White River Junction, Vermont

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White River Junction is an unincorporated village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Hartford in Windsor County, Vermont, United States. The population was 2,569 at the 2000 census.

The village includes the White River Junction Historic District, a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and whose boundaries were increased in 2002.[3] The historic district reflects urban architecture of the area from the late 19th century and early 20th century. The district is bound by the Central Vermont railroad tracks, Gates Street, and South Main Street. It includes at least 29 contributing and non-contributing buildings.[3] Notable buildings include the Coolidge Hotel, the First National Bank building, a U.S. Post Office building, and the White River Junction Fire House, showing examples of Greek Revival, Colonial Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, Italianate and Romanesque architecture.[4]

Contents

History

The village has long had a role in transportation, primarily as a railroad junction. From the arrival of the first railroads in the late 1840s until rail diminished in importance in the 1960s due to the Interstate Highway System, White River Junction was the most important railroad community in Vermont.[5] Its original importance was due to its location at the confluence of the White River with the Connecticut River. In 1803 Elias Lyman built a bridge across the Connecticut from the north bank of the White River to West Lebanon, New Hampshire.[3]

The local population remained small until the arrival of the railroad in the 1840s. Five different railroad lines were laid through the village site between 1847 and 1863 (the Vermont Central Railway and Connecticut River Railroad in 1847, the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Railroad in 1848, the Northern New Hampshire Railroad in 1849, and the Woodstock Railroad in 1863), creating an eight-track crossing that was serviced by 50 passenger trains daily.[3][6] In 1849, the village's first railroad depot was built, and local farmer Samuel Nutt arranged to buy and dismantle a hotel in Enfield, New Hampshire and move it to his farm on the other side of the railroad tracks from the depot. His hotel, named the Junction House, was the first of three hotels to occupy the site, which now is home to the Coolidge Hotel, built in 1924.[3]

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