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Bennington

Geography

Bennington lies in the Valley of Vermont between the Taconic Range to the west and the Green Mountains to the west. The Walloomsac River runs through the town with two-thirds of the land area, including the downtown, to the south. In the southwestern area of the town sits Mount Anthony with the highest elevation at 2,343'.

History

Bennington Battle Monument
First of the New Hampshire grants, Bennington was chartered on January 3, 1749 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth and named in his honor. It was granted to William Williams and 61 others, mostly from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The town was first settled in 1761 by four families from Hardwick and two from Amherst, Massachusetts. They were led by Capt. Samuel Robinson, who camped in the river valley on his return from the French and Indian War.

The town is known primarily for the Battle of Bennington, fought during the Revolutionary War (the battle was actually fought a few miles to the west in New York). On August 16, 1777, Gen. John Stark’s 1,500 New Hampshire Militia defeated 800 troops of German mercenaries, local Loyalists, Canadians and Indians under German Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum. German reinforcements under the command of Lt. Col. Heinrich von Breymann looked set to reverse the outcome, but were prevented by the arrival of Seth Warner’s Green Mountain Boys; the Vermont militia founded by Ethan Allen.

There are three historic districts within the town today: Old Bennington, Downtown Bennington and North Bennington. Of these, Old Bennington is the original settlement, dating back to 1761 when Congregational Separatists arrived from Connecticut and Massachusetts. In the early 1800s, Downtown Bennington started developing, and by 1854 the county’s population had reached 18,589.

In 1891, the Bennington Battle Monument was opened. The monument is a 306-foot high stone obelisk that is the tallest structure in Vermont. It is a popular tourist attraction.

Bennington has ready access to natural resources and waterpower, and a long history of manufacture, primarily within wood processing. The town is also recognized nationally for its pottery, iron, and textiles.

Education

Bennington is home to a variety of municipal, parochial and private schools. Continuing education is supported by a diverse mix of colleges and career development centers. Bennington College is a progressive four-year liberal arts college ranked 104 in Tier 1 by U.S. News College Rankings. Southern Vermont College is a private, four-year, liberal arts college offering a career-directed curriculum.