History of Greater Brattleboro Area

Here’s a primer on what you should know about us.

MainStreetParade,Flags,Wagons,BrooksHouseBalcony,NIHawleySetting the Historical Scene

  • Situated where the Connecticut and West Rivers meet on lands had been used by Abenaki tribe prior to arrival of European settlers in early 1700s
  • In mid-1700s the Abenaki sided with the French in the French and Indian Wars
  • In 1724 Lt. Governor William Dummer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony built Fort Dummer as protection against the Abenaki
  • War ended in 1725 with the driving north to Quebec of the Abenaki
  • In 1728 the fort was converted into a trading post for commerce with friendly Abenaki who had remained behind
  • War broke out again in 1744 and lasted until 1748
  • Troops manned the fort until 1750
  • Three years later the area around the fort became a New Hampshire grant and was charted on the day after Christmas 1753 – the first “town” in Vermont
  • It was named Brattleborough after Col. William Brattle, Jr. of Boston (who never set foot in his namesake municipality!)

A Town Takes Root…

  • Once hostilities ceased the trade out of Fort Dummer set the stage for increased commercial and residential development
  • In 1771 the first store in Vermont’s opened in Brattleboro
  • In 1784 a post office was established
  • The first Vermont bridge over the Connecticut River to New Hampshire was built in 1804

… and Takes on an Identity in Health and Good Living

  • In 1834 the Brattleboro Retreat for the mentally ill was founded
  • Ten years later the third pure water cure in the country was established in Brattleboro, which then became a curative health resort.

The Mills Were Alive – Plus!

  • The Whetstone Brook’s rushing falls fueled watermills which then powered sawmills and gristmills
  • By 1859 Brattleboro had a woolen textile mill, a paper mill, a flour mill, a maker of papermaking machinery, melodeons, and carriages, four printers an two machine shops

With Trade Came the Rails

Commerce in grain, lumber, turpentine, tallow and pork put Brattleborough on traders’ routes
The Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad and Vermont Valley Railroad brought prosperity

… a More “Commercial”Name

In 1888 Brattleborough became Brattleboro…

… and Here We Go!

  • the first major Vermont town north of the Massachusetts border
  • the only town in the state with three exits off of the I-91 north-south corridor
  • offering a  mix of the rural and urban along four major commercial and residential arteries:
  • Canal Street to the South – The Gateway off of Exit One from I-91
  • Main Street – The Heart of Historic Downtown – Take Exit Two from I-91
  • Putney Road to the North – Major commercial hub off of Exit Three from I-91
  • Route 30 to the northwest – Best Route to the resort towns – Take Exit Two from I-91

For more information about Brattleboro visit the Brattleboro Historical Society at www.brattleborohistoricalsociety.org