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Belmont At A Glance

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

A Boston suburb, Belmont is located just 8 miles to the northwest and on the western border of Cambridge. A farm town in early years, modern forms of transportation brought people in to live and made it easier to travel to Boston for work. Still primarily a residential area of nearly 25,000 people, Belmont went from farming to greenhouse production. See what makes Belmont tick today.

Brief History

Home to American Indian tribes and first settled by Europeans in the mid-1600s, Belmont incorporated as a town in 1859 comprised of land from neighboring areas, most notably the donated 200-acre estate of town advocate and China trader John Perkins Cushing. Trolley service began in the early 1900s bringing residents to the area. The 1920s was the era of mansion building and the start of the Belmont as a suburban residential town. A farming and livestock community in the beginning gave way to flower and produce greenhouses in the mid-1900s until the 1980s, all supplying nearby Boston. Modern modes of transportation made Belmont the commuter-residential town it is today, with little change in over 60 years.


Called "The Town of Homes," Belmont is known for the mansions in the Belmont Hills neighborhood. Not all areas are like this one. The remaining neighborhoods are built in lower in heights with homes packed tightly together. Belmont Center where Town Hall and civic structures are located, Cushing Square and Waverley Square are the commercial centers. Rock Meadow consists of large areas of land from past farms and greenhouses, as do other areas.

Getting Around

Belmont has plenty of transportation to travel locally or out of the area. There is Fitchburg Commuter Rail line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and MBTA bus lines 62, 62/76, 67, 72/75, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 84 and 554. Massachusetts Route 2 is at the northern part of town and Pleasant Street turns into Route 60 in the center of town. Interstate 95/Massachusetts Route 128 and state Routes 3, 16 and 20 are close.


Belmont has public and private schools from elementary through high school. U.S. News and World Report listed Belmont High School 100 of the best non-private high schools in the U.S. and the second best in the state. McLean Hospital in Belmont is the largest psychiatric teaching hospital and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Residents Of Note

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and family lived in Belmont. Many Nobel Prize winners, such as Franco Modigliani (Economics), are associated with Belmont as it's close to Cambridge where Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are located. Musicians Yo Yo Ma, Joan Baez and James Taylor, along with numerous authors, media personalities and sports players were also residents.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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