Montpelier

Montpelier

[mont-peel-yer]
Montpelier, city (1990 pop. 8,247), state capital (since 1805) and seat of Washington co., central Vt., at the junction of the Winooski and North Branch rivers; inc. 1855. The economy is dominated by state government and insurance industries. It is also a trading center in a lumber, granite, and winter resort area. Granite is processed, and there is light manufacturing. Vermont College of Norwich Univ., New England Culinary Institute, and the state historical society are there. The city has maintained a 19th-century charm; of interest are the state capitol and federal courthouse. It is the birthplace of Admiral George Dewey. Surrounded by mountains, Montpelier has an excellent view of Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in the state.
Montpelier, estate, central Va., near Charlottesville; formerly the home of President James Madison. The brick mansion was built c.1760 by Madison's father. Altered and enlarged by later owners, it has been restored (completed 2008) to its appearance when Madison lived there. Madison and his wife are buried nearby. The estate, which is maintained by the Montpelier Foundation, is a National Historic Landmark.

City (pop., 2000: 8,035), capital of Vermont, U.S. Named for Montpellier, France, it commanded the main pass through the Green Mountains and was chartered in 1781 by proprietors from Massachusetts and western Vermont. It became the state capital in 1805 and defeated attempts by other cities, including Burlington, to succeed it as capital. In addition to providing state government services, it bases its economy on financial services and the local ski industry. It is the site of a campus of Norwich University/Vermont College and was the birthplace of Adm. George Dewey.

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Montpelier is a city in the U.S. state of Vermont that serves as the state capital and the shire town (county seat) of Washington County. As the capital of Vermont, Montpelier is the site of the Vermont State House, seat of the legislative branch of Vermont government. The population was 8,035 at the 2000 census. By population, it is the smallest state capital in the United States.

History

Montpelier was chartered by the Vermont General Assembly on August 141781. Colonel Jacob Davis, among the first European settlers to establish a village there, selected the name after the French city Montpellier. The name is a portmanteau of mont – hill, and peller – bare or shorn. Davis had also named Calais for the French port city of the same name; it is likely that he named Montpelier for the French town of Montpellier, for there was a general enthusiasm for things French as a result of France's aid during the American Revolution.

Geography

The Winooski River, winooski being an Abenaki word meaning "onion," flows west along the south edge of downtown village and is fed by several smaller tributaries that cut through residential districts.

Montpelier is located at (44.25, -72.56667). The city center is a flat clay zone (elevation ~520 ft/158 m), surrounded by hills and granite ledges. Towne Hill runs in a 2-mile ridge (~900 ft/275 m) along the northern edge of the city. Montpelier is subject to periodic flooding in the flat city center with two major floods occurring in 1927 and 1992.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.3 square miles (26.6 km²), of which 10.2 square miles (26.5 km²) of it is land and 0.10% is water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F (°C) 66 (18.8) 61 (16.1) 77 (25) 90 (32.2) 90 (32.2) 95 (35) 97 (36.1) 97 (36.1) 92 (33.3) 84 (28.8) 76 (24.4) 67 (19.4)
Norm High °F (°C) 25
(-3.8)
28
(-2.2)
38 (3.3) 51 (10.5) 65 (18.3) 73 (22.7) 78 (25.5) 76 (24.4) 67 (19.4) 55 (12.7) 42 (5.5) 31
(-0.5)
Norm Low °F (°C) 7
(-13.8)
10
(-12.2)
20
(-6.6)
32 (0) 43 (6.1) 52 (11.1) 57 (13.8) 55 (12.7) 46 (7.7) 36 (2.2) 28
(-2.2)
14
(-10)
Rec Low °F (°C) -34
(-36.6)
-29
(-33.8)
-18
(-27.7)
2 (16.6) 20
(-6.6)
29
(-1.6)
35 (1.6) 31
(-0.5)
20
(-6.6)
14
(-10)
-7
(-21.6)
-27
(-32.7)
Precip in (mm) 2.76 (70.104) 1.96 (49.784) 2.48 (62.992) 2.55 (64.77) 3.32 (84.328) 3.48 (88.392) 3.26 (82.804) 4.01 (101.854) 3.32 (84.328) 3.12 (79.248) 3.04 (77.216) 2.61 (66.294)
Source: Weather.com

Demographics

Along with Barre, the city forms a small micropolitan area in the center of the state, together they are known as the "twin cities".

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As of the census of 2000, there were 8,035 people, 3,739 households, and 1,940 families residing in the city. The population density was 784.0 people per square mile (302.7/km²). There were 3,899 housing units at an average density of 380.4 per square mile (146.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.55% White, 0.65% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 3,739 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 years living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.1% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.0 males.

Economy

Personal income

The median income for a household in the city was $37,513, and the median income for a family was $51,818. Males had a median income of $35,957 versus $29,442 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,599. About 7.2% of families and 9.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Industry

Montpelier is home to the New England Culinary Institute, the annual Green Mountain Film Festival and the headquarters of several insurance companies.

Montpelier had the last remaining clothespin manufacturer in the United States. It closed in 2006. Since the city's establishment as capital in 1805 the primary business in Montpelier has been government, and by the mid-nineteenth century government and life and fire insurance. The majority of businesses in the downtown area are locally owned.

Processing granite, mainly from the quarries in nearby Barre, was once a major part of the city's economy and continues to some degree; timber was a major industry in the region in the early nineteenth century. An annual local vernacular culture phenomenon, the Valentine Bandit, a tradition of covering downtown storefronts and public buildings with red hearts each February 14, began in Montpelier in the 1990s.

Education

Montpelier High School is the city's only high school.

Vermont College of Fine Arts is a low-residency graduate school offering Masters of Fine Arts degrees in visual arts, writing, and writing for children and young adults.

Transportation

Because Vermont's founders deliberately placed the capital near the geographic center of the state, Montpelier is one of Vermont's most readily accessible cities and towns. The city is located along Interstate 89, and can be accessed at Exit 8. U.S. Route 2 and Vermont Route 12 are two other principal routes that intersect in the city. Both I-89 and U.S. 2 provide a direct link to Burlington and the populous Lake Champlain Valley in the northwestern corner of the state. In addition, U.S. Route 302 has its western terminus in Montpelier, connecting it with Barre and points east.

Amtrak, the national rail passenger system, provides daily service from Montpelier, operating the Vermonter between St. Albans, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Vermont Transit, a Greyhound Lines subsidiary, operates buses that serve Montpelier. The Green Mountain Transit Authority (GMTA) operates a local bus network throughout the micropolitan area, with stops in Montpelier and Barre, including nearby Waterbury, the Vermont State House, Ben & Jerry's factory, and the local Berlin Mall. GMTA and its sister bus company in Burlington, the Chittenden Country Transit Authority, operate a series of LINK commuter buses with stops in Montpelier, Burlington and Waterbury. A few small taxi companies serve the area.

Air travelers in private planes can use the Edward F. Knapp State Airport in Berlin to access Montpelier. The closest commercial air service is located northwest of Montpelier, at the Burlington International Airport.

Cultural

A copy of the frieze from the Parthenon is kept in the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

Notable residents

See also

References

External links

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