Finding Historic Maps of Belmont, MA
Finding maps of your town is one of the most helpful activities when researching the history of your house. Maps can help fill in the gaps when you run into trouble with your deed research. Many old maps contain the names of the resident or property owner on them. This could be just what you need to break through an obstacle in your research.
Belmont is not really a very old town as far as Massachusetts towns go. Belmont was incorporated in 1859 from the much older towns of West Cambridge, Watertown and Waltham. That means that maps of Belmont are available from 1859 to the present. For earlier maps of what is now Belmont you will have to identify which town your house was originally located in and then seek out historical maps of that town.
Ancestry has 4 maps (in multiple files) of Belmont in its Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000 collection. Ancestry.com is a paid subscription site but you can access the maps for free by using the computers at the Belmont Public Library.
- Belmont Assessor Plans, 1931
- Belmont, 1875 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont, Village details, 1875 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont 1, 1889 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont 2, 1889 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont, Plate 18, 1900 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont, Plate 19, 1900 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
- Belmont, Plate 21, 1900 from a Collection of Middlesex County Maps
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were created by insurance companies to be able to calculate fire risk. They never intended for them to be used by historical researchers. But the Sanborn maps are some of the most helpful in learning about houses over a period of time. These maps are available both in print form and in a database. The maps can be found online from some local libraries (like the Waltham Public Library) but you can also access the maps from the Library of Congress website.
The years available for the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Belmont are 1905, 1910, 1915, 1922, 1931, 1931-1949 (incomplete).
You can even find maps embedded in history slide presentations, like this one about Belmont farms by Jane Sherwin (2009). The map on slide two shows a Belmont Soil Map from the US Department of Agriculture. I’m sure you could find the map in another location but the audio interpretation presented here is very helpful in understanding Belmont.
The Town of Belmont has an online Zoning Map that displays the usage of town land.
Unfortunately I didn’t find any maps of Belmont in the Panoramic Maps Collection on the Library of Congress site, nor in the Boston Public Library online Leventhal Map Collection, The Massachusetts Historical Society Map Collection or the Old Maps of New England website.
Belmont maps are also in numerous historical books about the town. You can find a complete list of Belmont books on the Belmont Library website.