History and Culture
There is a lot of history to be explored in Addison County! Learn about it all by checking out some of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont, exploring genealogy, visiting a few historic sites, or touring some museums!
Addison County is home to four of the state's 100 or so covered bridges. The covered bridge represents one of Vermont's most treasured landmarks. They are historical sites that give recognition to the builders/engineers whose construction techniques changed the science of covered bridge building.
The number of covered bridges in Vermont has dwindled from over 500 to fewer than 100 today. Many were uncovered wooden bridges constructed years before it was found necessary to cover them. They were covered to protect the bridges from the elements and to preserve the wooden trusses that make up the bridge. The covering usually does not contribute to the strength of the bridge; it does, however, make it very picturesque. Actually, this was the only part of the construction in which the builder could show his ingenuity in the trimming of the portals and windows.
While many were lost to the flood of 1927, significant numbers have been lost to modernization and some to vandalism. The old bridges built of timbers from long-gone forests fashioned by long-gone craftsmen are standing testaments of Vermont's history—links to the past and to a simpler way of life.
The four bridges of Addison County are located in the towns of Shoreham, Middlebury (two), and Ferrisburgh. The bridges, being so widely dispersed throughout the county, offer a unique and scenic tour of Vermont and its small towns and villages. Click here for an interactive map of all of Vermont's covered bridges.
Located off Halpin Road in Middlebury, it was built in 1824 and renovated in 1994. It spans a natural water fall and is the highest bridge above a stream bed in Vermont. It is now used only by the Halpin family farm; it was originally built to serve one of the state's earliest marble excavations—the Halpin quarry at Marble Ledge.
Located on Seymour Street in Middlebury, it spans Otter Creek and the Middlebury-Weybridge town lines. It was built in 1820, the laminated arch was added to the beam arch in 1860 and it was restored in 1984 and again in 2012. It is a two-lane bridge of three spans and one of only six remaining in the United States. It carries the further distinction of being the oldest covered bridge in Vermont.
Located off Depot Road in Shoreham, it was built in 1897 by the Rutland Railroad Company and restored in 1983. Now an abandoned railroad bed, the bridge serves as part of a hiking trail and is one of only three covered trestle bridges still standing in Vermont.
Located in North Ferrisburgh and privately owned, this bridge was built in 1824 on Old Hollow Road. In 1959 it was moved to span a small pond at the Spade Farm to save it from being destroyed by modernization. One of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont, it still has the old advertising posters, metal signs, stenciling and so on that were from its former days as a bridge used in times of slower travel.
Genealogy Resources and Area Cemeteries
- Henry Sheldon Museum and Research Center
- Ilsley Public Library (Middlebury)
- Addison County Town Clerks
- Vermont Newspaper Project Catalog
- Genealogical Society of Vermont
- Vermont Historical Society
- Vermont State Archives
- Vermont Genealogy Library
- VTGenWeb for Vermont History and Genealogy
- Addison County Cemetery Transcription Library on Interment.net
- History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy
- Addison County on GeneaoologyLinks.net
- Addison County on Ancestry.com
There are hundreds of cemeteries (active, inactive, family plots, roadside gravesites) in Addison County. Here's a thorough list. For printable directions to the several of the county's largest cemeteries, download the list here.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain at the foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge, Chimney Point explores the history of the area’s three earliest cultures—the Native American, French Colonial, and early American by showcasing the artifacts each left behind.
The battle of Hubbardton, fought in the green hills of Hubbardton in the early morning of July 7, 1777, was the only Revolutionary War battle fought entirely in what would become Vermont soil.
Mount Independence State Historic Site is one of the nation’s most significant Revolutionary War sites, offering six miles of trails along the archaeological remains of the fortification.
A National Historic Site and university facility, this working farm of 40 horses is dedicated to education and the preservation of Vermont’s State Animal, the Morgan horse.
The Sheldon Museum, the oldest community-based Museum in the country, has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1884. They offer engaging temporary art and history exhibits, programs, and events for all those seeking to gain a deeper appreciation of our community’s and Vermont's art and history.
Rokeby is among the best-documented Underground Railroad sites in the country, one the National Park Service has described as: “unrivaled among known sites for its historical integrity and the poignancy of the stories it tells.”