Belmont is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. It is in the San Francisco Bay Area, located half-way down the San Francisco Peninsula between San Mateo and San Carlos. It was originally part of the Rancho de las Pulgas, for which one of its main roads, the Alameda de las Pulgas, is named. The town was incorporated in 1926. The population was 25,123 at the 2000 census. Ralston Hall, built around a villa formerly owned by Count Cipriani, an Italian aristocrat, by Bank of California founder William Chapman Ralston, on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University is a historic landmark. The locally famous "Waterdog Lake" is located in the foothills and highlands of Belmont. One of two surviving structures from the Panama Pacific Exposition is on Belmont Avenue (the other is the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco). The building was brought to Belmont by E.D. Swift shortly after the exposition closed in 1915. Swift owned a large amount of land in the area. Carlmont High School and Ralston Middle School are located in Belmont and are both Distinguished California Schools. Belmont has attracted national attention for a smoking ordinance passed in January 2009 which bans smoking in all businesses and multi-story apartments and condominiums; the ordinance has been described as one of the strictest in the nation.