Welcome to the
Belmont Historical Society

As the “stay at home” conditions continue, we hope that all is well with you and your families.

Several members of the Belmont Historical Society suggested that we join other organizations to reach out to those in our local community to ask them to document current events. A record of how the corona virus affects everyday life in relation to our families, homes, and lifestyles will be an invaluable first-hand account for future generations. Similar efforts in other towns have included encouraging collecting photographs, home videos, short written accounts, and other creative ways to capture our new circumstances.

Send your submissions to us by email, belmonthistory1859@nullgmail.comor US Mail, Belmont Historical Society, PO Box 125, Belmont, MA 02478

1918 Flu Pandemic

Many of us are interested in how the flu pandemic of 1918 affected Belmont, or wherever we live now. In 2018 by Mary Daly gave a lecture Pale Rider, Pale Horse about how that affected Waltham. These are her slides, with detailed notes for each.

Thanks to our friends at the Waltham Historical Society for dropping us a note about this!

Programs on Hold

Because of the covid-19 outbreak, our next 2 programs have been postponed. We will reschedule them when the opportunity arrises.

The Life of Judge John J Burns, presented by Christian Dupont, Librarian of the Burns Library (special collections, including Irish and Irish American) at Boston College. Burns, BC class of 1921, was the youngest justice appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court and served as the first counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission, under FDR. (originally scheduled for Mar 24)

The History of Beaver Brook Reservation, presented by Marie Daly (origionally scheduled for Apr 5).

From September through May of each year the Society offers a season of programs and lectures that highlight the unique history of this community and its residents. In addition to monthly events which are free and open to the public, members of the Society staff the Claflin Room in the Belmont Memorial Library where they maintain their archival collection of all things related to Belmont. The room is open to the public four days a week when volunteers are on hand to answer questions and to share their knowledge of the town from its agricultural beginnings to today’s modern suburb. During a visit there you can enjoy displays of interesting artifacts, browse through Belmont High School Yearbooks, purchase a variety of Belmont-themed products, check out recent additions to the collection, or do your own independent research! The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter, provides an annual High School Scholarship, recognizes the preservation of historic buildings and open spaces, and actively encourages residents to apply to obtain a Historic House Plaque for qualifying homes. For more information on how you can become involved, please contact us at belmonthistory1859@nullgmail.com.

Programs  Please check our Coming Events page for information about our future programs. In the meantime, you may watch on-demand streaming videos of many of our recent programs through the courtesy of the Belmont Media Center — the links are on the Recent Events page.

Sample of a Belmont Historic Plaque which can now be obtained for any qualifying house in Belmont.

Historic House Plaque Program  The Belmont Historical Society operates a Historic House Plaque Program that offers attractive exterior wooden plaques that can be used to identify historically interesting properties that are are least 50 years old. This program imposes no restrictions on the properties or special requirements on the homeowners. We are actively soliciting applications from property owners who would like to identify their properties as historically interesting and significant. Applications may be submitted at any time. Click here for further information about the program, a list of previous recipients, resources for tracing the history of your property, and the application form for a plaque.

Preservation Awards  The Belmont Historical Society presents an award (the Belmont Historical Society David R. Johnson Preservation Award, named after a long-time member and officer of the Society) to individuals or organizations that have made a notable contribution to preserving structures or land in the town. Each year the Society invites community members to nominate projects or individuals for this award. Five awards were made for 2018 at the Society’s annual meeting on May 16th. You may click here to see a list of previous recipients plus information about the range of activities eligible for the award. Nominations for the 2019 awards will be accepted beginning early in 2019.

The March 2018 newsletter covered our home – the history of the Belmont Library

Newsletter  The June 2018 issue of our quarterly newsletter was mailed to all members of the Society.  If you did not receive the latest latest issue (which is one of the benefits of Belmont Historical Society membership), you are invited to review the current and past issues in the Claflin Room (see sidebar). Of course, we always welcome new members and invite you to take an active role in the Society’s activities.  To learn more and to download an application form, click on Membership.

The new Belmont pillow is available for purchase

Belmont Pillow  The Belmont Historical Society  offers for sale a decorative pillow with the Belmont town seal. This pillow measures 18 inches by 18 inches and would fit nicely on a sofa or a chair. The figure on the town seal is Pomona, the Roman goddess of  fruit trees, gardens, and orchards — a very appropriate symbol for Belmont which was a farming and market garden community throughout much of its history. The town officially adopted this seal in 1882. If you are interested in the pillow or a Belmont book, email us at BelmontHistory1859@nullgmail.com or call us at 617-993-2868.

The Claflin Room holds the Society’s collection of artifacts and documents linked to Belmont’s history

Elementary School Visit  Each year second graders from the Roger Wellington School make their annual fall visit to the Claflin Room in the Belmont Memorial Library. That space serves as the headquarters of the Belmont Historical Society and is staffed by volunteers from the organization who are on hand to share the unique history of the town with the eager students, dedicated teachers, and parent chaperones. The field trip is coordinated to coincide with the unit the students are taught about early Belmont, and according to the teachers the students look forward to the visit to the Claflin Room as a chance to step outside the classroom and  connect with local history firsthand. During the visit the group is treated to a fast-paced and fact-filled presentation that answers questions such as how did the town get its name? what is the oldest business? and who are some of the founding families? During the 45 minutes the children are encouraged to participate and are given time to view some of the interesting items from the Historical Society’s archival collection. This year’s visit took place on November 2nd. Click here to see some of the items that the students last year found particularly interesting, and click here to read some of the reports that they sent back after their visit. You may also click here to see an expanded description of the topics and items covered during these student visits in previous years.

The new roof has been installed on the historic Wellington Station

Restoration of Historic Wellington Station  The photograph at the top of this web page shows the historic Wellington Station, originally built as a private school building in the 1840’s and then used as the Belmont station for the Fitchburg Railroad from 1852 until 1879. Today the Wellington Station is owned and maintained by the Belmont Historical Society and sits just outside the town center at the intersection of Concord Avenue and Common Street. In the fall of 2014 the Society submitted an application for 2015 Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to replace the deteriorating wood shingle roof on this iconic Belmont landmark. On May 6, 2015 the Belmont Town Meeting members approved our request of $26,300 for this much-needed restoration work to be completed in 2017. In October 2016 the Society’s Board approved additional funding to cover the repair of the deteriorated wooden porch surrounding the station and painting the posts and exterior trim of the building. The major task of replacing the badly deteriorating roof has been completed, and you may see a slideshow of the work in progress. Final restoration and repair of the exterior trim will be completed during 2018.  Click here to learn more about this important piece of Belmont history and the CPA process.

NOTE: Our website is in transition and we will update it and add content as quickly as possible, so visit us again soon.  If you have any questions about the Belmont Historical Society, email us at BelmontHistory1859@nullgmail.com.