Central Vermont Rail Depot
Photograph by Tracey Martin, courtesy of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce

  Historic post card viewof the Central Vermont Rail Depot, circa 1910. Click here to view a high resolution historic photograph of the railroad complex

At the west end of Northfield's Village Square is the oldest railroad station in Vermont, representative of the first generation of railroad passenger facilities built by the Vermont Central. Constructed in 1852, the current depot was originally the main section of the Vermont Central's first headquarters. The decision to locate the headquarters in Northfield brought with it increased prosperity. Today the Central Vermont Rail Depot (now owned by the Canadian National Railway) is one of the last extant structures of a great railroad complex, comprised of the depot, roundhouses, shops, offices and housing.

An earlier depot was built in 1848, very likely designed by Montpelier resident Ammi B. Young, one of 19th century America's leading architects, and an architect of the Vermont State House. The first train arrived in Northfield in October 1848 amid great ceremony. Three years later that depot burned, and the current depot was built quickly to replace it. Vermont Central president Charles Paine, occupied an office on the second floor, while the first floor provided waiting rooms for passengers and a station agent's office. In 1860, the Vermont Central headquarters were moved to St. Albans, and Northfield's economy suffered until prosperity returned at the end of the century with the growth of the granite industry. Queen Anne and Stick Style details were applied to the depot in 1899, concurrent with this renewed prosperity. It was also at this time that extensive north and south wings, once flanking the depot, were removed.

While at one time the nucleus of a railroad complex, today the lone depot symbolizes the village's former importance as a railroad center. The Central Vermont Railway Depot continues to serve as the visual focus for Northfield's downtown business district. Today, a bank occupies the first floor, the latest in a series of banks that have occupied this space since 1866.

The ground floor of the Central Vermont Railway Depot, currently a bank lobby, is open to the public during bank hours. The building is located at the west end of Depot Sq.

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