Get to know the secrets and quirky facts that make Wellesley unique.
Living in Wellesley, Massachusetts, or taking a trip to this wonderfully welcoming area, means experiencing history like never before. This quaint and charming town located just outside of Boston is popular for quite a few reasons—some of the top ones are its close proximity to the city, its incredible shops and attractions, and natural areas to take advantage of between work and play. This quiet and peaceful area comes with a lot of personality, so let’s dive into what makes Wellesley, well, Wellesley.
Before It was Wellesley
- The original residents of the Wellesley area—before it became Wellesley—were the Algonquin Native Americans. The first English settler, Andrew Dewing, didn’t arrive until 1630. His first stop was near Grove Street.
- When it was settled in 1630, Wellesley was originally part of Dedham, Massachusetts.
- The town subsequently became part of Needham, Massachusetts and was named West Needham.
- In 1880, West Needham residents voted to secede from Needham, and by April 6th, 1881, the town of Wellesley became what it is today!
History is Here
- Harriet Tubman and members of the Underground Railroad traveled through these very streets, fields, and land. In the 1800s, there was a stop in a home in Wellesley, where the homeowner helped runaway slaves escape towards freedom.
- George Washington stopped under an elm tree in town for a drink of well water in 1789. The tree was formerly on the north side of Washington Street between Ledyard and Columbia Streets. You can walk the path that he rode down, which is currently named in his honor.
- Alexander Graham Bell moved to Wellsey in 1871, when it was still named West Needham. He was recovering from an illness and teaching deaf students while working on inventing the telephone.
Location, Location, Location
- Planning on picnicking, jogging, or walking your dog at Centennial Park sometime soon? On Wellesley’s 100th birthday in 1981, the town built this beloved open space as a birthday gift.
- The first school in town was built on Linden Street in Newton.
- Ever heard of a human chain? Hundreds of Wellesley residents formed one to physically transfer books when the town decided to open a new library across Washington Street from the old one!
- The town designated Cottage Street and its nearby alleys as the “Historic District” since most of the houses were built around the 1860s and qualify as protected buildings.
Living Among the Stars
- Alumni of the world-famous Wellesley College include screenwriter Nora Ephron, journalist Diane Sawyer, political figures Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, and former First Lady of China, Soong Mei-Ling.
- Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, graduated from Wellesley High in 1992.
- James St. Clair, who was Richard Nixon’s Watergate attorney, was once a Wellesley resident.
- While she was a Wellesley resident, comedian Jane Curtin rose to fame when she became a performing member of Saturday Night Live in 1975. In 2008, Michaela Watkins—also from Wellesley—was on the show.
- A resident arranged for The Beach Boys to give a free concert for all Wellesley residents in 2018 for Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend. They played on Hunnewell Field.
- During the 1920s, Wellesley's population grew by over 80 percent.
- In 2018, Wellesley was the 7th wealthiest city in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Looking for More Local Activities and Destination Ideas?
Ready to cultivate a collection of can’t-wait-to-do-it experiences in the Boston area? Contact us today. We would love to be your Boston real estate agents and assist you in finding your dream Wellesley home for sale. In the meantime, read more on our blog here.