Vergennes, Vermont

Vergennes /vərˈɛnz/ is a city located in the northwest quadrant of Addison County, Vermont. The municipality is bordered by the towns of Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,588. It is the smallest of Vermont's nine cities in terms of population, though the city of Winooski covers a smaller area. It was the first city chartered in the state of Vermont.[7]

Vergennes, Vermont
Official seal of Vergennes, Vermont
Little City on the Falls[1]
Location in Addison County and the state of Vermont.
Location in Addison County and the state of Vermont.
Coordinates: 44°9′56″N 73°15′8″W / 44.16556°N 73.25222°W / 44.16556; -73.25222Coordinates: 44°9′56″N 73°15′8″W / 44.16556°N 73.25222°W / 44.16556; -73.25222
CountryUnited States
Incorporated as a city1788
 • MayorJeff Fritz[2]
 • Total2.55 sq mi (6.62 km2)
 • Land2.48 sq mi (6.42 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
194 ft (59 m)
 • Total2,588
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,050.06/sq mi (405.39/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code802 Exchange: 877
FIPS code50-74650[5]
GNIS feature ID1460018[6]


Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes

Vergennes was settled in 1766 by Donald MacIntosh. It was established as a city in 1788,[1] the only one in Vermont not to have been first chartered as a town or independent village. Instead, intersecting portions of the pre-existing towns of New Haven, Panton and Ferrisburg at the Otter Creek Falls were combined to form Vergennes.[1] It is the smallest city by population in Vermont.

The city is named for Frenchman Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, who greatly aided the rebel colonial effort in the American Revolutionary War.[8]

Here, Thomas Macdonough built and armed the fleet that defeated the British on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. The Monkton Iron Company (which was at the time the largest iron works in the nation) manufactured the fittings for Macdonough's fleet, as well as most of the cannon shot used by the United States Army in the north. The ore used was mined in nearby Monkton. USS Saratoga, USS Eagle, USS Ticonderoga, and USS Preble were built or refitted in Vergennes as a part of that fleet.[9]

Organizers chose a city form of municipal government in anticipation of developing the area as an industrial center. The Otter Creek Falls provided power for mills and factories, and the close access to the Lake Champlain waterway was ideal for transportation both north and south. Industry boomed in the late nineteenth century; in particular, shipping connected to the Champlain Canal and wood-finishing related to lumber imported from Canada. As railways supplanted and bypassed the canal system, manufacturing declined in the city. A railroad spur from Ferrisburgh to the base of the falls proved a failure, as the grades were too steep for practical operations.

Commercial decline continued in the twentieth century, narrowing down to a few surviving companies. In the early years of the 21st century, a group of civic boosters and merchants improved the downtown area along Main Street and reconnected the city to its waterways. The resulting development, catering to tourists and transients, is hampered by centralization of land ownership and escalation of commercial rents.[citation needed]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), of which 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (4.0%) is water.

Otter Creek flows north through the town. In the middle of town is a 37-foot (11 m) waterfall, with a large basin which occasionally floods.


Vergennes Police Department
St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Main Street next to the City Hall
Vergennes City Hall and Opera House
Census Pop.
Est. 20182,601[4]0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the census[5] of 2010, there were 2,588 people, 979 households, and 632 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,141.1 people per square mile (441.0/km2). There were 1,032 housing units at an average density of 429.6 per square mile (166.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.8% White, 3.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.

There were 979 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 28.4% under the age of 18, 13.1% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.


Personal incomeEdit

The median income for a household in the city was $37,763, and the median income for a family was $48,155. Males had a median income of $33,669 versus $20,527 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,465. About 8.1% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 16.0% of those age 65 or over.


Vermont Route 22A runs through the city, and makes a junction with U.S. Highway 7 on the northern outskirts of Vergennes.

Until 1953 the Rutland Railroad ran passenger service on the Green Mountain Flyer (New York City - Montreal), making stops in the city.[11] It is anticipated that Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express will make a stop at the city when the train is extended to Burlington in 2021 or 2022.[12]


Vergennes has four schools: Vergennes Union Elementary School, Vergennes Union High School, Champlain Valley Christian School, and Northlands Job Corps Center, the former Weeks School, which served as an orphanage and juvenile delinquent home until the late 1970s, in the same facility.

Vergennes Union High School also offers an alternative public program, the Walden Project, available to area students.


The Bixby Memorial Free Library

The city features the Vergennes Opera House, which has weekly events involving the community and special guests, bands, singers, politicians and theater groups. The city has a library, the Bixby Memorial Free Library. Bixby Memorial Library hosts a variety of events such as a book club, writing workshops, children's story hour, and bridge club.[13]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Vergennes, VT".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "2018 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Feb 16, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ City of Vergennes. (n.d.). City of Vergennes. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  9. ^ Lou Varricchio (July 11, 2017). "Made in Vermont: Building America's first USS Saratoga, Part 1". Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  11. ^ American Rails, "Mount Royal,"
  12. ^ Flowers, John (April 30, 2018). "Middlebury begins search for passenger rail platform". Addison County Independent. Archived 2019-07-07 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Welcome • Bixby Memorial Free Library". Bixby Memorial Free Library.
  14. ^ Crockett, Walter Hill (1923). Vermont, The Green Mountain State. 5. New York, NY: Century History Company. p. 187.
  15. ^ Smith, Henry Perry (1886). History of Addison County, Vermont. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co. p. 653 – via Internet Archive.
  16. ^ Ullery, Jacob G. (1894). Men of Vermont Illustrated. Brattleboro, VT: Transcript Publishing Company. pp. 183–184.
  17. ^ Ullery, Jacob G. (1894). Men of Vermont Illustrated. Brattleboro, VT: Transcript Publishing Company. p. 176.

External linksEdit