Waterbury Village Historic District, historic (circa 1940) and current views
Photographs courtesy of the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

  Buildings of the Waterbury Village Historic District
Photographs courtesy of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Waterbury Village, a community ringed by rivers and streams, illustrates the ways in which 19th century transportation affected the development of small Vermont towns. In the first half of the century the commercial district was located at the north end of the village, close to residents and the industrial sites where they worked. With the coming of the railroad in 1849, the center of the village was pushed southward, near the railroad depot. Mid-19th century commercial, industrial, and residential areas developed around this new steam powered nucleus. By the end of the century Waterbury's prosperous industries, generated by the improved method of transportation offered by the railroad, resulted in even further expansion of the commercial and residential areas.

Waterbury Village is comprised of more than 200 buildings with the variety of functions required for self-sufficient 19th century communities. Most architectural styles from that time are represented in the architectural landmarks of the district as well as the vernacular buildings. Many of those landmarks illustrate Waterbury's history. A Federal-style building with Queen Anne alterations, the Old Stagecoach Inn, is reminiscent of early forms of transportation, and the type of quarters available for early Vermont travelers, especially those visitors to late 19th century Vermont ski resorts. The United Church of Christ was first built in 1824, but additions were made in 1860 and 1880 concurrent with Waterbury's periods of prosperity. The Waterbury Public Library and Museum now occupies the Queen Anne home of Henry Janes, a local doctor and Civil War veteran. Waterbury's late 19th century prosperity attracted the establishment there in 1896 of a division of the Vermont State Hospital for the treatment of mental disorders. A Victorian Italianate train depot reflects the railroad's influence in Waterbury. The Knights of Columbus block, a large frame commercial building built in 1875, stands on Stowe Street. A focal point of the district, this building was recently renovated for retail and housing space, for which it received a federal historic preservation tax credit.

The Waterbury Village Historic District is roughly bounded by Thatcher Brook to the north, High and Railroad Sts. to the east, and Randall St. to the south and west. Residences are private, and not open to the public, but many of the businesses and institutions welcome visitors. Further information can be obtained from the Tourist House on Rt. 100 in Waterbury. A walking tour is available.

Vermont History EssayAgriculture and Industry EssayVermont Landscapes EssayTransportation Essay


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