Waltham, Massachusetts Geography

Essentials of Waltham Geography

The major geographic features of Waltham are the Charles River and several large hills. The river runs roughly west to east in the south part of the city. Since the dam was built just below the Moody Street bridge, the western half of the river in Waltham is navigable by boat. The largest body of water visible today, the Cambridge Reservoir, was created by the damming of a brook near the west side of Waltham. Hardy Pond, the only "great pond" in the city, is in the northern area.

The highest place in Waltham is atop Prospect Hill, on a point named "Boston Rock", from which the city of Boston is visible on a clear day. Bear Hill is west and south of that point.

Main Street enters from the west as Rt. 117, and leaves in the east as Rt. 20. Rt. 20, also known as Weston Street, merges in at the point where Rt. 117 ends. South Street connects at this intersection, known as Banks Square. City Hall was built near the intersection of Main Street and Moody Street, which is the main business street of Waltham. Lexington Street begins near City Hall, and continues north into Lexington. Totten Pond Road begins at Lexington, and proceeds west, and its name changes to Winter Street as it circles behind the reservoir. Trapelo road spans the entire city, starting near the northwest corner, and proceeding into Belmont on the east side. Beaver Street runs east from Lexington along the Beaver Brook, and intersects what is now Bentley College.

The first divided highway to pass through the city was Rt. 128, which was called "America's Technology Highway" to highlight the many high-tech companies located along it. It became part of I-95 when the interstate highway system was constructed. It runs along the west part of Waltham, passing between Prospect Hill and Bear Hill, and has 3 exits in the city, at Trapelo Road, Totten Pond Road and Winter Street, and Weston Street.

The Boston and Maine Railroad was once the major route into and out of Waltham. It now has 2 stops, Roberts which is on South Street, near Brandeis University, and at Main and Moody. Today it is part of Massachusetts' commuter rail system.

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Contact Scott Shurr at sshurr@gmail.com Updated: 18 July 2014

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