Wellesley is a charming town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts about 15 miles west of downtown Boston. It has an interesting history with a number of name changes throughout its evolution.
The area where the town sits today was originally settled as part of Dedham in the 1630s. Within a few decades, there were enough families to justify splitting the community off into its own town, which was named Needham. The site of the future town of Wellesley was called West Needham.
For most of the 18th and 19th centuries, West Needham was a small farming town. However, that all changed when the railroad came to town in the 1830s, connecting West Needham to Boston and the world at large.
As the town grew, the residents decided they needed their own identity that was separate from Needham. In 1881, the town was officially named Wellesley to honor wealthy benefactor Horatio Hollis Hunnewell, whose mansion was named Wellesley after his wife’s maiden name of Welles.
Today Wellesley is best known for its highly ranked schools. This is the home of Wellesley College, a women’s college that is consistently ranked as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States. Wellesley is also home to Babson College.