Bennington, Vermont facts for kids

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Bennington, Vermont
Town
Bennington Battle Monument
Bennington Battle Monument
Motto: It's Where Vermont Begins!
Located in Bennington County, Vermont
Located in Bennington County, Vermont
Country United States
State Vermont
County Bennington
Chartered 1749
Area
 • Total 42.5 sq mi (110.1 km2)
 • Land 42.2 sq mi (109.4 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 817 ft (249 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 15,764
 • Density 373/sq mi (144.1/km2)
 • Households 6,246
 • Families 3,716
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 05201
Area code(s) 802
FIPS code 50-04825
GNIS feature ID 1462039
Website www.townofbennington.org

Bennington is a town in Bennington County, Vermont, in the United States. It is one of two shire towns (county seats) of the county, the other being Manchester. The population is 15,431, as of 2014 US Census estimates. Bennington is the most populous town in southern Vermont, the third-largest town in Vermont (after Essex and Colchester) and the sixth-largest municipality in the state including the cities of Burlington, Rutland, and South Burlington in the count.

The town is home to the Bennington Battle Monument, which is the tallest human-made structure in the state of Vermont. The town has ready access to natural resources and waterpower, and a long history of manufacturing, primarily within wood processing. The town is also recognized nationally for its pottery, iron, and textiles.

History

Bennington, VT (L. R. Burleigh print, 1887)
Bennington in 1887

First of the New Hampshire Grants, Bennington was chartered on January 3, 1749, by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth and named in his honor. It was granted to William Williams and 61 others, mostly from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The town was first settled in 1761 by four families from Hardwick and two from Amherst, Massachusetts. They were led by Capt. Samuel Robinson, who camped in the river valley on his return from the French and Indian War.

There are three historic districts within the town today: Old Bennington, Downtown Bennington and North Bennington. Of these, Old Bennington is the original settlement, dating back to 1761 when Congregational Separatists arrived from Connecticut and from Amherst and Hardwick, Massachusetts. In the early 1800s, Downtown Bennington started developing, and by 1854 the county's population had reached 18,589.

Battle of Bennington

Bennington Heights, VT August 16, 1777
Battle of Bennington Heights, August 16, 1777

The town is known in particular for the Battle of Bennington, which took place during the Revolutionary War. Although the battle took place approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the west in what is now the state of New York, an ammunition storage building located in Bennington was an important strategic target. On August 16, 1777, Gen. John Stark's 1,500-strong New Hampshire Militia defeated 800 German (Hessian) mercenaries, local Loyalists, Canadians and Indians under the command of German Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum. German reinforcements under the command of Lt. Col. Heinrich von Breymann looked set to reverse the outcome, but were prevented by the arrival of Seth Warner's Green Mountain Boys, the Vermont militia founded by Ethan Allen.

In 1891, the Bennington Battle Monument was opened. The monument is a 306-foot-high (93 m) stone obelisk that is the tallest human-made structure in Vermont. It is a popular tourist attraction.

Geography

Bennington is located in southwestern Bennington County at .

To the west is New York State, Pownal, Vermont is to the south, Shaftsbury, Vermont is to the north and Woodford, Vermont is to the east.

Due to its location in the southernmost portion of Vermont, it is geographically closer to the capital cities of Albany, Hartford, and Concord than it is to its own state capital, Montpelier.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.5 square miles (110.1 km2), of which 42.2 square miles (109.4 km2) are land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 0.59%, is water. Bennington is drained by the Walloomsac River and its tributaries, flowing to the Hoosic and then the Hudson River. The town is located along the western edge of the Green Mountains, including Bald Mountain, which occupies the northeastern edge of town. (Its 2,857-foot (871 m) summit is just over the town line in Woodford.) In the southwest part of town is 2,350-foot (720 m) Mount Anthony, part of the Taconic Range.

Climate

See also: Climate of New England and Climate of Vermont

Bennington experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with cold, snowy winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Snowfall can vary greatly from year to year. The town can experience snowfall as early as October and as late as April, and the surrounding high country can receive snow as late as May. Nor'easters often dump heavy snow and wind on the town during the winter, and accumulations of one foot of snow or greater are not uncommon when these storms move through the area. One such storm dumped very wet, heavy snow on October 4, 1987, catching many residents off guard because it occurred quite early in that year's fall season. The storm resulted in many downed trees and power lines, due in part to that year's fall foliage still being intact. Abundant sunshine, along with heavy showers and thunderstorms, are frequent during the summer months. Although tornadoes seldomly occur there, an F2 tornado did hit North Bennington on May 31, 1998 during an extremely rare tornado outbreak in the region.

The record high is 98 °F (37 °C), set in 1955. The record low is −25 °F (−32 °C), set in 1994. July is typically the wettest month, and February is the driest. Bennington averages 60.77 inches (154 cm) of snow annually.

Bennington lies in USDA plant hardiness zone 5a.

Climate data for Bennington, Vermont
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 61
(16.1)
63
(17.2)
81
(27.2)
88
(31.1)
90
(32.2)
93
(33.9)
98
(36.7)
98
(36.7)
96
(35.6)
84
(28.9)
78
(25.6)
66
(18.9)
98
(36.7)
Average high °F (°C) 30.7
(-0.72)
34.7
(1.5)
43.8
(6.56)
56.7
(13.72)
67.0
(19.44)
75.0
(23.89)
79.4
(26.33)
77.7
(25.39)
70.4
(21.33)
58.7
(14.83)
47.5
(8.61)
35.7
(2.06)
56.5
(13.61)
Average low °F (°C) 11.6
(-11.33)
15.3
(-9.28)
22.7
(-5.17)
34.3
(1.28)
43.3
(6.28)
52.4
(11.33)
57.0
(13.89)
55.2
(12.89)
47.4
(8.56)
36.4
(2.44)
29.7
(-1.28)
19.5
(-6.94)
35.5
(1.94)
Record low °F (°C) -25
(-31.7)
-25
(-31.7)
-15
(-26.1)
7
(-13.9)
23
(-5)
29
(-1.7)
38
(3.3)
32
(0)
24
(-4.4)
16
(-8.9)
-1
(-18.3)
-20
(-28.9)
-25
(-31.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.75
(69.9)
2.24
(56.9)
3.15
(80)
3.27
(83.1)
3.66
(93)
4.13
(104.9)
4.34
(110.2)
4.00
(101.6)
3.57
(90.7)
3.69
(93.7)
3.11
(79)
2.79
(70.9)
40.70
(1,033.8)
Source #1: NWS Office, Albany NY
Source #2: The Weather Channel

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 2,377
1800 2,243 −5.6%
1810 2,524 12.5%
1820 2,485 −1.5%
1830 3,419 37.6%
1840 3,429 0.3%
1850 3,932 14.7%
1860 4,389 11.6%
1870 5,760 31.2%
1880 6,333 9.9%
1890 6,391 0.9%
1900 8,033 25.7%
1910 8,698 8.3%
1920 9,982 14.8%
1930 10,628 6.5%
1940 11,257 5.9%
1950 12,411 10.3%
1960 13,002 4.8%
1970 14,586 12.2%
1980 15,815 8.4%
1990 16,451 4.0%
2000 15,737 −4.3%
2010 15,764 0.2%
Est. 2014 15,431 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 US census, there were 15,764 people, 6,246 households, and 3,716 families residing in the town. The population density was 370.92 people per square mile (143.18/km2). There were 6,763 housing units at an average density of 159.3 per square mile (61.4/km2). The ethnic/racial makeup of the town was 95.9% White, 1.3% from two or more races, 1.2% Black, 0.8% Asian, 0.4% from other races, 0.3% Native American, and 0.1% Pacific Islander. Latino of any race were 1.7% of the population.

There were 6,246 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were couples living together and joined in either marriage or civil union, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.5% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the town, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 87.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $39,765, and the median income for a family was $51,489. Males had a median income of $39,406 versus $30,322 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,560. About 14.2% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.0% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Roads and highways

Bennington is the largest town, and the second largest municipality in Vermont (after Rutland City), that is not located on or near either of Vermont's two major Interstate highways. It is, however, signed on Interstate 91 at Exit 2 in Brattleboro and Interstate 787 at Exit 9E in Green Island, New York.

Five highways cross the town, including two limited-access freeways. They are:

  • US 7.svg U.S. Route 7 ("Ethan Allen Highway")
  • Vermont 9.svg Vermont Route 9 ("Molly Stark Trail")
  • Vermont 7A.svg Vermont Route 7A ("Shires of Vermont Byway")
  • Vermont 67A.svg Vermont Route 67A
  • Vermont 279.svg Vermont Route 279 ("Bennington Bypass")
Historic bennington vermont sign
The sign for historic Bennington, Vermont
US 7 South, Bennington VT
US Route 7 southbound, north of Exit 1 in Bennington

U.S. Route 7, originating in Connecticut and continuing northward to the Canada–US border, enters Bennington from the town of Pownal, winding its way through the rural countryside in the southern portion of town as a two-way traffic, two-lane surface street. Its names are South Street and North Street in the downtown district, meeting Route 9 at an intersection in downtown known locally as the "Four Corners", but officially known as Putnam Square as the Putnam House sits on the southwest corner of the intersection. It then becomes a divided highway just south of the intersection between Northside Drive and Kocher Drive. From there, it is a 4-lane limited access highway with two interchanges within the town before entering Shaftsbury as a Super 2 freeway as it connects Bennington with Manchester and Rutland to the north. Route 7 is also known as the Ethan Allen Highway for most of its length within Vermont.

VT Route 9 enters the town from the New York border in Hoosick, where the roadway continues west as NY Route 7, connecting to New York state's Capital District. Route 9 is two lanes wide with two-way traffic over its entire segment in Bennington, intersecting with US Route 7 at "Four Corners" in the downtown district. It leaves Bennington approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the half-completed SPUI interchange at the eastern end of VT Route 279, continuing toward Wilmington and Brattleboro and connecting the town to ski areas such as Mount Snow to the east. Its local street names in town are West Road (westward from Old Bennington to the New York border), Monument Avenue (on a short section of the rotary near the Old First Church) and Main Street. The entire portion of Route 9 within Vermont is also known as the Molly Stark Trail.

VT Route 279, also known as the Bennington Bypass, is a Super 2 freeway whose northern segment began construction in August 2007. This segment of Route 279 was completed and officially opened to traffic on August 30, 2012. The western segment, which continues westward as NY Reference Route 915G (unsigned) into Hoosick, New York, before meeting NY Route 7 at an at-grade intersection, and the first segment to be built, officially opened to traffic on October 12, 2004. This road forms a rough semi-circle shape around and north of the unincorporated portion of the town, loosely parallelling VT Route 9 while doing so. In addition, a Vermont Welcome Center, located at the center of Route 279's interchange with US 7, officially opened on October 11, 2013.

Historic VT Route 7A, so named to distinguish it from the freeway portion of US 7, is the former alignment of that road prior to the freeway being built. It begins at an at-grade intersection with US 7 and continues east as Kocher Drive, and northwestward from this intersection where the route begins as Northside Drive. This segment passes much of Bennington's big box store and fast food restaurant development in the northern part of the town. Route 7A then splits from Northside Drive to the right where it continues northward as the Shires of Vermont Byway, paralleling Route 7 to the west. It is a two-lane road from there, passing under VT Route 279 with no interchange. A trumpet interchange connects Route 7A back with Route 7 (where it is Exit 2 from that highway) before entering Shaftsbury to the north.

Vermont Route 67A remains within Bennington for its entire length. The route begins at an intersection with Route 67, continuing southward as Water Street in the village of North Bennington, passing by several manufacturing companines along the way. It then turns southeastward, closely paralleling the Walloomsac River along its northern banks, and briefly becomes a 4-lane divided surface arterial past Bennington College where it meets VT 279 at a parclo interchange. This segment is known as North Bennington Road, all the way to its southern end where the road continues southeastward as Route 7A and Northside Drive (mentioned above).

Bus

GMCN bus bennington
GMCN "Green Mountain Express" bus at the GMCN bus terminal
VT Translines bus 286
Vermont Translines bus in downtown Bennington

Bennington is home to the Green Mountain Community Network (GMCN), who operate the local Green Mountain Express bus service. As of September 29, 2014, they provide 5 in-town routes Monday through Saturday from 7:35 am to 6 pm on weekdays, and 3 out of town commuter routes serving Manchester (weekdays and Saturdays), Williamstown (weekdays) and Wilmington (weekdays in collaboration with Southeast Vermont Transit, formerly the Deerfield Valley Transit Association's, "MOOver"), and intermediate points. A transit center for the bus company and passengers officially opened on Pleasant Street July 9, 2012.

Intercity bus service is provided by the weekday operating Yankee Trails World Travel's Albany-Bennington Shuttle, as well as by Premier Coach's Vermont Translines, in its partnership with Greyhound, which operates its Albany to Burlington bus line daily. Service on the latter bus route began June 9, 2014. Both buses serve the town from GMCN's bus terminal.

Taxi

A few taxi companies, including Bennington Taxi and Monument Taxi, currently serve Bennington and surrounding areas.

Rail

The Vermont Railway freight rail line, and an exempt rail spur, traverses Bennington in the northern portions. The closest Amtrak train station is the Albany-Rensselaer station in Rensselaer, New York.

There has been talk of bringing Amtrak Thruway intercity bus service to Bennington as recently as April 2016, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) submitted a study to the state legislature for approval in January 2016 that also evaluated the impact of a bus stop for this projected bus route in Manchester. Rerouting the Ethan Allen Express train through North Bennington and Manchester has been discussed at least since December 2012 as well. It is possible that the Thruway bus service will start connecting Bennington and Manchester with the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak train station in the summer of 2017.

Air

William H. Morse State Airport is a public-use, state-owned airport located about 3 miles (5 km) west of downtown Bennington. Also referred to as "Southwest Vermont's Airport", it sits near the northern flank of Mount Anthony and close to the Bennington Battle Monument. Based at this airport is the hub of cargo air carrier AirNow. The closest commercial passenger airport to Bennington is Albany International Airport.

Places of worship

First Congregational Church of Bennington - 1804
First Congregational Church in Bennington
Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church (Bennington, VT), exterior1
Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church in Bennington

There are 21 places of worship in Bennington, 20 Christian and one Jewish, and at least 18 denominations. The following list does not included places of worship in North Bennington, which is an incorporated village in Bennington.

  • Bennington Church of Christ (Churches of Christ)
  • Bennington Friends Meeting (Quaker)
  • Bennington Seventh-day Adventist Church (Seventh-day Adventist)
  • Bible Baptist Church of Bennington (Independent Baptist)
  • Church Of God Iglesia De Dios Alfa & Omega
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Bennington, Vermont (Latter-day Saints)
  • Congregation Beth El (Reconstructionist Judaism)
  • First Baptist Church of Bennington (American Baptist Churches USA)
  • First Congregational Church of Bennington (National Association of Congregational Christian Churches)
  • First United Methodist Church of Bennington (United Methodist)
  • Greater Grace Bennington
  • Green Mountain Christian Center (Assemblies of God USA)
  • Green Mountain Mennonite Fellowship (Mennonite Church USA)
  • Harvest Christian Ministries
  • Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses (Jehovah's Witnesses)
  • Missionary Alliance Church (Christian and Missionary Alliance)
  • The Salvation Army (The Salvation Army
  • Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church (Roman Catholic)
  • Second Congregational Church (United Church of Christ)
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bennington (Unitarian Universalist)

Former places of worship

  • Chapel Road Church of God
  • First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science)
  • Sacred Heart Church (Roman Catholic)

Parks and recreation

The town runs Willow Park, a large park north of downtown, which hosts athletic fields, an 18-hole disc-golf course, a common area for group functions and a large children's playground. The town also runs a recreation center on Gage Street, which contains a large indoor year-round swimming pool, softball fields, outdoor basketball court and weight room. Bennington also has a small network of mostly disconnected multi-use recreational trails; there are plans to better connect these paths in the future.

The closest state parks to Bennington are Lake Shaftsbury State Park in Shaftsbury and Woodford State Park in Woodford. The Long Trail and Appalachian Trail overlap each other as they pass the town just to the east.

Culture

Arts

Bennington is the home of the Chamber Music Conference and Composers' Forum of the East, a summer institute for amateur musicians. The Conference is held on the campus of Bennington College, and has been located in Bennington for nearly all of its seasons since it was founded in 1946. The Conference also includes a chamber music festival each summer, performed by faculty members at Greenwall Auditorium on the Bennington College campus, with six concerts held between mid-July and mid-August. Bennington is also home to the Oldcastle Theatre Company, a small professional theatre with a special interest in encouraging New England plays.

Bennington College, in the village of North Bennington, has been the home base for Sage City Symphony since its founding in 1973 by Louis Calabro. The Symphony plays a challenging program of the traditional repertoire as well as commissioning a new work each year.

The Vermont Arts Exchange is a non-profit community arts organization based in the old mill town of North Bennington. The mission of the VAE is to strengthen communities and neighborhoods through the arts. Within the old mill in North Bennington are exhibitions, artist and community workspaces, as well as a successful performance venue in the basement which hosts the Basement Music Series. Concerts run year round and showcase a variety of nationally acclaimed musicians.

Bennington is home to the Bennington County Choral Society, the Bennington Children's Chorus and the Green Mountain Youth Orchestra.

2011 Bennington, VT Battle Day parade
Bennington Battle Day Parade, held annually in August

Annual events

  • First Fridays in Downtown Bennington, July through October
  • Fallapalooza!, store-to-store trick-or-treating on the Saturday before Halloween
  • The Winter Festival and Penguin Plunge at Lake Paran in North Bennington in late January, benefits Special Olympics of Vermont
  • The St. Patrick's Day Parade in March
  • Mayfest in May, an annual showcase of local business vendors
  • The Memorial Day Parade in May
  • Midnight Madness in July, hours and discounts vary but nearly all retailers participate; 7PM to midnight
  • The Bennington Battle Day Parade in August
  • The Garlic and Herb Festival during Labor Day Weekend
  • The Festival of Trees in late November and early December

Print media

Bennington's local newspaper is the Bennington Banner, with a daily circulation of 7,800. News is also carried in the Troy Record, Rutland Herald and Manchester Journal.

Radio and television

Bennington is located in a fringe viewing area of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy television market. In addition to the Albany television stations, which include WRGB (CBS), WTEN (ABC), WNYT (NBC), WXXA-TV (Fox) and WMHT (PBS), Comcast carries WCAX-TV, the Burlington CBS affiliate, and Rutland Vermont PBS outlet WVER.

The radio stations WBTN-AM 1370 and VPR affiliate WBTN-FM 94.3 broadcast from, and are licensed to Bennington. The alternative music radio station WEQX is located in nearby Manchester. Bennington is also within range of several stations from Glens Falls and the Capital District.

Bennington is also the town of license for these radio station translators:

  • 93.5 FM W228BL (VPR Classical)
  • 98.5 FM W253AF (translator of WNGN-FM from Argyle, NY, Contemporary Christian)

Sites of interest

Robert Frost's grave - Bennington, VT
Robert Frost's grave
  • Bennington Battle Monument
  • Grandma Moses Gallery at the Bennington Museum
  • Park-McCullough Historic House, a well-preserved, 35-room, Victorian country house
  • Robert Frost's grave
  • Bennington College
  • Southern Vermont College

Photo gallery

In popular culture

  • 19th and 20th century American poet and playwright Robert Frost lived in, and is buried in Bennington.
  • Much of the 1974 action film The Catamount Killing, starring Horst Buchholz and Polly Holliday, was filmed in Bennington.
  • The Walloomsac Farmers Market, held in Bennington each Saturday, ranked #72 on The Daily Meal's 101 Best Farmer's Markets for 2014 list.
  • Southern Vermont College's Everett Mansion was featured in a 2015 episode of SyFy's Ghost Hunters.

Sister city

Images for kids


Bennington, Vermont Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.