Belmont, Massachusetts

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Belmont, Massachusetts
Town
Looking north on Leonard Street in the town center
Looking north on Leonard Street in the town center
Official seal of Belmont, Massachusetts
Seal
Motto: "The Town Of Homes"[1]
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°23′45″N 71°10′45″W / 42.39583°N 71.17917°W / 42.39583; -71.17917Coordinates: 42°23′45″N 71°10′45″W / 42.39583°N 71.17917°W / 42.39583; -71.17917
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1636
Incorporated 1859
Government
 • Type Representative town meeting
Area
 • 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)
Population (2010)
 • Total 24,729
 • Density 5,300/sq mi (2,000/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02478
Area code(s) 617 / 857
FIPS code 25-05070
GNIS feature ID 0618216
Website www.town.belmont.ma.us

Belmont is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. It is part of the Boston metropolitan area. Its population was 24,729 at the 2010 census.[2]

History[edit]

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[3] in a dispute over a slaughterhouse licensed in 1878[4] 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.[5]

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.[citation needed] 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 John Birch Society from the organization's founding in 1958 until its relocation to 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.[citation needed]

Present day[edit]

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.

The town is home to McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital and research center, and the Boston Massachusetts Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Geography[edit]

Topography of Belmont and environs

Belmont is located at 42°23′30″N 71°10′30″W / 42.39167°N 71.17500°W / 42.39167; -71.17500 (42.391546, -71.174712).[6]

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.

Belmont is bordered by Cambridge on the east, Arlington on the north, Lexington on the northwest, Waltham on the west, and Watertown on the south.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1860 1,198 —    
1870 1,513 +26.3%
1880 1,615 +6.7%
1890 2,098 +29.9%
1900 3,929 +87.3%
1910 5,542 +41.1%
1920 10,749 +94.0%
1930 21,748 +102.3%
1940 26,867 +23.5%
1950 27,381 +1.9%
1960 28,715 +4.9%
1970 28,285 −1.5%
1980 26,100 −7.7%
1990 24,720 −5.3%
2000 24,194 −2.1%
2010 24,729 +2.2%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

As of the census[16] 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.[17]

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.

Education[edit]

Belmont is served by the Belmont Public Schools, governed by an independently elected school committee.[18]

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, US News and World Reports 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.

Government[edit]

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.

The legislative branch is a representative town meeting, with eight districts each electing 36 representatives, plus ex-officio members and a Town Moderator to run the annual meeting.[18]

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).

Transportation[edit]

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:

These MBTA bus routes have stops in Belmont along the Route 2 corridor (eastbound):

Two rail stations—Waverley and Belmont Center on the MBTA Commuter Rail—are located in the town. Belmont is roughly sixteen minutes away from the rail line's terminus at North Station, Boston.

Nearby in Cambridge lies Alewife Station, the western terminus of the Red Line; providing a connection to Boston and the entire metropolitan rapid transit system.

Railroad history[edit]

Boston & Maine Railroad Station at Belmont Center, now used for the MBTA Commuter Rail.

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).[19] 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.

Wellington Hill Station

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.

Environment[edit]

In 2002, Middlesex County was ranked in the worst 10% of polluted counties in the United States in terms of air and water pollution.[20] 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.[citation needed]

In 2004, the town of Belmont first hosted an annual community environmental fair to encourage environmentally friendly behavior for its residents.[21]

Notable residents[edit]

Belmont Town Hall circa 1913, architects Hartwell and Richardson
Belmont Town Hall (2007)

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.[22] Well-known past and present residents include:

Business[edit]

Politics and government[edit]

Arts and music[edit]

Media[edit]

Sports[edit]

Literature[edit]

Academics[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

Local media[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Belmont Massachusetts". Belmont Massachusetts. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ (17)
  4. ^ Belmont Historic District Commission, Belmont, Massachusetts: The Architecture and Development of The Town of Homes, 1984
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "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. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "Belmont CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b http://town.belmont.ma.us/Public_Documents/BelmontMA_WebDocs/govt
  19. ^ The Rail Lines of Southern New England - Ronald Dale Karr 1995
  20. ^ Who is Polluting?
  21. ^ http://www.town.belmont.ma.us/Public_Documents/F0001046A/townlinks/envfair.
  22. ^ http://belmont.patch.com/articles/belmont-famous-nobel-prize-winner-next-door
  23. ^ 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"". Belmont Patch (AOL Inc.). Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  24. ^ Return to Sender: Did Shiva Ayyadurai Invent Email?, Boston Magazine, June 2012 - accessed October 17, 2013
  25. ^ Corruption, Lies, and Death Threats: The Crazy Story of the Man Who Pretended to Invent Email, Gizmodo, March 5, 2012 - accessed October 18, 2013
  26. ^ The Man Who Invented Email, TIME Techland, November 15, 2011 - accessed January 21, 2012
  27. ^ Software Design Development and Implementation of a High-Reliability Network-Wide Electronic Mail System, Shiva Ayyadurai 1981 - accessed January 21, 2012
  28. ^ Jay O. Light Harvard Business School

Further reading[edit]

  • Somerville, Arlington and Belmont Directory. 1869; 1873; 1876.

External links[edit]