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Burlington History, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, began as a settlement being part of the New Hampshire land grants’ program undertaken by Governor Benning Wentworth. Like in the other Vermont-city, Springfield, Burlington land grants were given towards the closing days of the New Hampshire land grants’ program (while Springfield was leased in 1761, Burlington was chartered in 1763). Interestingly both Burlington and Springfield are names common to many US-cities (as opposed to a city like Cedar Rapids) and more than 25 of the 50 US-states have at least a city named either Burlington or Springfield. In the following lines you can read a period-wise description of Burlington history.

Burlington History – The 18th Century

The opening chapter of Burlington history dates back to the New Hampshire land grants’ days of the late 18th century when the land was granted to Samuel Willis and 63 other persons on July 7, 1963. The lands, however, were not settled immediately; in fact, it took another 20 years for the settlers to finally come here. The first family to settle in Burlington was that of Stephen Lawrence and a planned township was formed only in 1785.

The other important 18th century event was certainly naming Burlington as the County Seat of Chittenden County (and it continues to be so even today). The University of Vermont was established in Burlington in the year 1791 (the same year that Vermont joined the Federal Union as the 14th State).

Burlington History – The 19th Century

The 19th century proved very eventful. First, the annual session of the Vermont Legislature was held in Burlington in 1802. The War of 1812 happened a decade later – although Vermont was not actively involved in the war and had opposed the war, American troops were stationed in Burlington. The town saw some real action on August 2, 1813, when it was shelled by the British Army. The shelling, of course, did not cause much damage; instead, the victory of the American forces in the Battle of Lake Champlain turned the tide in favor of the city.

By the 1830s, Burlington was a bustling town – one of Vermont’s leading commercial and industrial centers. This was largely possible due to the completion of the different Canal projects – Champlain Canal (1823), Erie Canal (1825) and Chambly Canal (1843). Burlington continued to make progress at a steady pace through the 1830s, 40s and 50s. By 1850s, Burlington became connected to all major railroads that ran through this part of the United States.

1865 has been an important year for Burlington history, for it is in this particular year that the old town of Burlington was divided into two settlements – while one of the settlements became the City of Burlington, the other was named South Burlington. The construction of the Pine Street Barge Canal in 1870 was perhaps the last important 19th century event in Burlington history.

Burlington History – 20th and 21st Centuries

Burlington continued on its path of progress throughout the 20th century. Present-day Burlington is such a well-organized city with such great infrastructure and facilities, easy living standards that it has been voted among the most inhabitable places in the US by the non-governmental, non-profit organization, AARP.

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