is a town in Norfolk County
, United States
. The population was 26,613 at the 2000 census. It is best known as the home of Wellesley College
and Babson College
. The Hunnewell Arboretum
abuts the Wellesley campus, and the Elm Bank Horticulture Center
is also located in Wellesley. The public education services of the town are well regarded, especially Wellesley High School
; in 2007 it was ranked 70th best public high school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
, earning a Gold Medal. Wellesley has the reputation of being one of the most affluent and prestigious suburbs of Boston
. 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. Over 66% of the households have at least one individual holding an advanced degree beyond a Bachelor's Degree.
Wellesley was originally part of Dedham, Massachusetts
, and was subsequently a part of Needham, Massachusetts
called West Needham, Massachusetts
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 Square is in the center of the town. Along Central Street and Church Street major chain stores, as well as privately-owned boutiques, have made a home for themselves in the main shopping hub of Wellesley. The shops at Church Square is home to the historic department store E.A. Davis and Co., as well as Potpurri Designs, J. McLaughlin, Crossing Main, Cachet, Triangle Shop, and The Gifted Hand. Central Street features more nation-wide chains, as well as restaurants, a book store, and coffee shops such as Starbucks
According to the Wellesley Townsman
, over 500 houses in Wellesley have been razed to make way for newer, larger dwellings in the last ten years. The town's historic 19th century inn was demolished to make way for an upscale mixed-use development, and the Wellesley Country Club clubhouse, which is the building where the town was founded, is scheduled to be demolished. The town's pre-World War II high school building is also considered to be demolished or altered in a potential renovation project, and the entire 1960s-style Linden Street strip-mall district has been replaced by "Linden Square" - an upscale lifestyle center that includes a flagship Roche Brothers supermarket, along with a mixture of national chains and local "mom & pop" shops.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the town has a total area of 10.5 square miles
), of which, 10.2 square miles (26.4 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (2.96%) is water.
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 on the west by Natick
The town is informally divided into several sections or neighborhoods:
- Wellesley Square
- Wellesley Hills
- Wellesley Farms
- Wellesley Falls
- Wellesley Lower Falls
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/sq mi (336.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.3% White, 6.40% Asian, 1.60% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.32% 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 in the town was $138,472, and the median income for a family was $134,769. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $53,007 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $52,866. 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.
The town government has been run by town meeting since the town's founding.
Wellesley also receives significant funding from the state government, despite its upper-middle-class demographics. Local roads have been repaved several times in the 1990s and 2000s.
Since Proposition 2½ limited property tax increases to 2.5% per year in 1980, the town has had to ask residents for a number of overrides to maintain funding for certain programs. Although the main 2005 override passed, a simultaneous supplemental override to preserve certain specific programs and services failed by 17 votes. The 2006 override passed with a large majority.
Wellesley opened its new Free Library building in 2003, which is part of the Minuteman Library Network. Due to the structure of budget override votes and perhaps the size of the new main branch of the library, the two branch libraries--one in Wellesley Hills, which was purpose-built to be a branch library in the 1920s, another in Wellesley Fells--closed in the summer of 2006. The branch libraries reopened in September, 2008.
Wellesley residents receive all major services from their town government, with the exception of residential trash pick-up.
Municipal light plant
Wellesley is serviced by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant
(WMLP). It is one of only a handful of municipal light plants in the state of Massachusetts
Recycling and disposal
Residents of Wellesley cart their own refuse to Wellesley’s Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF), a town-operated multi-use waste recycling site, where items are sorted by type, recyclability and potential reuse. Old books and magazines are available for town residents to take, which have their own shelving section.
The RDF also has a ‘Take it or Leave it’ area where residents leave items they no longer want but that are in good repair. In 2004, the Town had to discontinue the ‘Take it or Leave it’ because of funding cutbacks. However, within six months town residents reinstated it by means of a volunteer system. The section reopened with volunteers on duty at all times to organize the goods and ensure that only usable items were left there. It was rumored that one year someone found an Old Masters painting worth over $300,000. The program has received international press and is available for tours through Wellesley Town Hall.
Wellesley has a public school system. Wellesley Public Schools are normally among the top scorers for the state's Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
testing. The Wellesley Elementary Schools are Fiske, Upham, Sprague, Schofield, Hunnewell, Hardy and Bates. The Middle, and High schools are called Wellesley Middle School, and Wellesley High School. The Middle School has recently finished some major renovations of many hallways, the gyms, and many classrooms. The renovated rooms include some of the newer classroom technologies such as the SMARTboard. This is the principal and one of the assistant principal's first year in Wellesley.
Wellesley High School
maintains the longest running football game rivalry in the country with neighboring Needham High School
. The two teams meet annually on Thanksgiving. Wellesley currently leads the series with 58 wins, 52 losses, and 9 ties. Wellesley is also home to the half-way point of the Boston Marathon
. It is also home to the 2006 MIAA div.2 Lacrosse State Champions, which boasted a season with only one loss, to the perennial powerhouse Duxbury, who is in Div. 1. It is also home to the 2005-2006 MIAA div. 2 Girls Ice Hockey State Champions, who went undefeated with a regular season record of 15-0-3. Also it is home to the 2006 Massachusetts state sailing champions.
In addition to Wellesley College
, Wellesley is also home to the main campus of Massachusetts Bay Community College
, Babson College
, Olin College
, Dana Hall School
, a preparatory school for girls and Tenacre Country Day School
. While independent, Dana Hall was at one time considered a feeder school to Wellesley College.
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
. Wellesley's stations are (east to west) Wellesley Farms
, Wellesley Hills
, and Wellesley Square
For elders and people with disabilities there is a specific MBTA-based service, THE RIDE which offer 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 Natick Collection (formerly 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.
Also during the weeks before Christmas there is the "Holly Trolly" which is a free trolly that has various stops including downtown Wellesley where you can do some holiday shopping.
The Catholic-organization Voice of the Faithful
(VOTF) was founded at St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley in January 2002.
It was founded by parishioners who were frustrated and angered by what they perceived as the Archdiocese of Boston's unwillingness or inability to address ongoing sexual abuse scandals. VOTF supports victims and opponents of clergy sexual abuse, and advocates for Church governance reform. The group claims 25,000 registered supporters in 40 U.S. states.
, chef and host of East Meets West
on the Food Network
, owns the restaurant Blue Ginger in the Wellesley Square neighborhood.
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, NH 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 250k were made as a gift by an anonymous donor and life long fan of the band.
- Danny Ainge, current executive director of basketball operations of the Boston Celtics
- Ray Allen, NBA basketball player for the Boston Celtics
- Roger Nash Baldwin, co-founder of the ACLU
- Katherine Lee Bates, author of America the Beautiful
- Gamaliel Bradford, poet, biographer
- Dee Brown, former basketball player for the Boston Celtics
- R. Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
- Howie Carr, journalist and radio personality, describes Wellesley as a "beautiful people" town
- Greg Comella, former professional football player with the New York Giants
- Jane Curtin, comedian, original cast member of Saturday Night Live
- Richard Darman, economist and former head of the Office of Management and Budget
- Dennis Eckersley, Former Pitcher for the Oakland A's
- Carl Everett, former center fielder for the Boston Red Sox
- Curt Gowdy, sports commentator
- Michael S. Greco, President of the American, Massachusetts & New England Bar Associations
- Phil Laak, professional poker player and winner of the 2004 World Poker Tour
- Gregory Mankiw, Harvard Economics Professor
- Ossian Everett Mills, founder of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America
- Bill Mueller, former third baseman for the Boston Red Sox
- Daisuke Matsuzaka Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
- Joseph E. Murray, surgeon, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1990
- Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American author
- David George Ouellet, Medal of Honor recipient (Posthumously)
- Sylvia Plath, poet
- Richard Preston and Douglas Preston, best-selling authors
- James St. Clair, defense lawyer for Richard Nixon during Watergate
- Jack Sanford, former MLB pitcher and 1957 MLB Rookie of the Year Award recipient
- Billy Squire, rock musician
- Bradford Torrey (1843-1912), nature writer
- Steven Tyler, rock musician (Aerosmith)
- Greg Yaitanes, actor, film director, writer