Welcome to the Belmont Historical Society’s website. Our mission is to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the history, residents, contributions, and structure of the town of Belmont, Massachusetts. Find out more about what we do and other information about the Society by clicking on What We Do.
Programs From September through May of each year (with a vacation in January) the Society presents a monthly program on a topic associated with the history of Belmont and surrounding communities. Our new programs will resume in February 2017. Visit our Coming Events page after the holidays for more information. You may also watch streaming videos of recent programs which are are provided through the courtesy of the Belmont Media Center — the links are on the Recent Events page.
Newsletter The latest issue of our quarterly newsletter (September 2016) has been mailed to all members of the Society. This newsletter is devoted to the life and work of Molly Luce (1896-1986), an American artist in the 20th century who lived and painted in Belmont for a 10-year period from the early 1930s until 1942. If you did not receive this 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 below). 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 Claflin Room The Belmont Historical Society’s collections are housed in the Claflin Room of the Belmont Public Library. The Claflin Room is normally open to the public and staffed by a Society volunteer on the following days:
Monday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Wednesday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
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 by a unanimous vote which will allow this much-needed restoration work to be completed in 2017. In October 2016 the Society’s Board approved funding to cover the repair of the deteriorated wooden porch surrounding the station and painting the posts and exterior trim of the building. That maintenance work has begun, and you may see a slideshow of the work in progress. Click here to learn more about this important piece of Belmont history and the CPA process.
Belmont Story Project The Belmont Story Project is a collaborative effort by the Belmont Media Center, Belmont Public Library, Belmont Citizen-Herald, Belmont Council on Aging, and the Belmont Historical Society to build an oral history of our community. This project gives residents the opportunity to preserve and share their stories and memories for current and future generations via recorded video interviews. You may see and hear the stories that have been collected to date by visiting https://soundcloud.com/belmont-story-project. To learn more about this project, visit http://belmontpubliclibrary.net/about/belmont-story-project/ If you would like to add your story and memories of Belmont to this growing collection by arranging for a recording session, call 617-993-2870 for recording in the Claflin Room at the library or 617-484-2443 for recording at the Belmont Media Center.
Belmont Historic Preservation Awards and Recognition Each year the Belmont Historical Society invites community members to nominate projects that have furthered preservation efforts in the town for the David R. Johnson Preservation Award. David Johnson was a former President of the Society, its long-time Treasurer, and an architect with a deep interest in historic preservation. Click here for further information and the award nomination form.
The Society also operates a Historic House Plaque Program which 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. The plaques are distributed at the Society’s meetings in December and May of each year. Click here for further information and the application form.
New Book About Belmont The new updated edition of The Streets of Belmont and How They Were Named was published in 2014 and is now available for purchase. This book traces the development of what is now Belmont from its beginnings as a rural sparsely populated farm community through its incorporation as a separate town in 1859 and its steady growth and transition into the “Town of Homes” that it is today. The original edition has long been out of print, but Town Historian Richard Betts has completed the revision which brings the story up to the second decade of the 21st century. On May 21, 1996 Dick Betts gave a presentation of the original version of The Streets of Belmont at a Society meeting. That presentation was videotaped, and the tape was recently digitized by the Belmont Media Center as part of its Belmont Community Moving Image Archive. You may now view that video here. Click on Publications to learn more about the new update of that book and download an order form to get your own copy.
Our website is a work in progress and we will continue to update it and add content, so visit us again soon. If you have any questions about the Belmont Historical Society or comments about this website, email us at BelmontHistory1859@nullgmail.com.