For such a small state, Vermont seems to have an endless supply of fun facts.
When I worked for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, travel writers would often contact me for lists of interesting trivia, facts, and figures. Favorites would include Montpelier being the only state capital without a McDonald’s, or Vermont having the most breweries per capita in the nation. I admit that after a while, I had a little bit of fact-and-figure fatigue.
Esther M. Swift’s “Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History”—an out-of-print book that was published in 1977 and is the best researched book about Vermont towns—has renewed my interest in obscure facts about the state. Over the past few months, I’ve been gathering Vermont facts from the pages of Swift’s book and elsewhere that are perhaps not as well known.
Here’s my list of 10 interesting, little-known facts about Vermont
1. The Green Mountain State is home to 8,696 miles of dirt roads, and 7,105 miles of paved roads.
2. The ridge of Mount Ascutney in West Windsor is unusual because it runs east and west rather than north and south, as do the other peaks of the Green Mountains and Taconic Range.
3. The first copper mine in the United States opened in Strafford in 1793, where it operated until the 1950s.
4. The town of Chittenden has a small population with about 1,260 residents. However, the size of the town is 74.2 square miles—or 46,000 acres—making it the largest town by area in Vermont.
5. Mount Aeolus in Dorset was named by a group of geology students from Amherst College in the 19th century. The students were impressed with the mountain, and because the wind was howling during their visit, they felt it deserved to be named Aeolus for the legendary Greek god of the winds.
6. Prospect Mountain in Woodford has a base elevation of 2,250 feet, the highest of any alpine or Nordic ski area in Vermont.
7. The lost hamlet of Mountain Mills sits beneath the Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington.
8. Vermont’s most famous peaks include Camels Hump, Mount Mansfield, and Stratton Mountain. Some of Vermont’s lesser-known mountains have more ominous names: Vulture Mountain in Stockbridge, Terrible Mountain in Weston, Hurricane Hill in West Windsor, and Devils Gap in Eden.
9. Established in 1788, Vergennes is the smallest city in Vermont and one of the smallest cities in the United States. It is only two square miles in size and has just 2,588 residents.
10. Vermont is home to 106 covered bridges. One of the state’s oldest covered bridges is the Pulp Mill Bridge in Middlebury, which was built in 1808.