Requests for historical information continue to come to the attention of your Town Historian. While each and every telephone call or request would take too much space in an annual report, I have listed some of the more interesting ones here.
The year started with a request from a local realtor for information on the 18th century “Pomeroy” house at #124 Goden Street for use in his “for sale” advertisements.
Supplied the Belmont Citizen/Herald with a history of the Belmont Studio Theatre for an article they were doing on business uses along Trapelo Road.
Reviewed and proofread the text for a slide presentation of former farms to be presented by local resident Jane Sherwin based in part on my history of the Hittinger, Shaw, Skahan, Wellington, Locke, Richardson, Frost and Heustis farms.
Provided the Office of Community Development information on which sections of the former street car tracks on Belmont Street and Trapelo Road were covered in place and which sections were removed.
Provided Selectman Paul Solomon with “best memory” information of areas of dumping in the original town dump, now the site of the high school.
The Belmont Printing Company received a letter and picture from a man in Maine seeking information on a 6 inch brass cylinder with screw caps that open on both ends and inscribed “BELMONT RECORD.” For some reason, he thought that this cylinder, which belonged to his late father, came from Belmont Printing. They forwarded the request to me saying they had never seen anything like it and had no knowledge of it.
Based on a Web Site search, it was discovered that similar cylinders were used for containing the ashes of a deceased person, but no connection with local funeral homes could be found.
A letter received from Fred Hewett, a part-time freelance writer living in Watertown who is researching for an article on sidewalk medallions, saying they are of historic interest because they provide an enduring connection to the commerce and industry of the period. He said, because Belmont is rich in these sidewalk markers, he contacted your Town Historian. He also wondered if I had any connection with the “Betts Bros.” plaques.
Since “Betts Bros.” was my father and uncle’s business, I was able to supply him with information on those contractors as well as information on seven different sidewalk plaques from my own collection.
The year ended with your Town Historian being interviewed by the Belmont Historical Society in two one hour tapings of “Growing Up in Belmont” which will be presented on local cable television.
Finally, I am recommending that the Town begin to plan for the 150th celebration of the Town which was incorporated in 1859.
The above highlights, along with the many phone calls and inquiries on local historical subjects, make this position so interesting. I am honored to serve as your Town Historian.
Richard B. Betts