Montpelier in Vermont

Monday, 17 June 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Vermont College of Fine Arts © Hannahmorris/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vermont College of Fine Arts © Hannahmorris/cc-by-sa-3.0

Montpelier is the capital city of the U.S. state of Vermont and the seat of Washington County. As the site of Vermont’s state government, it is the least populous state capital in the United States. The population is at 7,600. However, the daytime population grows to about 21,000, due to the large number of jobs within city limits. The Vermont College of Fine Arts, the annual Green Mountain Film Festival and New England Culinary Institute are located in the municipality. The Vermont History Museum, operated in The Pavilion by the Vermont Historical Society, and the Vermont State House are attractions. The majority of businesses in the downtown area, mostly retail, are locally owned. The city was named after Montpellier, a city in the south of France.

Montpelier is located in the north-central area of Vermont. The Winooski River flows west along the south edge of downtown village and is fed by several smaller tributaries that cut through residential districts. On its borders are the towns of Middlesex to the west, Berlin to the south, and East Montpelier to the north and east. Montpelier lies near the geographic center of the state. Though it does not share a border, Montpelier is frequently associated with the nearby city of Barre, and the two are often referred to together as “Barre-Montpelier”.

City Hall © John Phelan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Main Street © flickr.com - David Wilson/cc-by-2.0 Main Street © GearedBull/cc-by-3.0 Vermont College of Fine Arts © Hannahmorris/cc-by-sa-3.0 Vermont State House © Captain Thor/cc-by-sa-4.0 Vermont State House Representatives Hall © Royalbroil/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Vermont State House Representatives Hall © Royalbroil/cc-by-sa-4.0
Originally charted on August 14, 1781, the Town of Montpelier was granted municipal powers by the “Governor, Council and General Assembly of the Freemen of the State of Vermont”. The first permanent settlement began in May 1787, when Colonel Jacob Davis and General Parley Davis arrived from Charlton, Massachusetts. General Davis surveyed the land, while Colonel Davis cleared forest and erected a large log house on the west side of the North Branch of the Winooski River. His family moved in the following winter. Colonel Davis selected the name “Montpelier” after the French city of Montpellier. There was a general enthusiasm for things French as a result of the country’s aid to the American colonies during the Revolutionary War. The settlement grew quickly, and by 1791 the population reached 117. The configuration of the early village was strongly influenced by geography. As early as 1799 a bridge was constructed across the Winooski River to Berlin. The Town’s Charter was reissued on February 6, 1804, to include a boundary description of the lands granted to the Town’s inhabitants and proprietors. The confluence of the Winooski, North Branch and Dog Rivers provided a central point for the local population and commerce. By 1805 the town had a population of 1,200. In that year the state legislature sought a permanent home. Montpelier was selected because of its central location and accessibility, and because local residents provided land and money. A humble State House was soon constructed on State Street. In 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Montpelier on a triumphal tour of the United States, 50 years after the Revolutionary War. The town developed into a center for manufacturing, especially after the Central Vermont Railway opened in Montpelier on June 20, 1849. In response to Montpelier’s growth and changing demographics, on November 9, 1848, the General Assembly divided the original Town into two district municipal corporations. The towns of East Montpelier and Montpelier were created. Later on, in an attempt to modernize its form of government, the town was reconstituted as the Village of Montpelier. By 1858, the layout of the main streets paralleling the rivers was in place. The downtown street pattern has changed very little since that time.

The City of Montpelier grew slowly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the period of intensive out-migration from the state to new lands in the West, or to industrial centers elsewhere in New England. Montpelier was already established as a government, market, service and industrial center in the region. When the automobile arrived, new state highways were routed to the city limits, and traffic then circulated through the original streets of the city. In 1954, a new bridge was constructed at Bailey Avenue which linked to an extension of Winooski Avenue, now Memorial Drive, and diverted some of the traffic from the downtown area.

Read more on City of Montpelier, Montpelier Alive, NewEngland.com – Montpelier, VisitTheUSA.com – Montpelier, Wikivoyage Montpelier and Wikipedia Montpelier (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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