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
- Molecular biologist H. Gobind Khorana, Nobel Prize 1968 - Medicine
- Harvard professor Andrew Knoll -- Wollaston Medal 2007
- Former Dean of the Harvard Business School Jay O. Light
- Theoretical physicist Francis E. Low
- Reformationist scholar and novelist Richard Marius
- MIT economics professor Franco Modigliani, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, 1985
- Philosopher Robert Nozick
- Professor Edwin O. Reischauer, East Asia scholar and Ambassador to Japan
- Astronaut and chemical engineer Albert Sacco.
- Economist Paul A. Samuelson, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, 1970
- HUAC victim and MIT mathematician Dirk Jan Struik
- MIT computer scientist and Multics operating systems researcher Jack Dennis
- Computer scientist Leslie Valiant
- Mathematician Norbert Wiener
- Organic chemist Robert Burns Woodward -- Nobel Prize 1965 - Chemistry
- Astronomer Fred Lawrence Whipple 
- Founder of American Heart Association Paul Dudley White
- Bach scholar Christoph Wolff
Points of interest
- Redtop, home of William Dean Howells
- Edwin O. Reischauer Memorial House
- Boston & Maine Railroad Station, now known as the MBTA Commuter Rail Belmont stop, now owned by the Lions Club
- Wellington Hill Railroad Station, circa 1840, located across the street from the current MBTA stop at Belmont Center
- Boston Massachusetts Temple of the LDS Church
The Belmont Citizen-Herald is a newspaper covering Belmont since 1988. The print edition of the newspaper is available in stores on Thursday. The Citizen-Herald was actually two newspapers at one time. The Belmont Citizen began publishing in 1920, and the Belmont Herald started in 1930. The Boston Globe and Boston.com publish a Belmont Your Town website that provides local news and information. Belmont Patch provides online news.
- "Belmont Massachusetts". Belmont Massachusetts. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Belmont town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Belmont Historic District Commission, Belmont, Massachusetts: The Architecture and Development of The Town of Homes, 1984
- Schaeffer, K. H. and Elliott Sclar. Access for All: Transportation and Urban Growth. Columbia University Press, 1980. Accessed on Google Books. 86. Retrieved on January 16, 2010. ISBN 0-231-05165-4, ISBN 978-0-231-05165-1.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".
- "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
- "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "American FactFinder".
- "Belmont CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- Sacchetti, Maria. "A melting pot stretches out to the suburbs." Boston Globe. September 15, 2010. p. 2 (Archive). Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
- The Rail Lines of Southern New England - Ronald Dale Karr 1995
- Who is Polluting?
- Tucker, Franklin (2010-11-16). """Belmont-Born, Bred Actor Addison Powell dies at 89: "Dark Shadows" star worked on Broadway, in films "Three Days of the Condor," "The Thomas Crown Affair.
- Return to Sender: Did Shiva Ayyadurai Invent Email?, Boston Magazine, June 2012 - accessed October 17, 2013
- Corruption, Lies, and Death Threats: The Crazy Story of the Man Who Pretended to Invent Email, Gizmodo, March 5, 2012 - accessed October 18, 2013
- The Man Who Invented Email, TIME Techland, November 15, 2011 - accessed January 21, 2012
- Software Design Development and Implementation of a High-Reliability Network-Wide Electronic Mail System, Shiva Ayyadurai 1981 - accessed January 21, 2012
- Jay O. Light Harvard Business School
- Somerville, Arlington and Belmont Directory. 1869; 1873; 1876.
- Town of Belmont official website
- Belmont Public Schools
- Belmont Public Library
- Belmont Police Department
- Belmont Citizen-Herald, published by GateHouse Media of Perinton, New York
- Your Town Belmont
- McLean Hospital
- Town Of Belmont / Mass.gov
- Boy Scout Troop 304 Belmont