Wellesley, Massachusetts facts for kids

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Wellesley, Massachusetts
Town
Wellesley Square
Wellesley Square
Official seal of Wellesley, Massachusetts
Seal
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1881
Area
 • Total 10.49 sq mi (27.2 km2)
 • Land 10.18 sq mi (26.4 km2)
 • Water 0.31 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 141 ft (43 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 27,982
 • Density 2,667.5/sq mi (1,029.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02481, 02482, 02457
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-74175
GNIS feature ID 0618332
Website www.wellesleyma.gov

Wellesley /ˈwɛlzl/ is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of Greater Boston. The population was 27,982 at the time of the 2010 census. It has one of the highest median household and family incomes in Massachusetts. It is best known as the home of Wellesley College, Babson College, and a campus of Massachusetts Bay Community College.

History

Wellesley was settled in the 1630s as part of Dedham, Massachusetts. It was subsequently a part of Needham, Massachusetts called West Needham, Massachusetts. On October 23, 1880, West Needham residents voted to secede from Needham, and the town of Wellesley was later christened by the Massachusetts legislature on April 6, 1881. The town was named after the estate of local benefactor Horatio Hollis Hunnewell.

Wellesley's population grew by over 80 percent during the 1920s.

Historic district

The town designated Cottage Street and its nearby alleys as the historic district in its zoning plan. Most houses in this district were built around the 1860s and qualify as protected buildings certified by the town's historic commission.

Geography

Wellesley is located in eastern Massachusetts. It is bordered on the east by Newton, on the north by Weston, on the south by Needham and Dover and on the west by Natick. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.49 square miles (27.2 km2), of which, 10.18 square miles (26.4 km2) is land and 0.32 square miles (0.83 km2) is water.

Neighborhoods

  • Wellesley Farms
  • Wellesley Fells
  • Wellesley Hills (02481)
  • Wellesley Lower Falls
  • Wellesley Square (02482)
  • Poets' Corner
  • Babson Park (02457)
  • Overbrook
  • Sheridan Hills

Recent construction

The town's historic 19th century inn was demolished to make way for condominiums and mixed-use development in 2006. The Wellesley Country Club clubhouse, which is the building where the town was founded, was demolished in 2008, and a new clubhouse was built. The town's pre-World War II high school building was torn down & replaced, with a brand new high school finished in 2012. The entire 1960s-style Linden Street strip-mall has been replaced by "Linden Square" – a shopping district that includes a flagship Roche Bros. supermarket, restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, along with a mixture of national chains and local shops.

Demographics

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

The Census Bureau has also defined the town as a census-designated place with an area exactly equivalent to the town.

As of the census of 2000, there were 26,613 people, 8,594 households, and 6,540 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,614.1 people per square mile (1,009.4/km²). There were 8,861 housing units at an average density of 870.4 per square mile (336.1/km²). According to a 2007 Census Bureau estimate, the racial makeup of the town was 84.6% White, 10.0% Asian, 2.2% Black, 0.01% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.

There were 8,594 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.2% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 13.9% from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 77.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.1 males.

The median income for a household was $159,167, and the median income for a family was $186,518. The per capita income in the town was $72,046. About 2.4% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1890 3,600 —    
1900 5,072 +40.9%
1910 5,413 +6.7%
1920 6,224 +15.0%
1930 11,439 +83.8%
1940 15,127 +32.2%
1950 20,549 +35.8%
1960 26,071 +26.9%
1970 28,051 +7.6%
1980 27,209 −3.0%
1990 26,615 −2.2%
2000 26,613 −0.0%
2010 27,982 +5.1%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

According to Boston Magazine's yearly "Best Places To Live", Wellesley ranks first in the United States in percentage of adults who hold at least one college degree. In 2009, Wellesley ranked #2 in "America's Most Educated Small Towns" according to Forbes.com.

Transportation

Wellesley Hills station
Commuter Rail train at Wellesley Hills

Wellesley has had rail service to Boston since 1833. These days rail service is provided through Wellesley's participation in the MBTA, which offers a total of 17 weekday Commuter Rail trains inbound towards Boston & outbound towards Framingham & Worcester. Wellesley's stations are (east to west) Wellesley Farms, Wellesley Hills, and Wellesley Square. The Wellesley Farms station is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. MWRTA bus service also runs along Walnut Street, Cedar Street, and Route 9.

The highways Interstate 95 in Massachusetts/Massachusetts Route 128, Massachusetts Route 9, Massachusetts route 16 and Massachusetts route 135 run through Wellesley.

For elders and people with disabilities there is a specific MBTA-based service, The Ride, which offers free or low-cost door-to-door service by appointment.

From nearby Riverside MBTA Station in Newton, commuter express buses run to downtown Boston, Newton Corner and Central Square, Waltham. This is also a station for Greyhound Lines and Peter Pan Bus Lines with frequent service to Boston, New York City, and other destinations.

Wellesley's Council on Aging contracts out a daily low-cost minibus service offering elderly access to several local medical facilities and the Woodland MBTA station. Further afield is the Springwell Senior Medical Escort Program / Busy Bee Transportation Service for rides to medical & non-medical services in the area. There is also a monthly minibus to the Natick Mall.

For Amtrak service the nearest stations are west in Framingham, east in Boston at Back Bay and South Station, and south in Route 128 Station in Westwood.

Those affiliated with Wellesley College can take advantage of their bus services to Cambridge & Needham. Wellesley College & Babson College also both offer discounted Zipcar service.

The nearest international airport is Boston Logan Airport at 18 miles from Wellesley.

Sustainability

Green Power Community

In February 2009 Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant introduced the Voluntary Renewable Energy POWER TO CHOOSE program to improve home efficiency and offer a variety of options for the community to lower energy consumption. As a result, many residents, businesses, and the three colleges voluntarily pay a premium to purchase electricity generated by wind power.

In 2014 Wellesley ranked third in the nation for customer participation after Portland, OR and Sacramento, CA.

In 2012 Wellesley was designated a Green Power Community by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the only Green Power Community in Massachusetts and second in all of New England.

Also in 2012 the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant was the only green power supplier nationwide to receive the Innovative Green Power Program of the Year Award.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

In 2009 the Town established the Municipal Energy Efficiency Committee (MEEC) made up of representatives from various Town departments, to develop and evaluate municipal policies to reduce energy use.

In 2010 Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC) was formed by Town Meeting. The Committee’s primary objective was a 10% Town-wide reduction in Wellesley’s carbon footprint; and 20% reduction in carbon footprint for all municipal departments by the end of 2013. In 2014 Town Meeting voted to support a new goal of 25% reduction by 2020 using 2007 as the base year.

The Committee is responsible for Wellesley’s adoption of the Massachusetts Stretch Building Code approved by Town Meeting effective January 2012.

In 2013 the Committee organized Wellesley’s Green Collaborative, a group of organizations that are concerned about environmental issues in Wellesley and beyond. Dozens of like-minded organizations are represented including Wellesley Conservation Council, a private, non-profit, land trust and conservation education organization incorporated in 1958, and Sustainable Wellesley, a group of volunteers who encourage sustainability in Wellesley and the surrounding area through events, education and action.

In 2014 the Sustainable Energy Committee served to double participation in the Town’s Voluntary Renewable Energy POWER TO CHOOSE program and organized the More POWER TO CHOOSE Solar Program.

Natural Resources Protection

Wellesley is the longest running Tree City USA community of any city or town in Massachusetts.

Effective July 1, 2011 Town Meeting passed Wellesley’s Tree Bylaw that requires property owners to protect certain trees and critical root zones during construction projects, and replace trees that are cut down or donate money to a special tree fund.

The Town's Natural Resource Protection (NRP) Development bylaw, approved by Town Meeting in 2013 applies to any subdivision generating 5 or more lots. This bylaw requires a minimum of 50% of the property be preserved as open space in exchange for reduced lot sizes without increasing density.

Established in 1979, Wellesley has a unique elected Natural Resources Commission (NRC) bearing the statutory authority and responsibility of Park Commissions, Conservation Commissions, Tree Wardens, Town Forest Committees, and Forestry and Pest Control Officers. The Commission maintains Wellesley’s two Community Gardens and maintains a trail network that includes 26 miles of marked trails interconnecting open spaces and conservation lands for walking, dog walking, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing and more.

In 2001 the Commission in collaboration with the Health, Public Works and School Departments developed a Pesticide Awareness Campaign resulting in an Organic Pest Management Policy governing pesticide use on all town-owned property.

In 2003 the Commission created the Preservation Master Plan for Fuller Brook Park in collaboration with Wellesley’s Department of Public Works. This major restoration project will be completed in 2016.

In 2009 the Commission launched the Green Wellesley Campaign advocating for sustainability by raising awareness and promoting increased environmental action.

Green Schools

Wellesley Green Schools was established in 2006. Their No Idling Campaign received an Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award from the state of Massachusetts in 2014.

The Town’s new high school opened in February 2012 and includes such elements as green vegetated roof, geothermal heating and cooling, solar photovoltaic panel, and rainwater recovery systems.

Waste Management

In 2015 the Wellesley 3R (Reduce/Reuse/Recycle) Working Group was formed to consider possible initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste in Wellesley. The initiative is a joint-effort of the Department of Public Works, Natural Resources Commission and Sustainable Energy Committee.

Culture

Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend

Each year the weekend before Memorial Day, The Town of Wellesley sponsors the annual Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend which includes the annual Veterans' Parade and Fireworks. The fireworks display is one of the most elaborate and spectacular shows that is done by local or town government in the United States. It is put on by Atlas Fireworks of Jaffrey, New Hampshire who also put on the Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks. On Sunday, May 18, 2008, The Beach Boys performed in a concert on the Wellesley High School athletic fields in front of an estimated 10,000 town residents and fans. The funds for the performance, an estimated 250 thousand dollars, were made as a gift by an anonymous donor and lifelong fan of the band.

The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra

The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra presents classical, pops, and family concerts at Mass Bay Community College at its Wellesley Campus.

Religious institutions

The town of Wellesley is home to several religious institutions. There is one temple, Temple Beth Elohim, and several churches: Wellesley Congregational Church, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, St. Paul's Catholic Church, Christ Church United Methodist, Wellesley Hills Congregational Church (also known as The Hills Church), First Church of Christ-Scientist, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, The Metrowest Baptist Church, Elmwood Chapel, and Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills Wellesley Friends Meeting (Quakers).

Horticulture

The Wellesley College campus includes greenhouses and the H. H. Hunnewell Arboretum. This is not to be confused with the neighboring private H. H. Hunnewell estate. The Elm Bank Horticulture Center is home to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Although the entrance is in Wellesley, access is over a small private bridge over the Charles River, so Elm Bank is therefore in the neighboring town of Dover.

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