Rockingham Grafton (5).jpg

The Rockingham Meeting House and cemetery outside of it.

Seeing Vermont takes you to a different part of the Green Mountain State, showcasing its scenery, buildings and people.

This week’s locations: Grafton and Rockingham

Where they’re located: Rockingham shares its western border with Grafton and its northern border with Springfield. The two towns are on the northern edge of Windham County and just off I-91. They are about 90 miles directly and about 2.5 hours of drive time southeast of the St. Albans area.

{iframe style=”border: 0;” src=”!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d186335.5700951637!2d-72.62529025385832!3d43.1359960977511!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89e1afd8022f9829%3A0x154562ee703ec860!2sJohn%20Dorand%20State%20Forest%2C%20Grafton%2C%20VT%2005146!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1615376181205!5m2!1sen!2sus” width=”600” height=”450”}{/iframe}About the area: Founded in April 1754, Grafton’s population was just 679 at the 2010 census. It was originally named Thomlinson after John Thomlinson, the business agent of the town’s founder, and was later named Grafton in 1791.

Grafton grew in the early 19th century as woolen mills popped up along the Saxtons River while soapstone was quarried on nearby Bear Mountain. The town’s population was shy of 1,500 just before the Civil War, but Grafton suffered significant losses during the conflict before the community continued to decline in size following its conclusion.

Popular tourist spots in town are the Grafton Village Cheese Company and the Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center found at the Grafton Inn.

Chartered in December 1752, Rockingham is considerably larger with a population of 5,282 in 2010 as it includes the incorporated villages of Bellows Falls and Saxtons River. The approximate center — as town offices and the public library are situated in Bellows Falls — is the historic Rockingham Meeting House on RT 103.

The meeting house was built in what was once the main settlement of the town, but the increase of water power caused the community to move towards the two rivers in town. Over a dozen buildings remained in Rockingham Village — also called Old Town — but a fire in 1908 caused most of them to burn. The meeting house was narrowly saved from destruction.

Rockingham has an extensive list of sites on the National Register of Historic Places including three covered bridges, the Bellows Falls Times Building, and Miss Bellows Falls Diner. Another popular attraction in town is the Bellows Falls Opera House.Here are some photos of Grafton and Rockingham you might enjoy, courtesy of Josh Kessler who’s a native Vermonter and currently the director of athletic communications at Saint Michael’s College:

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