Every town in America has name, but did you ever wonder where the names come from? Well here is the history behind some of the town names in Vermont, and boy are they interesting. Some are named after people, others after places, and some little tidbits are a bit funny! You’ll love the stories behind these town names, and we would love for you share more tidbits you have about other town names below!
The small town of Peru has had a few name changes. Originally named Bromley in 1761, the residents felt that their town name should sound more affluent, and in 1804, it was officially changed to Peru. The name unofficially changed to Hadleyville in the late 1980s, but the new change was in temporary signage only. You see, the town of Peru was the backdrop for the box office hit "Baby Boom" where the town in the movie was named Hadleyville. The correct signs (with the name Peru) were changed back once the filming was complete.
The residents of Vershire wanted to show the close friendship between New Hampshire and Vermont towns in the Connecticut River Valley, so they combined Vermont with New Hampshire. Hence, Vershire.
This one may be obvious if you know of the Allens, heroes of Vermont. Ira is named after none other than Ira Allen.
In fact, Ira and Irasburg are both named after Ira Allen, who was one of the founders of Vermont, and leaders of the Green Mountain Boys.
5. North and South Hero
North Hero and South Hero were once called "Two Heroes" after Ethan and Ira Allen. Vermont clearly loves those guys!
Another Allen town is Alburgh, which was formerly known as Allensburg.
7. Washington County
While this is a county and not a town, it's interesting to note that was originally named Jefferson County from 1810-1814, after President Thomas Jefferson.
One of the northernmost towns in Orleans County, Jay was named after John Jay, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Jay is home to the Jay Challenge, an annual combination adventure race and triathlon consisting of a three-day event comprising a 26 miles kayaking from the northern to southern end of Lake Memphremagog, a 30.5 miles run over rough terrain and 65 miles of mountain biking. It claims to be "the largest offroad stage race in North America," with 700-1000 racers each year. Go Jay!
Stannard was named after George J. Stannard, who was a Vermont farmer, teacher, and Union general in the American Civil War.
Proctor took its name from the Proctor marble family, who produced four Vermont governors, including Redfield Proctor.
Franklin County was named after Benjamin Franklin, but the town was not. Franklin, which was originally called Huntsburg and took its new name from the county, hoping that it would become the county seat instead of St. Albans. Sneaky move, Franklin!
You would think the town was named after Abraham Lincoln, but it was really named after Benjamin Lincoln, major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
Ripton once had a colorful character named Samuel Damon, who was full of both wit and town history. In 1859 Damon told the version of how the town Ripton came to be as “It has its present size obtained by ripping from other towns.” Although some of the town land came from surrounding towns, the name actually came from the community of Stratford, Connecticut, and was originally Riptown.
There are a few theories about how Weybridge got its name. The first is after Weybridge, Massachusetts, because of the number of settlers from MA. But the name came before the settlers, so this theory is unlikely. Also unlikely is that it was named after the five bridges in town. Again, the name came before the people (and therefore the bridges) so this, too, is not the case. It is suspected that one of the grantees had some ties with Weybridge in Surry, England, but no one is quite sure what those ties are.
Glastenbury was pronounced by the English “Glossenburry,” so that’s how it is written on the original charter in 1761. However, the English spelling is Glastonbury so when, years later, Vermonters corrected the spelling they still misspelled it. And here we have today: Glastenbury.
The residents of Sandgate believe the town was named after the English town Sandgate which is on the English Channel. It means “the gate to a sandy shore.” The name has only been used in one other place – a resort community in Brisbane, Australia. Pictured is the Sandgate Fire House.
The town was originally chartered in 1782 as Billymead. One of the town members named the town after his son Billy. The second half of the town name is mead, which one definition is a meadow and the second is a type of alcoholic beverage. While the meaning was likely to translate to "Billy's meadow," Billy had more of liking for mead. The town, fed up with a drunken Billy, ohwhelmingly voted to change to town's name to Sutton in 1812.
This town was most likely named after the well known suburb of London. However, a popular tale which has been reported many times over the years is that the town was named after a toll road across northern Vermont which had a very high gate. This is fanciful at best, because there were no roads or inhabitants when the town was named in 1763.
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