East Montpelier farmland
Photograph by CB Johnson
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce proudly invite you to discover Central Vermont: Explore History in the Heart of the Green Mountains. Vermont, home to the Abenaki and other Native Americans for 10,000 years, was first explored by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. Settled by Europeans from other New England colonies, admitted to the Union as the 14th state, and established as a agricultural and industrial region, Vermont boasts a history reflecting the broad American experience. This National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary explores Central Vermont's rich history using 43 historic places listed in the National Register that recall past eras when numerous small villages grew slowly until the coming of the railroad resulted in a great period of growth for Vermont in the last half of the 19th century.

Travelers through the itinerary will learn about such fascinating places as the State Capitol, in the Montpelier Historic District, constructed of local granite hauled by ox driven teams. Lumber, Vermont's first major industry, is highlighted by the Old Red Mill and Twing Gristmill. Transportation improvements shaped Central Vermont's history as stagecoach lines and later railroads opened Vermont's products to wider markets. The influence of the 19th-century railroad lines can be viewed at the Central Vermont Rail Depot and Barre's Downtown Historic District, where European immigrants labored in the quarries after the rail lines came to the small town in 1875 and 1888. Vermont's agricultural and farming communities, which saw a historic shift from sheep and grain to dairy cattle and small diversified farming, are explored in the Mad River Valley Historic District and the McLaughlin Farm.

Skilled immigrant stone cutters displaying their craftsmanship at the Jones Brothers Granite Quarry in Barre
Photograph courtesy of Miranda Burwell

Central Vermont: Explore History in the Heart of the Green Mountains offers numerous ways to discover the historic properties that played important roles in both the settlement and development of Washington County and the State of Vermont. Each property features a brief description of the site's significance, color and historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page, the visitor will also find a navigation bar containing links to essays concerning Washington County's role in Vermont History, Agriculture and Industry, Vermont Landscapes, and Transportation. These essays provide historical background, or "contexts," for many of the sites included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out for use by visitors to Central Vermont.

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, the Vermont Historical Society, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), Central Vermont: Explore History in the Heart of the Green Mountains is the second example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities.


Members of the Italian Socialist Labor Party, 1906
Photograph by Victoria Spinelli, courtesy of the Aldrich Public Library
Central Vermont is the second of more than 30 communities and regions working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places and the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Washington County's historic resources. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

Vermont History EssayAgriculture and Industry EssayVermont Landscapes EssayTransportation Essay

 

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