Happy Birthday, Brattleboro!
Our wonderful town was chartered 265 years ago on
December 26, 1753!
To celebrate this special anniversary, the Chamber is going to countdown to the big day by bringing you a year of Fun Facts about Brattleboro!
Fun Fact #1: The town of Brattleboro was named after William Brattle, Jr. In 1753, Brattle was granted shares of land by George II on which the town of Brattleboro was built. Interestingly, Brattle never called Brattleboro home; he lived in Cambridge, MA. To learn more click here!
Fun Fact #2: The very first recipient of a Social Security check in the United States was Ida May Fuller of Brattleboro in 1940. In the three years that Ida May worked under the program, she contributed a total of $24.75. Her first benefit check was for $22.54 and she went on collecting benefits for 35 years, until her death at age 100 in 1975. In that time she collected a total of $22,888.92. To learn more about Ida May click here!
Fun Fact #3: On Jan 1, 1875 Brattleboro residents found an 8-foot-tall sculpture of an angel made of snow standing at the intersection of Linden & Main Streets now the site of Wells Fountain. To learn who made the angel and why click here!:
Fun Fact #4: Brattleboro’s Fort Dummer was the first English Settlement in Vermont built in 1724 by Lt. Governor William Dummer as protection from the native Abenaki people. To learn more about the early history of Brattleboro, click here!
Fun Fact #5: Brattleboro has had a volunteer militia since the early 18th century which has transformed over the years into the Vermont Army National Guard, whose headquarters are now in Westminster. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #6: Wells Fountain, located at the north end of Main Street was designed in 1890 by Brattleboro architect William Rutherford Mead, cousin to President Rutherford B. Hayes. To learn more about the fountain, click here!
Fun Fact #7: For over a century in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro was the largest organ manufacturer in the United States. The company’s assembly-line process inspired Henry Ford when he visited in 1915. To learn more, visit the Estey Organ Museum website here!
Fun Fact #8: In the midst of the Civil War when the Union Army needed more men, Brattleboro became a mustering site for all of Vermont. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #9: Brattleboro is home to five colleges and college campuses, Marlboro College Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, SIT Graduate Institute, Community College of Vermont, Union Institute and University, and Vermont Technical College. To learn more about higher education in Brattleboro, click here!
Fun Fact #10: In 2007, the Brattleboro Selectboard passed a resolution dedicating Brattleboro as a Fair Trade Town, making it only the second Fair Trade Certified town in the nation after Media, PA. To learn more about Fair Trade Certification, click here!
Fun Fact #11: Brattleboro’s first post office was established in 1784 under the independent republic of Vermont.
Fun Fact #12: Brattleboro’s fastest growing decade was from 1840 to 1850 when the population increased a full 45.5% from 2,623 to 3,816. The most recent census in 2010 placed the town’s population at 12,046.
Fun Fact #13: Three consecutive United States Presidents, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Taft spoke in Brattleboro between 1897 and 1912.
Fun Fact #14: Brattleboro’s Downtown Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984 with the district’s boundary increased in 2004. To learn more about downtown Brattleboro click here!
Fun Fact #15: In 1909 Island Park was founded on the Connecticut River between Brattleboro and New Hampshire. The park was home to a grand pavilion and a baseball field which would draw crowds as large as 3,000 people. To learn more about the park, which was flooded after the construction of the Vernon Dam, click here!
Fun Fact #16: Jacob Estey, longtime owner of the Brattleboro’s Estey Organ Company, ran away from an orphanage in Westminster, MA at a young age before becoming the businessman and philanthropist recognized around the world. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #17: The immediate Brattleboro area had over 170 active farms at its peak in the early 20th century. To learn more about agriculture in the Brattleboro area, click here!
Fun Fact #18: The William Harris House on Western Ave. is believed to be the oldest surviving building in Brattleboro and one of the oldest in the state of Vermont having been built in 1768. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #19: On the first Friday of every month, downtown Brattleboro hosts Gallery Walk to give local artists an opportunity to highlight their work. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #20: Brattleboro is home to a world renowned circus school, The New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), who launched a $2.5 million capital campaign in 2014 to build their new facility completed in 2017. To learn more about the school, click here!
Fun Fact #21: In March of 2017, Brattleboro voted 1,034 to 317 in support of a grocery store ban on plastic bags. To learn more about the issue, click here!
Fun Fact #22: Brattleboro local Richard Morris Hunt was a renowned architect of the 19th century, designing the Washington Naval Observatory, and the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty among other famed buildings.
Fun Fact #23: Brattleboro currently has three public elementary schools: Green Street School, Oak Grove School, and Academy School. The town also has one public middle school and high school: Brattleboro Area Middle School, and Brattleboro Union High School. To learn more about K-12 education in Brattleboro, click here!
Fun Fact #24: The Dickinson Estate Historic District, once owned by Rudyard Kipling in North Brattleboro, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #25: Brattleboro is home to the world class Harris Hill Ski Jump, which hosts the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament each February with competitors from around the world. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #26: Brattleboro’s largest newspaper, The Brattleboro Reformer, was founded in 1876 as The Windham County Democrat and now has a weekday circulation of over 10,000. To learn more about the Reformer, click here!
Fun Fact #27: Rutherford Hayes, grandfather of US President Rutherford B. Hayes, moved to West Brattleboro in 1778 and built the Inn later known as Hayes Tavern (torn down in 1960). To learn more about Rutherford Hayes, click here!
Fun Fact #28: Brattleboro’s Main Street was devastated by a fire in 1869, after which the Brooks House and Crosby Block were built to fill the gap on Main Street.
Fun Fact #29: Brattleboro has been home to two difference Nobel Laureates in Literature: Rudyard Kipling (1907) and Saul Bellow (1976). To read more about the Nobel Prize in Literature and its winners, click here!
Fun Fact #30: Brattleboro has been the setting for many novels and stories, including H.P. Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness, much of Jacob M. Appel’s collection Scouting for the Reaper, and Archer Mayor’s Joe Gunther series.
Fun Fact #31: Brattleboro’s downtown train station, Union Station, is on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #32: Brattleboro and the Southern Vermont region has become a hotbed for microbreweries in recent years. Hermit Thrush Brewery, the Whetstone Station Brewery, and McNeill’s Brewery can all be found in the downtown area. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #33: Brattleboro native William Morris Hunt studied painting in Paris before pursuing a successful career in Boston. His painting “The Prodigal Son” can be seen today in Brooks Memorial Library.
Fun Fact #34: The first Bible ever printed in Vermont was printed in Brattleboro in 1812.
Fun Fact #35: There is evidence of Native American settlements in present-day Brattleboro dating back as far as 10,000 B.C.E., but Native activity in more recent times was only nomadic.
Fun Fact #36: The first commercial store in Brattleboro was established in 1771 by Stephen Greenleaf on the riverfront land that is now Main Street.
Fun Fact #37: The first railroad train to Brattleboro came in 1849 carrying 1,500 passengers.
Fun Fact #38: Brattleboro local Frederick Holbrook was elected Vermont’s 27th Governor in 1861 and reelected in 1862 during the Civil War. Upon his death in 1909 he was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #39: The Brattleboro Retreat was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #40: Brattleboro’s Estey Organ Company was for many years the largest employer in the state of Vermont. Estey employed master woodcarvers, designers, engineers and inventors, many of whom came from Europe to work for the company. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #41: Between 1859 and 1880 there were eight attempts at manufacturing sewing machines in Brattleboro, none of which had great success.
Fun Fact #42: A mile north of downtown Brattleboro, the Burnside Military School was founded in 1859 by Charles Miles. The building would burn down in 1920, but attracted military students from a wide area while it was operational.
Fun Fact #43: In October 1869, Brattleboro was hit by a flood at the beginning of the month and a fire on the west side of Main Street at the end. This unfortunate timing meant firefighting efforts were delayed by missing bridges from the flood.
Fun Fact #44: Brooks House on the corner of Main Street and High Street was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #45: In 1845 Dr. Robert Wesselhoeft opened the Brattleboro Hydropathic Institution on Elliot Street, popularly known as Wesselhoeft Water Cure. Despite the shaky science of water cure, Dr. Wesselhoeft’s institution became the most famous of its type in the United States. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #46: Up until 1873 when Brattleboro’s Central Fire Station was built, the town’s fire protection came from small volunteer fire companies scattered around town.
Fun Fact #47: Col. James Fisk, Jr. moved to Brattleboro with his family as a young boy and went on to lead a notorious career in finance, often blamed for causing the Black Friday panic of 1869. In 1872 he was famously murdered by his associate Ed Stokes and was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #48: In August of 1886, a ten car train was pulling across the West River Bridge into Brattleboro when the bridge suddenly collapsed. Two people died in the disaster and the bridge was eventually replaced with a new steel one.
Fun Fact #49: Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers parade was started by Orly Munzing in 2002 and has since become widely known along with its mission of connecting people with healthy local food. To learn more, visit the Strolling website here!
Fun Fact #50: On July 10, 1896, Barnum and Bailey’s circus came to Brattleboro, advertised as the greatest show on earth.
Fun Fact #51: The Canal Street Schoolhouse, built in 1892, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #52: In 1898 the Brattleboro High School football team won the state championship for the first time. To see the upcoming sports schedule, click here!
Fun Fact #53: The central part of Brattleboro’s first high school was built in 1832, with a major addition in 1868. The school was fully replaced in 1884.
Fun Fact #54: Born in Brattleboro in the mid-1860s, Mary Howe made a career singing in Europe before returning to Brattleboro for a concert in 1888. She continued to perform in Europe until 1905. To learn more about Miss Howe, click here!
Fun Fact #55: Rudyard Kipling’s best known work, The Jungle Books, were written during the four years he lived in Brattleboro. To read more about Mr. Kipling, click here!
Fun Fact #56: Brattleboro’s free public library was first established in 1882 in the Town Hall. A separate building was constructed for the library in 1886 by George Brooks. Visit Brattleboro’s current Brooks Memorial Library here!
Fun Fact #57: The Canal Street-Clark Street Neighborhood District, roughly bounded by Canal, South Main, Lawrence and Clark Sts., was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #58: The downtown Latchis Hotel & Theatre, built in 1938, is one of only two functioning Art Deco buildings in Vermont. To read more about the Latchis, click here!
Fun Fact #59: One of Brattleboro’s greatest scandals took place in June of 1880 when the First National Bank failed due to the defalcation of its President, Silas M. Waite.
Fun Fact #60: Levi K. Fuller moved to Brattleboro in the 1850s and worked for Estey Organ, making several contributions to the construction techniques. He built Pine Heights on Canal St. in 1876 and served as the 44th Governor of Vermont from 1892 to 1894. To learn more, click here!
Fun Fact #61: In 1902 the Canal Street estate known as “The Hemlocks” was converted into Brattleboro’s new hospital with money from the late Thomas Thompson. Briefly known as The Hemlocks Hospital, the name was changed to Brattleboro Memorial after a couple years.
Fun Fact #62: Born in 1886, Grace Burnett was Brattleboro’s first female physician and one of its most beloved citizens. Dr. Burnett graduated Brattleboro High School before leaving the town to get her medical license. She returned in 1914 and practiced medicine in Brattleboro for nearly 50 years.
Fun Fact #63: During the Valley Fair which Brattleboro used to host, Main Street was decorated with every available flag. These flags came out an extra time in 1897 when President William McKinley made a speech on the Brattleboro Commons. To learn more about Pres. McKinley, click here!
Fun Fact #64: The Creamery Covered Bridge, built in 1879 out of spruce lumber, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. To learn more about the Creamery Bridge and other bridges in the Brattleboro area, click here!
Fun Fact #65: The Brattleboro Pageant was produced on Island Park in 1912 to celebrate what was thought to be the 150th anniversary of Brattleboro’s settlement. The Pageant used a cast of 700 to create a series of acted scenes depicting the history of the area.
Fun Fact #66: Brattleboro has a long history with printing and publishing, dating back to the eighteenth century. E.L. Hildreth & Company, founded in 1890, was located on Harmony Pl. for Fun Fact #67: many years, and in 1920 the Vermont Publishing Company was based in Brattleboro’s American Building Annex.
Fun Fact #68: In the early days of aviation, Brattleboro’s Retreat Meadow was used as a temporary airfield. During an aviation exhibit in 1922, however, a crash occurred in which three passengers were killed.
Fun Fact #69: In 1902, five years after President William McKinley came to Brattleboro for a speech on the Commons, President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the town from the same place. To learn more about Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, click here!
Fun Fact #70: After the flooding of the bridge crossing the West side of the Connecticut River in 1920, all traffic across the river was carried on a small ferry until the present steel bridge was completed.
Fun Fact #71: The Estey Organ Company Factory on Birge St., once the largest organ manufacturer in the country, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. To learn more Estey Organs, click here!
Fun Fact #72: In 1912, President William H. Taft stopped in Brattleboro on his way to a vacation in the White Mountains. After lunch with Col. J. Gray Estey, the President was convinced to give a short address from the grandstand at Island Park.
Fun Fact #73: Between 1912 and 1928, Brattleboro local George Washington “Farmer” Bailey became one of the strongest wrestlers of his time, meeting many of the great wrestlers such as Silent Joe Stecher, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Bull Montana, and The Masked Marvel.
Fun Fact #74: Brattleboro is currently the 7th largest municipality in Vermont with a population of over 12,000.
Fun Fact #75: The Lewis Grout House on Western Ave., built in 1880 for Rev. Lewis Grout, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #76: Brattleboro local William Mead of famed architectural firm McKim, Mead and White helped construct a number of prominent U.S. buildings in the late 1800s and early 1900s including Boston Public Library, Madison Square Garden II, Pennsylvania Station, and much more.
Fun Fact #77: The downtown Brattleboro area has fourteen dining options all within walking distance. To learn more about the downtown area, click here!
Fun Fact #78: The Connecticut River, which converges with the West River right in downtown Brattleboro, is one of the longest in the Northeast, spanning over 400 miles.
Fun Fact #79: The Brattleboro Food Co-op was founded in 1975 as a small buying club, the Co-op’s 14,580 square foot downtown space is now community owned by over 7,200 active shareholders. To learn more about the Co-op, click here!
Fun Fact #80: The Deacon John Holbrook house on Linden St. was built in 1825 for local businessman John Holbrook. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #81: The murals of Greek deities prominent in the Latchis Theatre were originally painted by renowned artist Louis Jambor who would later paint the popular cover artwork of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women.
Fun Fact #82: Brattleboro, VT is the only municipality in the world with the name. Inspiring the town’s slogan, “The One and Only Brattleboro”
Fun Fact #83: On July 1, 1847, Brattleboro postmaster Frederick Palmer had the bright idea of putting adhesive on the back of postage stamps and thus sold the first gummed postage stamp in America.
Fun Fact #84: The Brattleboro Retreat, founded in 1834 as the first American institution to provide humane treatment for mental illness, was and is a pioneer in recognizing mental illness as a disease and not a character defect. To learn more about the Retreat, click here!
Fun Fact #85: The Homestead–Horton Neighborhood Historic District located on the south side of Canal St. between Homestead Pl. and Horton Pl. was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. To learn more about the country’s registered historic sites, click here!
Fun Fact #86: Every black-and-white Holstein-Friesian cow in America is registered at Brattleboro’s Holstein Association USA, the world’s largest dairy breed association. To learn more about the Holstein Association, click here!