Preserve America Community:
Richford, Vermont, (population 2,200) is located on the Canadian border in the northeast part of the state. The town was chartered in 1780 and settled in 1795 with the arrival of Joseph Stanhope. A bridge, a blacksmith shop, a trip-hammer shop, and a distillery were built near the town falls, in the area that developed into the village of Richford.
Population grew by the mid-1800s as the town turned into a lively rural trading center that boasted two railroad lines, a gristmill, a sawmill, a hotel, and a general store. Lumber barons built factories to manufacture such products as butter tubs, windows, furniture, and the many homes needed to house Richford’s new residents. The 1870 census recorded a population of 1,481, which increased to 2,196 by 1890.
Many of the commercial buildings, homes, and churches built in the late 1800s through the early 20th century remain today as an example of Richford’s historic heritage.
The flood of 1927, Vermont’s greatest natural disaster, devastated the village. Damage was massive, with losses estimated at $500,000 (in 1927 dollars) in the village alone. In typical Yankee fashion, residents pulled together to turn things around as soon as the floodwaters subsided.
Recently, a number of public and private groups collaborated to restore the Main Street Mill, located in the Sweat-Comings Furniture Mill. The furniture mill was the hub of Richford activity in the early 1900s but had become uninhabitable by the late 1990s. Today the restored building houses a supermarket, office space, and apartments.
The Richford Historical Society operates a museum in the old fire station in downtown Richford, which houses historical artifacts. The society also sponsors community events, such as Old Home Days, an annual observance that dates to 1892.
For more information
Town of Richford: www.richfordvt.com
Posted May 14, 2009