The Belmont Historical Society was formed in 1930 under the leadership of Jay Benton, a member of a prominent Belmont family. The society became dormant in 1934 and was formally disbanded in 1954. In late 1964 a group of Belmont residents with deep roots in the community and a strong interest in preserving Belmont’s history and culture formed a committee to reestablish and revitalize the society. The revived Belmont Historical Society was formally established on April 28, 1965 with John Weeks as its first president.
By the end of that year, the society had over 200 members. When the new Belmont Public Library was formally opened in October 1965, members of the society welcomed visitors to the new Belmont Room (now the Claflin Room) that housed the society’s collection of artifacts, memorabilia, pictures, and documents related to Belmont’s past.
The Belmont Historical Society is now in its 48th year of continuous operation. In the spring of 2012 the society updated its mission statement to provide a concise description of its focus:
“The mission of the Belmont Historical Society is to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the history, residents, contributions, and structure of the town of Belmont, Massachusetts. The Society acquires, organizes, and preserves a collection of materials relevant to this mission. The Society makes its collection accessible to the public while protecting the materials that have been entrusted to it and preventing their improper or unauthorized use.”
The society has approximately 275 members, 20 percent of whom now live outside of Belmont. We have a variety of activities each year that are open to the public, and we always welcome new members.