More than 350 years ago, when a handful of men first settled the area around the Charles River that is now known as Wellesley, they were so delighted with their new town that they named it "Contentment." Although the name has changed over the centuries, the feeling of pride and satisfaction on the part of the residents toward their home still remains strong. For many residents, this feeling of community was best summed up in the 1981 Centennial Celebration, a year-long discovery of Wellesley which brought a new sense of awareness of its history, a new enjoyment of its present, and a renewed commitment to its future.
Through the foresight of town fathers who in 1914 made Wellesley the first town in America to adopt zoning laws, Wellesley grew into a beautiful town. By the 1920s it was recognized as one of the leading suburbs of Boston, becoming a center for shopping when Filene's department store opened its first branch.
Katharine Lee Bates, a town resident and Wellesley College professor who in 1893 wrote "America the Beautiful," was perhaps the first person to bring the name of her home town to international attention when her song became popular among soldiers during World War I. Other Wellesley residents have throughout the years continued her example of devotion to town and country, in their own fields and their own way.
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