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The beautiful city now know as Burlington was, in the earliest days of colonization, part of New France. The king of France, in order to encourage settlement in the wilds of America, granted large tracts of land, or seigniories, to loyal servants. In July 1734 this region was granted to the Sieur de La Perriere, a Captain in the French military. By 1759, this area, along with all the French claims in North America became part of the British empire following the French defeat in the French and Indian War. With peace came increased settlement. On June 7, 1763 Burlington received its charter from the crown.
Left: Map showing the Burlington, Vermont area in 1914
Among the earliest settlers was one Felix Powell, who built a simple log home on what is now known as Appletree Point in 1773. Another location settled early was directly opposite the fort erected by the Allen's and Remember Baker at the falls on the Winooski River. Before long, a bustling village had sprung up- primarily along the waterfront area. Ethan Allen moved into the town in 1787, choosing to settle on the rich bottomland in the Winooski River intervale. That same year Burlington held its first town meeting. Within two years, Burlington's most famous citizen was dead, laid to rest in Green Mount cemetery at the crown of the hill. It took another century before the monument seen at left was erected.
In 1791 the University of Vermont was chartered and the first building was erected in 1794. By the outbreak of the War of 1812, Burlington was a center of commerce on the lake, with a population of some 2,000. Only Plattsburgh rivaled Burlington in importance along the vital Lake Champlain transportation corridor. Burlington became an important military base during the war, the battery upon the bluff overlooking the lake was shelled by the British during Murray's Raid.
During the last part of the 18th, right through the 19th Century and the coming of the railroads, Burlington was a center of navigation on the lake. Shipping interests such as the Gideon King family ran busy and prosperous enterprises from the village. A large number of commercial sailing vessels were built here. They were used to carry freight between the other important ports on the lake- Whitehall, Essex, and Plattsburgh New York, and the northernmost head of navigation, St. Johns, Quebec.
Images of Historic Burlington, Vermont
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Lake View Cemetery
Map of historic Burlington, Vermont. Click on the icons to learn more about the featured historic site.
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