Sunday, November 20, 2011

North Bennington, Vermont Walking Tour

The village is rich with 200 years of architecture, from simple vernacular homes and factories to those built by well known architects.

For this tour I have chosen to focus on one date, 1856, to show the village at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I hope to add other tours highlighting later periods and styles.

The house names used on this tour are those which appear on the 1856 map.

The village is here because of Paran Creek. The creek drops 100 ft from Lake Paran to the Walloomsac River.

West Street came first. In 1765, it connected Joseph Haviland’s home

to his mill on the creek. Haviland held the ‘patent’ to dam the creek,

to use the water to power his mill, granted by the Rensselaer family who controlled the land around Albany, NY.

Next Main St. was cut north to Shaftsbury. In 1781, Prospect Street was laid out over Bingham Hill to Bennington; and in 1825, Water Street was added, going south along Paran Creek to the Walloomsac River.

By 1856 North Bennington was a village of about 80 homes and 8 factories, 6 of which were powered by that falling water.

4 years earlier the railroad bridge which dammed Lake Paran had collapsed. The subsequent flood tore through the center of the village, destroying mills and houses. The map shows how quickly the residents rebuilt.

In 1856, Bank Street went to the town of White Creek. Park, Pleasant and Houghton Streets were roads to farms. Every road was dirt.

Lincoln Park was a working delivery and storage yard. The stores here were built to serve the factories and the people who worked in them.

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