Bellows Falls, Vermont

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Bellows Falls is an incorporated village located in the town of Rockingham in Windham County, Vermont, United States. The population was 3,165 at the 2000 census. Bellows Falls is home to the Green Mountain Railroad, a heritage railroad, and to the annual Roots on the River Festival.

Contents

History

The falls were once a fishing place for the historic, nomadic Abenaki tribes, who were part of the Algonquian language family. They caught plentiful salmon and shad. Indigenous peoples had fished at the falls and inhabited the area for thousands of years before European arrival.

The community was settled in 1753 by colonists of English descent, who called it Great Falls. Later the settlers named the town for Colonel Benjamin Bellows, a landowner. [3] In 1785, Colonel Enoch Hale built at the falls the first bridge over the Connecticut River. It was the only bridge across the river for more than 10 years, until 1796, when another was built at Springfield, Massachusetts.[4] The bridge was later replaced. The Bellows Fall-Vilas Bridge connects Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Bellows Falls Canal, built in 1791-1802, lifted boats 52 feet (16 m) in eight locks around the gorge. It tapped the water power of the falls for industry. This created the industrialization of the town.[5]

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