Shelburne, Vermont

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Shelburne is a town in southwestern Chittenden County, Vermont, United States, along the shores of Lake Champlain. The population was 6,944 at the 2000 census.



Shelburne was chartered by New Hampshire, August 18, 1763 to Jesse Hallock and sixty-four associates by Governor Benning Wentworth. The name "Shelburne" or "Shelburn" was chosen to honor William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, a celebrated nobleman of the British Parliament and Prime Minister. According to the charter, the town was to have an area of 23,500 acres (95.1 km2), or a tract a little over 6 square miles (15.5 km2), but owing to a blunder on the part of the surveyors, it was shorn of a large portion of its possessions.[citation needed]

The town of Shelburne comprises 22.3 square miles (57.8 km2). From the beginning, Shelburne's economy was based on farming. With the clearing of land and burning of logs the town experienced a potash boom. A carding and fulling mill, a gristmill, a sawmill, and a blacksmith shop were erected on the LaPlatte River at Shelburne Falls. In 1811, a few Merino sheep imported from Spain led to an upsurge in sheep raising. Orchards and fruit growing became a major source of income for the farmers, with some 17,740 trees in 1880. Following the War of 1812, commerce on the lake expanded rapidly.[citation needed]

The Lake Champlain Transportation Company established its shipyard at Shelburne Harbor and launched its first steamboat, the General Green in 1825, to be followed by ten others before the Ticonderoga in 1906. In 1955, the Ticonderoga was moved overland to the Shelburne Museum where it is now on display.[1]

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