The first settlers came to Belgrade in 1774, and the Town was incorporated in 1796. In the early days, most of its citizens earned a living by farming or working in its several grist and lumber mills. Gradually, however, residents started commuting to nearby cities for employment. Now, no working farms remain in Belgrade, and the town has become what many call a "bedroom community" composed of people who reside here but who work elsewhere. Employment in town is limited, with two lumber companies and a manufacturer of concrete products employing most locals. Small businesses such as restaurants and country stores provide a few year-round jobs, with rental cottages, boys/girls camps, marinas and a golf course adding part-time positions in the summer.
Belgrade covers about sixty square miles, with a large part of this area composed of lakes, streams and wetlands. Its five lakes and their inlet/outlet streams offer several species of fish for those who enjoy fishing, plenty of water surface for boaters, and excellent opportunities for those people interested in bird watching. With our forest acreage expanding, as former farmland reverts to tree growth, deer, moose and birds have become more plentiful for people to enjoy. There is a new 18-hole golf course, just south of Belgrade Lakes Village, with entrance from the West Road.