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Barton, Vermont
Aerial view of Barton
Aerial view of Barton
Located in Orleans County, Vermont
Located in Orleans County, Vermont
Location of Vermont with the U.S.A.
Location of Vermont with the U.S.A.
Country United States
State Vermont
County Orleans
Chartered October 20, 1789
 • Total 44.9 sq mi (116.3 km2)
 • Land 43.7 sq mi (113.1 km2)
 • Water 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)
931 ft (353 m)
 • Total 2,872
 • Density 66/sq mi (25.4/km2)
 • Households
 • Families
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
05822, 05839, 05875
Area code 802
FIPS code 50-03550
GNIS feature ID 1462037

Barton is a town in Orleans County, Vermont, United States. The population was 2,872 at the 2020 census. The town includes two incorporated villages, Barton and Orleans. Approximately a quarter of the town's population lives in each of the villages, and approximately half lives outside the villages. Only four other towns in the state contain two incorporated villages.

The Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, a state-recognized tribe, is headquartered here.


Rogers' Rangers were forced to retreat through the area following their attack on Saint-Francis, Quebec in 1759. The fleeing rangers split up before getting to Barton. One group followed the Barton River south to the falls at the outlet of Crystal Lake where they were able to catch fish. From there, they continued south over the summit into the Passumpsic River Valley. Barton was chartered on October 20, 1789. The grant was to sixty Revolutionary War soldiers, mainly from Rhode Island and including Admiral John Paul Jones, General William Barton, and Ira Allen. Prior to formal chartering, the town was known as "Providence."

From 1791 to 1793 Timothy Hinman built what is now called the "Hinman Settler Road" linking Barton south to Greensboro and north through Brownington to Derby and Canada. The early settlers of Barton found Indian wigwams, in a decayed condition, quite numerous in the vicinity of the outlet of Barton pond (sic), from which it was inferred that it was a favorite camping ground. It is stated that an Indian, Foosah, claimed he killed twenty-seven moose, beside large numbers of beaver and otter near this pond in the winter of 1783-84.

On June 6, 1810, the body of water known today as Runaway Pond flooded the Barton River Valley resulting in destruction, the results of which can still be seen today. In 1824, voters decided to fund education for all children. An academy started operating in 1852 with 107 students. This was the forerunner of Barton Academy.

Railroad construction reached Barton in 1858. The first train arrived in 1863. As each new railroad terminus was built, the stagecoaches used them as terminuses as well. The stage ran north from Barton from what is now the junction of State Road 58 and US 5, north to unite with the Hinman Settler Road which came out of Glover and ran up Barton Hill over what is now Maple Hill Road then straight over to what is now the Orleans Country Club and from there to Brownington.

182 men from the town volunteered to fight in the Civil War.

By 1863, enthusiasm for the war had waned. Congress was forced to draft soldiers. The draft enabled people chosen to buy their way out of the draft for $300 or find a substitute, usually paying a bounty of $100. Barton's quota was 14. Out of the 14 originally chosen, seven bought their way out, six obtained a substitute. One served.

There were a total of seven granite quarries in town. Around 1900, a granite quarry was located on the east side of Crystal Lake. Steamboats barged stone across the lake, or were slid across on the ice. An Indian burial ground was discovered during the excavation for the new Barton Academy in 1907. There is no record of what happened to those artifacts.

Increasing steadily, Barton's population reached a peak of 3,506 people in 1920.

In 1921, the town put on a large pageant celebrating its 125th anniversary. A professional choreographer and playwright was hired. Three hundred townspeople performed, watched by 4,500 paying spectators, a record audience for the county at the time. The investment of $1,000 was recouped. The area was afterwards known as Pageant Park, now owned by the Barton village.

The Portland Pipeline company built a crude oil pipeline to Montreal from Portland, Maine in 1941 to avoid U-Boat attacks when shipping by sea during World War II. In 2005, the portion of the line that passes through Barton town was evaluated and taxed at $2,277,000. The last one-room schools stopped operation in the late 1950s. In 1964, a candlepin bowling alley was opened. Up to ten leagues used the facility. It closed in 2000.

In 1967, the school districts turned over their inadequately sized high schools, Barton Academy and Orleans High School to elementary school use and replaced them with Lake Region Union High School.

On February 14, 2016, the temperature dropped to −20 °F (−29 °C). The high for the day was −18 °F (−28 °C). There was insufficient snow to insulate homes against the cold. Electric power was off for 12 hours, jeopardizing lives of residents, particularly the elderly, for electrical fired furnaces. Electrical generators kept outside could not be started due to the cold.

South Barton

The unincorporated village of South Barton, sometimes called Kimball Station no longer exists today. It was located near the Wheeler Mountain Road south of Crystal Lake on what is today, Route 5.

In 1858, Barton (and Orleans County) obtained a triangular piece of land from Sheffield which included all of May Pond, the entire area south of Crystal Lake, and the village of South Barton. In 1861, the village of South Barton had its own post office, and, in 1874, its own railroad depot. In the early 1930s, there were 30 students in the one-room schoolhouse there.

Its main industry was logging. The village foundered on lack of electric power which the other two villages in town had aggressively pursued. It tried to make up for this with steam power, but by the early 1940s the village was no longer viable. Its post office closed in 1947. Three businesses operated serially in the same location: the Orleans and Caledonia Steam Mill Company, Willoughby Wood and Lumber Company and US Bobbin and Shuttle Company. Eventually the location of the latter company to New York state finalized the village's demise.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.9 square miles (116.3 km2), of which 43.7 square miles (113.1 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.3 km2) (2.81%) is water. Barton averages 931 feet (284 m) above sea level (ASL).

The principal rock is calciferous mica schist. About two miles (3 km) from the Irasburg line, and parallel with it, there is a narrow vein of hornblende schist the whole length of the town. In the eastern corner, covering an area of several square miles, the rocks are a mixture of granite, syenite, and protogine. Iron has been found in small quantities, and some traces of gold.

The highest peak in Barton is Barton Mountain – 2,235 feet (681 m) ASL. May Hill is 2,007 feet (612 m) high.

Barton rivers include the Barton, and Willoughby Rivers; Hogtrough Brook, Lord Brook, Annis Brook, May Pond Brook, Willoughby Brook, and Roaring Brook.

Each spring, the rainbow trout swim up the Willoughby River to Lake Willoughby.

Crystal Lake State Park is located in Barton.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 128
1810 447 249.2%
1820 372 −16.8%
1830 726 95.2%
1840 852 17.4%
1850 987 15.8%
1860 1,590 61.1%
1870 1,911 20.2%
1880 2,364 23.7%
1890 2,217 −6.2%
1900 2,790 25.8%
1910 3,346 19.9%
1920 3,506 4.8%
1930 3,469 −1.1%
1940 3,371 −2.8%
1950 3,298 −2.2%
1960 3,066 −7.0%
1970 2,874 −6.3%
1980 2,990 4.0%
1990 2,967 −0.8%
2000 2,780 −6.3%
2010 2,810 1.1%
2020 2,872 2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,780 people, 1,153 households, and 748 families residing in the town. The population density was 63.7/sq mi(24.6/km2). There were 1,438 housing units at an average density of 32.9 per square mile (12.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.37% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.29% of the population.

There were 1,153 households, out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, the age distribution of the population shows 24.8% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.


Major routes

The opening of the Interstate north on November 9, 1972, and opening south in 1978, stimulated connections with other communities; it resulted in increased trade and attracted new residents. This was similar to the effects of the opening of the railway a century earlier. In 1980, Barton registered its first population gain in a century.

Barton has 78.37 miles (126.12 km) of state road and class 1, 2 and 3 roads, of which 44.38 miles (71.42 km) are class 3 (dirt) roads and 21.43 miles (34.49 km) are state roads.

  • I-91.svg Interstate 91 – Barton to Derby
  • US 5.svg U.S. Route 5 – Barton to Derby
  • Vermont 16.svg Vermont Route 16 – Barton to Westmore east and north, to Glover south
  • Vermont 58.svg Vermont Route 58 – Barton to Lowell west and Barton to Westmore east

Local community public and private transportation

Vermont Transit bus company services Barton.


While the Washington County Railroad (The Vermont Railway System) runs through Barton about twice a day, it does not make scheduled stops. The railroad created a transload facility in town in 2015. This is operated by a hauler headquartered in Troy.


Barton village contains three areas on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barton is home to the Orleans County Fair held each August at the Fairgrounds since 1868. One year Lowell Thomas was the master of ceremonies. Past fairs featured harness racing. In 2009, a state record for the mile was broken at 1:56.2. Edward Hoagland wrote the essay, "Americana, etc.", a "paean"" to the Fair of 1969. This inadvertently resulted in the demise of girlie shows at the fair, once a staple. In 2013, the paid attendance was 18,000. In 2011, a Guinness World Record was set when 301 Cadillacs were in the same parade on the opening day of the Fair; 103 were needed to beat the prior record. The Cadillac developer had been born in Barton.

Barton has two libraries, one in Barton village, one in Orleans.


Personal income

The median income for a household in the town was $28,797, and the median income for a family was $33,872. Males had a median income of $25,922 versus $20,938 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,636. About 12.2% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.


Prior to 2010, a study was taken which showed that second home ownership in town was 30%; this was similar to other locations across the county. Most seasonal residents come in the summer, and tourism is important to the economy.


Ethan Allen Manufacturing, in the village of Orleans, employs about 400 workers locally.

A nursing home with 71 beds employs 70 people.

Utilities and Communication


Consolidated Communications of Northern New England.


Barton is served by Verizon and AT&T.


The Barton side of Barton town is served by Barton Electric, which generates some of its power hydroelectrically to 2100 customers (households).

The Orleans side of Barton town is served by The Village of Orleans Electric with 665 customers (households).

Water and sewage

Water is separately distributed to local village residents in Barton and Orleans. Barton charges $59.50 per 5,000 US gallons (19,000 L; 4,200 imp gal); Orleans charges $24. Sewage is charged by the same water meter usage, $172.60 per 5000 in Barton; $59 in Orleans.

Solid waste

Barton generated about 2,000 short tons (1,800 t) of waste annually in 2013.

Notable people

  • Frederick W. Baldwin, practiced law with William Grout; president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate (1900)
  • Colonel William Barton, Revolutionary War officer, founder of the town
  • Susan Dunklee, biathlete, raised in Barton
  • Mary Baker Eddy resided with student after the death of her husband in 1882
  • Lee E. Emerson, 69th governor of Vermont
  • Josiah Grout, 46th governor of Vermont
  • William W. Grout, US congressman 1881–1883
  • Emory A. Hebard, Vermont State Treasurer (1977–1989)
  • Henry M. Leland, engineer and automotive entrepreneur, created both the Cadillac and Lincoln brands
  • Orrin Wiley Locke, state senator from Orleans County
  • Willard W. Miles, associate judge on the Vermont Supreme Court
  • Major General Francis W. Nye, commander of the Defense Atomic Support Agency, Sandia
  • Henry Alexander Stafford, professional baseball player for the New York Giants
  • Frank D. Thompson, Associate Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court

See also

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