Preserve America Community:
Brandon, Vermont, (population 3,972), chartered in 1761, quickly became an important mill town on the Neshobe River. Local resources made Brandon a center of iron production, marble quarrying, wood manufacturing, and farming. In 1834, Thomas Davenport invented and patented the electric motor in Brandon and the Howe Scale works was based here until 1877.
Brandon’s downtown has an unusual layout with two village greens and all 243 buildings in the core village are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Downtown revitalization began with replacing the steeple of the landmark Baptist Church, lost to a 1950 hurricane, and continues today with renovation of the 1861 Town Hall, closed since 1981.
The Conant Block, an 1840s Federal-style commercial building in the heart of Brandon, has been renovated and houses a variety of businesses. The deteriorating, centrally located Smith Block is now being stabilized and renovated privately, following engineering studies, economic analysis and marketing by a public-private partnership of the town and the Downtown Community Development Corporation.
The former campus of the Brandon Training School is being adaptively reused as a childcare facility, a medical clinic, and rental apartments for families and seniors. This creative reuse of historic buildings both attracts tourists and creates a stronger sense of community for residents.
Brandon is a Vermont “Designated Downtown” and has received Transportation Enhancement grant funding for a walking path along a historic dam. The Chamber of Commerce publishes a walking tour of Brandon Historical Village.
For more information
Town of Brandon www.town.brandon.vt.us
Brandon Chamber of Commerce www.brandon.org
Posted May 14, 2009