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Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley Town Hall
Wellesley Town Hall
Yellow, green and white seal with "WELLESLEY" and "APRIL 4, 1881" in black
Location of Wellesley in Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Location of Wellesley in Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts is located in Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Location in Massachusetts
Country  United States
State  Massachusetts
County Norfolk
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1881
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Total 10.49 sq mi (27.2 km2)
 • Land 10.18 sq mi (26.4 km2)
 • Water 0.31 sq mi (0.8 km2)
141 ft (43 m)
 • Total 29,550
 • Density 2,902.75/sq mi (1,120.76/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
02481, 02482, 02457
Area code(s) 339/781
FIPS code 25-74175
GNIS feature ID 0618332

Wellesley is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Wellesley is part of Greater Boston. The population was 29,550 at the time of the 2020 census. Wellesley College, Babson College, and a campus of Massachusetts Bay Community College are located in Wellesley.


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.


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.


  • 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.


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%
2020 29,550 +5.6%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

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.


Wellesley Hills station
Commuter Rail train at Wellesley Hills

Wellesley has had rail service to Boston since 1833. Rail service is currently provided through Wellesley's participation in the MBTA, which offers a total of 17 weekdays Commuter Rail trains inbound towards Boston and outbound towards Framingham and 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/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 and Needham. Wellesley College and Babson College also both offer discounted Zipcar service.

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


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.


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).


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.


Wellesley is home to the headquarters of many local, national and global businesses including Benchmark Senior Living, Blank Label Apparel, Eagle Investment Systems, EPG Incorporated, GrandBanks Capital, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Livingston and Haynes PC, Roche Bros., and Sun Life Financial U.S.

Top employers

According to Wellesley's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Wellesley College 1,103
2 Sun Life Financial 1,035
3 Babson College 800
4 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care 446
5 Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates 350
6 Massachusetts Bay Community College 295
7 Whole Foods Market 292
8 Wellesley Country Club 265
9 Roche Bros. 260
10 Dana Hall School 214


Wellesley College Tower Court
Residence halls at Wellesley College

The following year, 1967 the high school's accreditation was placed on warning status by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Public Secondary Schools. Wellesley High gained national attention in 2012 when English teacher David McCullough Jr. (son of noted author and historian David McCullough) delivered a widely read and viewed commencement address dubbed "You're Not Special", in which he urged graduates not to take things for granted.

On the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test, the district regularly scores higher than the state average. The school system also contains a middle school and seven elementary schools (Bates, Upham, Schofield, Fiske, Hardy, Hunnewell, and Sprague).

The town contains a private elementary school, Tenacre Country Day School, one private Catholic elementary school (St. John the Evangelist) and a preparatory school for girls, Dana Hall School. Also, the Wellesley A Better Chance outfit started in the early 1970s brings promising young women from underserved areas into town to attend Wellesley High School and live nearby.

Wellesley also contains the main campus of three colleges: Wellesley College, a women's liberal arts college, Massachusetts Bay Community College, a two-year public college, and Babson, a business college.

Notable people

Nate Freiman on August 23, 2013
Nate Freiman
  • Danny Ainge, executive director of basketball operations and general manager of the Boston Celtics
  • Ray Allen, former player for the Boston Celtics
  • Emily Greene Balch, Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • Roger Nash Baldwin, co-founder of American Civil Liberties Union
  • Arthur Batcheller, U.S. radio inspector
  • Katharine Lee Bates, author of America the Beautiful
  • Gamaliel Bradford, poet, biographer
  • Dee Brown, former basketball player for the Boston Celtics
  • Laurence E. Bunker, United States Army colonel, aide to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, leader within the John Birch Society
  • R. Nicholas Burns, former U.S. Under Secretary of State, Ambassador to NATO and to Greece, and State Department spokesman
  • Karl E. Case, developer of the Case–Shiller index
  • Dan Chiasson, poet and New Yorker critic
  • Katharine Coman, historian, professor of economics and sociology, author
  • Greg Comella, former professional football player with the New York Giants, Titans, Texans and Buccaneers
  • Jane Curtin, comedian, original cast member of Saturday Night Live
  • Richard Darman, economist, former head of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Erik Davis (baseball), former pitcher for the Washington Nationals
  • Blake Dietrick, WNBA basketball player with the Seattle Storm and former standout with the Princeton Tigers
  • Dennis Eckersley, former pitcher for the Oakland A's
  • Carl Everett, former center fielder for the Boston Red Sox
  • Nicole Freedman (born 1972), Olympic cyclist
  • Nate Freiman (born 1986), first baseman for the Oakland Athletics
  • Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr., U.S. District Court judge
  • Curt Gowdy, sports commentator
  • Michael S. Greco, President of American, Massachusetts & New England bar associations
  • Gordon Hayward, small forward for the Boston Celtics
  • H. H. Hunnewell (1810-1902), railroad financier and horticulturist
  • Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon Products
  • Phil Laak, professional poker player, winner of 2004 World Poker Tour
  • Christopher Leggett, film producer
  • Xihong Lin, Department of Biostatistics chair at the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Gregory Mankiw, Harvard economics professor
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
  • Fred McLafferty, professor, analytical chemist, author, inventor, leading developer of mass spectrometry
  • Drew Meekins, figure skater
  • Ossian Everett Mills, founder of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity
  • Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America
  • Bill Mueller, former third baseman for the Boston Red Sox
  • Joseph E. Murray, surgeon, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1990
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American author
  • Joe Nash, retired NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks
  • Sylvia Plath, poet and author, The Bell Jar
  • Richard Preston and Douglas Preston, best-selling authors
  • Aneesh Raman, former presidential speechwriter at the White House and CNN Middle East Correspondent
  • Edward Thomas Ryan, president, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; professor, Harvard University
  • James St. Clair, defense lawyer for Richard Nixon during Watergate
  • Jack Sanford, former MLB pitcher, 1957 MLB Rookie of the Year Award recipient
  • Billy Squier, rock musician
  • Brad Stevens, head coach of the Boston Celtics
  • Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder
  • Steven Tyler, rock musician, lived in Wellesley during the late 1990s and early 2000s
  • Michael von Clemm, banker, anthropologist and founder of Canary Wharf
  • Rasheed Wallace, retired professional basketball player
  • Johnny Angel Wendell, radio host, author and musician
  • Greg Yaitanes, Emmy Award-winning film director, writer, actor
  • Eddie Yost, baseball player and coach
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