Belmont is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It is a western suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, United States; and is part of the greater Boston metropolitan area. Its population was 26,171 as of July 1, 2016.
Looking north on Leonard Street in the town center
"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||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||617 / 857|
|GNIS feature ID||0618216|
|Website||Town of Belmont, MA|
Belmont was established on March 10, 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. They also wanted a town where no one could buy or sell alcohol (today, a person can buy alcohol in this town). The town was named after Bellmont, the 200 acre (0.8 km²) estate of the largest donor to its creation, John Perkins Cushing. Cushing Square is named after him and what was left of his estate after it nearly burned to the ground became a Belmont Public Library branch. 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 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.
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 publicly accessible areas such as Rock Meadow, Habitat (Mass Audubon), portions of the McLean Hospital tract and various town fields.
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.
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 Polaroid Corporation in Waltham and the Cambridge Plating Company in Belmont, which is located several hundred feet from Belmont High School. Now operated by Purecoat North LLC, the Cambridge Plating Company was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 following various violations and in 2004 following a fire that led to an accumulation of toxic wastewater.
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.
|* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.|
As of 2016, there were 26,171 residents of the Town of Belmont with 16,296 registered voters. 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 76.9% White, 1.8% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 14.1% Asian, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% 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 $114,141.
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%.
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).
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 is noted for its college placement, strong athletics, academics, music, and theater arts; a typical class size of about 290 students; and average SAT scores of 1765, for the class of 2013. Belmont students also have the option to attend Minuteman Career and Technical High School in Lexington. Minuteman High also offers adult education courses. As of 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).
The Belmont Citizen-Herald is a newspaper covering Belmont; the print edition of the newspaper will be available in stores this Thursday. The Citizen-Herald was formed in 1988 by merging the Belmont Citizen (founded in 1920) and the Belmont Herald (founded in 1930). The Boston Globe and Boston.com publish a Belmont Your Town website that provides local news and information. Other websites, Belmont Patch and The Belmontonian also provide online news.
The Belmont Media Center (BMC) was founded in 2005 as a local non-profit, public-educational & government access TV station mandated to provide and make available to Belmont residents a variety of media production & editing classes, locally produced TV programming, and video/TV equipment, studios and facilities. In 2017, BMC programs are available to Belmont subscribers of Comcast and Verizon, and BMC also carries all live programming and on-demand programs via its website.
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 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. Despite the smallness of the town, Belmont has 5 exits on Route 2. Its nearby major routes include I-95/MA-Route 128, Route 16, Route 3, and Route 20.
Belmont is served by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Fitchburg Commuter Rail line and its bus and trackless trolley lines.
McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital and research center located in Belmont, is also the largest landowner in town. It is the setting of the novel Girl, Interrupted, which was made into a 1999 movie.
Beaver Brook Reservation is a public recreation area covering 303 acres (123 ha) on the dividing line between the town of Belmont and the city of Waltham, Massachusetts. The state park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.Belmont High School (Massachusetts)
Belmont High School is a four-year public high school in Belmont, Massachusetts. It was built in 1970 at a cost of $9 million. The school had 1,236 students enrolled and a student/teacher ratio of 17:1 in the 2014–2015 school year.The school is built on an old landfill and is situated next to Clay Pit Pond. The town's high school used to be located on Orchard Street, but was badly damaged by fire in 1967. A new school was eventually built at the current location on 221 Concord Avenue in Belmont, MA. The previous high school re-opened as the Roger Wellington elementary school in and was entirely demolished in February–March 2010 for reconstruction.
Belmont High is ranked #267 in the National Rankings and #7 in Massachusetts by USNews and also earned a gold medal.Belmont Hill School
Belmont Hill School is an independent boys school on a 32-acre (130,000 m2) campus in Belmont, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The school enrolls approximately 440 students in grades 7-12, separated into the Middle School (grades 7-9) and the Upper School (grades 10-12), and refers to these grades as "Forms" with a Roman Numeral I through VI. While the majority of attending students are day students, there are some who enroll in the school's five-day boarding program, which becomes an option for students in their 9th grade year.Boston Massachusetts Temple
The Boston Massachusetts Temple is the 100th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
The Boston Massachusetts Temple is located in the Boston suburb of Belmont, Massachusetts and was dedicated for use on October 1, 2000. When LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley announced the building of small temples in April 1998, he also spoke of a goal to have 100 temples built by the end of 2000. The Boston Massachusetts Temple marked the completion of that goal.
Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the groundbreaking on June 13, 1997, and the building was completed three years later. About 82,600 visitors toured the temple during an open-house prior to its dedication. A local radio station and newspaper working together produced the first on-line tours of a temple. It included narration accompanied by photographs of the temple's interior.
Because of a lawsuit filed by neighbors of the temple site, the Boston Massachusetts Temple was dedicated without the planned steeple. Hinckley remained optimistic and said the temple work would commence with or without a steeple. His optimism was rewarded when the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled in favor of the church the following May. Previously, a judge had ruled that the building's steeple was not a "necessary element of the Mormon religion." Therefore, under the law the building height limit could be enforced. But the Supreme Court overruled the earlier ruling saying, "A rose window at Notre Dame Cathedral, a balcony at St. Peter's Basilica, are judges to decide whether these architectural elements are 'necessary' to the faith served by those buildings?" The judges concluded that, "It is not for judges to determine whether the inclusion of a particular architectural feature is 'necessary' for a particular religion." On September 21, 2001 the steeple with the famous angel Moroni was set in place, completing the temple.
The Boston Massachusetts Temple is large relative to most other LDS temples with a total of 69,600 square feet (6,470 m2), four ordinance rooms, and four sealing rooms. The exterior is finished with olympia white granite.Brian Deese
Brian Christopher Deese (born February 17, 1978) was a senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama. Earlier in the Obama Administration, Deese served as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and was the acting director of the office in the summer of 2014. Deese also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council. Brian is now the Global Head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock.Christoph Wolff
Christoph Wolff (born May 24, 1940) is a German-born musicologist. He is best known for his works on the music, life, and period of Johann Sebastian Bach. Christoph Wolff has been on the faculty of Harvard University since 1976, and director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig since 2001.
He was born in Solingen, the son of theologian Hans Walter Wolff. He studied organ and historical keyboard instruments, musicology, and art history at the Universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and the Music Academy of Freiburg, receiving a performance diploma in 1963 and a PhD in 1966. Wolff taught music history at Erlangen, Toronto, Princeton, and Columbia Universities before joining the Harvard faculty in 1976 as Professor of Music. Currently, he is the Adams University Professor there.
His books include Bach: Essays on His Life and Music (Cambridge, 1991), Mozart's Requiem (Berkeley, 1994), The New Bach Reader (New York, 1998), and Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. (New York, 2000). In 2013, his Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. Wolff was interviewed about Bach's The Art of Fugue in the documentary film Desert Fugue.
He was awarded the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in 2006.Clay Pit Pond
Clay Pit Pond, also known as Claypit Pond, is a pond in the Boston suburb of Belmont in Middlesex County, Massachusetts situated between Concord Avenue and Belmont High School. It is a man-made pond, excavated as the source of clay for industrial brick-making on the site from 1888 to 1926. The Pond was formed in 1933 when the Wellington Brook was redirected to flood the site, making it an essential part of the drainage system for much of Belmont.
The Parry Brothers first opened a brickyard in the vicinity of the current Pond in 1888. In 1900, nearly all brick making operations in Middlesex County were merged into the New England Brick Company, which acquired the site and increased production to 15 million bricks per year with a work force of 75. By 1926 the highest quality clay was exhausted and the site was abandoned, reportedly leaving behind an 1884 Marion steam shovel at the bottom of the pit.
The Town of Belmont purchased the abandoned pit in 1927 for $22,500 to use as a waste dump site. However in 1933, the Town diverted the Wellington Brook through a culvert to flood the site with 80 million gallons of water, creating the Clay Pit Pond.In March 2010, the pond overflowed onto the road after two days of rain, closing down the adjacent high school.On May 16th, 2019, Belmont High School senior, Merrill Barnes, swam across Clay Pit Pond after jumping out the 2nd floor window as part of the class of 2019's senior prank.Fred Lawrence Whipple
Fred Lawrence Whipple (November 5, 1906 – August 30, 2004) was an American astronomer, who worked at the Harvard College Observatory for over 70 years. Amongst his achievements, asteroid and comet discovery, had come up with the "dirty snowball" cometary hypothesis, and invented the Whipple shield.Jean Rogers
Jean Rogers (born Eleanor Dorothy Lovegren, March 25, 1916 – February 24, 1991) was an American actress who starred in serial films in the 1930s and low–budget feature films in the 1940s as a leading lady. She is best remembered for playing Dale Arden in the science fiction serials Flash Gordon (1936) and Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938).John M. Deutch
John Mark Deutch (born July 27, 1938) is an American physical chemist and civil servant. He was the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1995 and Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from May 10, 1995 until December 15, 1996. He is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serves on the boards of directors of Citigroup, Cummins, Raytheon, and Schlumberger Ltd. Deutch is also a member of the Trilateral Commission.Leslie Valiant
Leslie Gabriel Valiant (born 28 March 1949) is a British computer scientist and computational theorist. He is currently the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University.McLean Hospital
McLean Hospital () (formerly known as Somerville Asylum and Charlestown Asylum) is a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. It is noted for its clinical staff expertise and neuroscience research, and is also known for the large number of famous people who have been treated there. McLean maintains the world's largest neuroscientific and psychiatric research program in a private hospital. It is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, and owned by Partners HealthCare, which also owns Brigham and Women's Hospital.Patrick Rissmiller
Patrick Rissmiller (born October 26, 1978 in Belmont, Massachusetts) is an American former professional ice hockey winger who played in the National Hockey League for the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers, and the Florida Panthers. He is currently a development coach for the New Jersey Devils.Paul Mara
Paul Richard Mara (born September 7, 1979 born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and raised in Belmont, Massachusetts) is an American former professional ice hockey defenseman who played 12 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected 7th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
His older brother, Rob Mara, was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in eleventh round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.Paul was the assistant coach of the 2018 Olympic United States women's national ice hockey team. In May 2018, he was named the head coach of the Boston Pride in the National Women's Hockey League.Redtop (Belmont, Massachusetts)
Redtop – also spelled Red Top – is a historic Shingle Style house located at 90 Somerset Street, Belmont, Massachusetts. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971 for its association with writer and literary critic William Dean Howells (1837–1920), a leading proponent of realism in literature. The Shingle Style house was designed by Howells' brother-in-law William Rutherford Mead, and served as the Howells' residence from its construction in 1877 to 1882.Thomas Vose Daily
Thomas Vose Daily (September 23, 1927 – May 14, 2017) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn from 1990 to 2003.Tom Bergeron
Thomas "Tom" Bergeron (born May 6, 1955) is an American television personality, comedian, and game show host. He is known as the host of America's Funniest Home Videos (2001–2015) and Dancing with the Stars (2005–present).Waverley station (MBTA)
Waverley is an MBTA Commuter Rail station in Belmont, Massachusetts. It serves the Fitchburg Line. It is located below grade in Waverley Square in the triangle of Trapelo Road, Lexington Street, and Church Street in western Belmont.Wilbur Wood
Wilbur Forrester Wood, Jr. (born October 22, 1941) is an American former professional baseball player. He was a pitcher in Major League Baseball for seventeen years, most notably with the Chicago White Sox where he earned 163 of his 164 wins. A knuckleball specialist, he threw left-handed, and batted right-handed.
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
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