Calef Library in Washington
|• Total||38.9 sq mi (100.7 km2)|
|• Land||38.9 sq mi (100.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,765 ft (538 m)|
|• Density||26.9/sq mi (10.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1462243|
Washington is a town in Orange County, Vermont, United States. The population was 1,047 at the 2000 census. The town is believed to be named after George Washington, the town may also be named after Washington, CT as there are records of individuals moving eponymous town in Connecticut to Vermont around 1766.
During the 1760s and 1770s the territory now known as Vermont was in dispute between New York and New Hampshire, the result of conflicting interpretations of each colony's charter. People moving into the territory, then known as New Connecticut or the New Hampshire Grants, generally settled after purchasing land grants from New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth.
When the British government resolved the dispute in New York's favor, the colonial government attempted to assert control over the grants and force residents who had purchased land grants from Wentworth to pay a fee and confirm their titles. Many Vermonters resisted, leading to creation of the Green Mountain Boys.
As part of New York's effort to demonstrate control over the grants, in 1770 it chartered the town of Kingsland far from New York in what was then remote Gloucester County. Kingsland had no record of any residents, but was designated as one of two county seats. A log jail and courthouse were constructed at the head of a stream named subsequently named the Jail Branch.
In 1781 the government of Vermont, by then an independent republic, re-chartered Kingsland and named it Washington. The town was uninhabited until 1785, when David Morse obtained title to 100 acres.
By 1792 the town was completely organized, and records for 1794 indicate that there were 32 freemen on its voter checklist.
Centered on the hilltop near the Jail Branch, the town consisted mainly of small sheep farms that produced wool. Between 1820 and 1829 there were two fulling mills and one carding mill in operation, and sheep raising peaked circa 1830. Washington's population peaked at 1400 in 1840, after which there was a steady decline, as wool production decreased due to increasing tariffs and other factors. Most farms and homes around the center of town on the hilltop were abandoned, and the center of town relocated downhill and further north, along the Jail Branch and what is now Vermont Route 110.
With the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s, the dairy industry expanded as urban markets became accessible. By 1895, Washington had enough dairy farms to make the operation of a creamery possible. As the granite industry grew in nearby towns, both it and the railroad bypassed Washington, which remained a low-population rural community centered on agriculture.
By the twentieth century dairy farms were increasingly competitive, and by the 1950s many small farms had ceased operation. By 1960 Washington's population had declined to 565.
Although Washington remains a rural community, most farms are no longer in operation, and the town has become a "bedroom community" whose residents commute to work in Barre, Montpelier, Burlington and other cities.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.9 square miles (100.7 km2), of which 38.9 square miles (100.6 km2) is land and 0.03% is water.
The town is south of U.S. Route 302.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,047 people, 406 households, and 291 families residing in the town. The population density was 26.9 people per square mile (10.4/km2). There were 528 housing units at an average density of 13.6 per square mile (5.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.23% White, 0.48% African American, 0.19% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.
There were 406 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.1% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 104.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $43,125, and the median income for a family was $50,500. Males had a median income of $29,674 versus $28,333 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,439. About 3.1% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Bartholomew, Geroge Wells. "Record of the Bartholomew Family." Salem Press, 1885. p.79.