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Colchester is a town in Chittenden County, Vermont, United States. The population was 17,067 as of the 2010 census.[3] It is the fourth-most populous municipality and second-most populous town in the state of Vermont.[4] Colchester is a suburb of Burlington–Vermont's most populous municipality. The town is directly to Burlington's north on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain to the west of the Green Mountains. The Vermont National Guard is based in the town, and it is also home to Saint Michael's College and the Vermont campuses of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Southern New Hampshire University.

Colchester, Vermont
View of Malletts Bay (part of Lake Champlain) from Bayside Park near the center of Colchester
View of Malletts Bay (part of Lake Champlain) from Bayside Park near the center of Colchester
Location in Chittenden County and the state of Vermont
Location in Chittenden County and the state of Vermont
Colchester, Vermont is located in the United States
Colchester, Vermont
Colchester, Vermont
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°32′31″N 73°11′48″W / 44.54194°N 73.19667°W / 44.54194; -73.19667Coordinates: 44°32′31″N 73°11′48″W / 44.54194°N 73.19667°W / 44.54194; -73.19667
CountryUnited States
Malletts Bay
Walnut Ledge
 • Total58.6 sq mi (151.7 km2)
 • Land36.3 sq mi (94.1 km2)
 • Water22.2 sq mi (57.6 km2)
95 ft (29 m)
 • Total17,067
 • Density470/sq mi (181.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
05439, 05446, 05449
Area code(s)802
FIPS code50-14875[1]
GNIS feature ID1462073[2]



Colchester is located on the shore of Malletts Bay, part of Lake Champlain. The westernmost part of the town touches the New York state border in the middle of the lake. To the northwest across the eastern arm of the lake lies the town of South Hero in Grand Isle County, Vermont. Chittenden County communities bordering Colchester are Milton to the northeast, Westford touching the easternmost point of Colchester, Essex to the southeast, and the cities of South Burlington, Winooski, and Burlington to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Colchester has a total area of 58.6 square miles (151.7 km2), of which 36.3 square miles (94.1 km2) is land and 22.2 square miles (57.6 km2), or 38.0%, is water.[3]

Topographical map of Colchester (partial). US Geological Survey, 1987.


About 2,000 years ago, during the Early Woodland period, pre-Columbian natives lived in the area.[5] Chartered June 7, 1763,[6] the town was named for the Earl of Colchester.[7]

Winooski Falls separated from the town of Colchester in 1922, causing Colchester to lose a large percentage of its population to the newly founded city of Winooski.[8]


Census Pop.
Est. 201417,384[9]1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 17,067 people, 6,576 households, and 4,184 families residing in the town. The population density was 470 people per square mile. There were 6,727 housing units at an average density of 182.4 per square mile (70.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.6% White, 1.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 1.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 6.1% spoke a language other than English at home.

As of the 2000 census, 34.1% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 22.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the town, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The Island Line Trail travels from Colchester across Lake Champlain to Grand Isle County; it is a former railroad line.


One measure of economic activity is retail sales. Colchester was fourth in the state in 2007 with $245.8 million.[11] Major employers in the town include the VNA of Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties, Saint Michael's College, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Green Mountain Power, Shaw's Supermarket, and Champlain Cable Corporation.[12]

In 2015, the town of Colchester made Fortune Magazine's list of "100 Best Places to Live" (ranked #100), along with Launch a Business and Money Magazine's list of "50 Best Places to Live" (ranked #40).[13] In 2017, Money Magazine listed Colchester In the top 100 places to live in America (ranked #86).

Personal incomeEdit

In 2014, the median household income for Colchester was $68,440; the per capita income was $30,877. Males had a median income of $38,268 versus $30,880 for females. About 5.4% of families, 8.2% of those under age 18, and 9.7% of those age 65 or over (total of 10.6% of the population) were below the poverty line. In 2011, the median home value was $246,269.[14]


There has been an annual "Lake Champlain International Father's Day Fishing Derby" (LCI) since 1981. In 2009, 6,000 fishermen entered.[15]

The lakeshore areas of Colchester get an influx of vacationers every summer from southern New England and the New York City area. Traffic, especially around the Fourth of July holiday, increases by a substantial margin.

Niquette Bay State Park offers hiking and swimming in Lake Champlain.


Elected officialsEdit

In the Vermont state legislature, Colchester residents are represented by Senator Richard Mazza (D) and Representatives Curt Taylor (D), Seth Chase (D), Sarita Austin (D), and Patrick Brennan (R).

Public safetyEdit

In 2008, property crimes increased by 36.9%. Overall, the number of crimes rose 28.9% to 1,486 incidents.[16]


Interstate 89 passes through the area, with exits 16 and 17 serving Colchester. Exit 16 connects to the concurrency of US Routes 2 and 7 (Roosevelt Highway), just north of Winooski. Exit 17 connects to US 2, which goes west to the Champlain Islands, and also to US 7, which heads north toward the town of Milton.[17]

Interstate 89 Exit 17 in Colchester (June 5, 2015)

In the southeastern part of Colchester, and also along the US Route 7 corridor, bus service is provided by Green Mountain Transit.

Vermont Translines provides scheduled bus service to Albany, New York via Burlington, as well as Hanover, New Hampshire and Lebanon, New Hampshire via a transfer at Rutland.[18]

Notable peopleEdit


Public school systemEdit

Around 2,200 children attend the five schools in Colchester's school district. The district consists of one high school, Colchester High School; one middle school, Colchester Middle School; and three elementary schools: Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, and Union Memorial School.

Colchester High School is home to the award-winning Colchester Theatre Company.

The Colchester School District underwent a teacher strike in October 2005. The strike began over pay increases but quickly escalated to include many other aspects of the system. The strike ended on October 23, 2005, with an agreement on pay between teachers and board, and school re-opened on Monday the 24th. Negotiations took place for around five hours on October 18, 2005, but resulted in no settlement, and again on the 23rd, resulting in the conclusion to the strike.





  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Colchester town, Chittenden County, Vermont". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  4. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): All County Subdivisions within Vermont". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  5. ^ Buscher, Sara (September 1, 2008). Archaeologists uncover site. Burlington Free Press.
  6. ^ "History of Colchester". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
  7. ^ "Profile for Colchester, Vermont". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  8. ^ Chase, Kim (10 June 2016) History Space: Winooski – a ‘p’tit Canada’ Burlington Free Press
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  11. ^ McLean, Dan (July 13, 2008). Retail Sales by the numbers. Burlington Free Press.
  12. ^ "Statistical Background Data of Colchester, Vermont". Economic Development. Town of Colchester. 2015. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  13. ^ "Best Places to Live 2015: 40. Colchester, Vt". Money. Time Inc. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  14. ^ "Statistical Background Data of Colchester, Vermont". Colchester. Town of Colchester. 2015. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  15. ^ Burlington Free Press, June 26, 2009, page 1B, "LCI Derby winners vetted," Joel Banner Baird
  16. ^ Sutkowsi, Matt (12 June 2009). "Property crimes increase in county". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. pp. 1B.
  17. ^ "Interstate 89" (PDF). VTrans Online Map Center. Vermont Department of Transportation. 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  18. ^ "Bus Routes". Vermont Translines. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  19. ^ "Program History". Southern New Hampshire University. Retrieved July 5, 2017.

External linksEdit