Winooski, Vermont

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Winooski, Vermont
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Winooski
Official seal of Winooski, Vermont
Nickname(s): Onion City
Location in Chittenden County and the state of Vermont.
Location in Chittenden County and the state of Vermont.
Winooski, Vermont is located in USA
Winooski, Vermont
Winooski, Vermont
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°29′42″N 73°10′57″W / 44.49500°N 73.18250°W / 44.49500; -73.18250Coordinates: 44°29′42″N 73°10′57″W / 44.49500°N 73.18250°W / 44.49500; -73.18250
Country United States
State Vermont
County Chittenden
 • Mayor Seth Leonard
 • Total 1.5 sq mi (3.9 km2)
 • Land 1.4 sq mi (3.7 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 177 ft (54 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,267
 • Density 5,190.7/sq mi (1,964.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 05404
Area code(s) 802
FIPS code 50-85150[1]
GNIS feature ID 1460302[2]

Winooski /wɪˈnski/ is a city in Chittenden County, Vermont, in the United States. Located at the mouth of the Winooski River, as of the 2010 census the city population was 7,267.[3] It is part of the Burlington-South Burlington, VT Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is bordered by Burlington and Colchester. It is the most ethnically diverse city in Vermont, and even considered the most diverse city of northern New England, comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It also is home to many immigrants, from countries such as Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda, Somalia, and Bhutan.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which 1.4 square miles (3.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km2) (5.30%) is water.


As early as 750 AD, the Abenaki tribe lived along the shores of a cascading waterfall in a fertile river valley they called "winoskitegw", meaning “land of the wild onion”. ,[4] Winooski's southern border is formed by the Winooski River, which is alternatively known as the Onion River.[5]



Five thousand years ago a single family of paleolithic native Americans came to what is now the city.[citation needed] The prehistoric campground for this transient group is one of Vermont's significant archaeological sites. Other native people came to Winooski in the years that followed.[6]


Situated on a main travel route, Winooski most likely started out as a trading city.[citation needed] With a set of waterfalls to assist the growth of industry, it soon became a center for wool processing.[6]

In the early 1770s Ira Allen constructed a blockhouse on the Winooski (then "Onion") River which served both as a fort and as general store and office for the land-speculating "Onion River Company." "Fort Frederick" was never used for defense, but its presence increased the value of Onion River property and promoted settlement.[6]


Further information: Winooski Falls Mill District

After the Revolutionary War, Ira Allen built a dam across the river with a sawmill at each end.[6]

In the late 1830s the Burlington Mill Company used the river's power for the manufacture of yarns and cloth.[7]

In 1846, James and Lucinda Stone from Winooski settled in Sheboygan County in the Wisconsin Territory and named their new settlement Winooski, Wisconsin.

Modern times[edit]

The American Woolen Company purchased the failing Burlington Mills in 1901 restoring a measure of economic growth to the area.[8] This success eventually led Winooski to incorporate as a city in 1922, breaking away from the town of Colchester.

The mills closed in 1954, resulting in two decades of economic problems for the city.[9] In the 1980s, two old mills were converted into commercial, office, and apartment space, helping to revitalize the area.[9]

In 1979, the city researched the construction of a dome over the entire city of Winooski, to reduce heating costs during the winter. The proposed dome would have been 200 feet (61 m) at the center, and internal combustion engines would have been banned.[10] Though the dome was never built, to this day the city's planner defends the concept, insisting "Economically, it's a slam dunk," and adding "You could have had year-round fly-fishing."[11]

In 2008, the city dismissed their city manager of 11 months, while he was still an "at-will" employee. His contract had been scheduled for three years.[12]


The Mayor of the city is Seth Leonard.[13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 2,833
1890 3,659 29.2%
1900 3,659 0.0%
1910 4,520 23.5%
1920 4,932 9.1%
1930 5,308 7.6%
1940 6,036 13.7%
1950 6,734 11.6%
1960 7,420 10.2%
1970 7,309 −1.5%
1980 6,318 −13.6%
1990 6,649 5.2%
2000 6,561 −1.3%
2010 7,267 10.8%
Est. 2014 7,228 [14] −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 7,267 people and 3,252 households residing in the city. The population density was 4,844 people per square mile (1,964.1/km2). There were 3,393 housing units at an average density of 2,107.5 per square mile (814.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.5% White (81.5% non-Hispanic White alone), 6.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.2% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 3.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population. 36% of the population are of French and French Canadian ancestry, 13% Irish, 8% English, and 5% Italian or German.[16]

There were 3,252 households, of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were couples living together and joined in either marriage or civil union, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.2% were non-families. 36.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.98. 14.4% of the city's total population was born outside of the United States.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 34.8% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

Mill and falls in Winooski


Personal income[edit]

The median income for a household in the city was $30,592, and the median income for a family was $38,551. Males had a median income of $30,257 versus $21,168 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,208. About 10.2% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.8% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.


Winooski hosts the headquarters of VSAC, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Their new headquarters is a large part of the city's downtown redevelopment project.[citation needed]


Bus service is provided by Chittenden County Transportation Authority.

Notable people[edit]


External links[edit]