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Bellows Falls
05101

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Bellows Falls from above
Photo by Len Emery
See more of Len's work here.

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About Bellows Falls, Vermont
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Click for Bellows_Falls, Vermont Forecast

Village in the town of Rockingham, Windham County

Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 72° 26' W 43°07'
Altitude: 309 feet ASL
Census Info: County  State

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Named for Colonel Benjamin Bellows, one of the original grantees of Rockingham. Vermont tends think of him as one of her own, but in fact he lived across the river in Walpole, New Hampshire.

The colonel gained his rank in the British army, serving in several of the wars against the French in North America. His last military service was in the colonial cause at the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington.

A skilled surveyor, Bellows surveyed most of the towns on both sides of the Connecticut River that were later granted by Benning Wentworth. The Colonel is said to have held title to some 9,000 acres in Vermont and New Hampshire at the time of his death in 1777.

The village has served as a river and overland crossroads for commerce and travel by foot, stagecoach, riverboat, train, truck and automobile. Its "golden eras" blossomed with the local application of new technologies, from canal to railroad to paper and farm machinery manufacturing.

With wood, brick, iron, steel and stone, generations of residents have sheltered life and livelihood at a place of natural beauty and practical value. Today we can still read the story of those efforts and aspirations in a rich legacy of surviving residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Although many village buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bellows Falls is not a village captured in a museum. It continues to build on its past. America's first canal was dug here, for example, and now is used to generate electricity. Many buildings still serve their original function.

The naming of earlier architectural styles is a means to bring some order to the creative disorder of human invention. Many buildings, hybrids of several styles, offer historic clues about the ebb and flow of a community's resources. For example, Greek Revival-style homes with later Queen Anne-style additions are evidence of the village's boom periods.

Human activity dates back several thousand years where the river Native Americans called Quon-eh-to-kot ("long river") narrows at the base of Fall Mountain. Until European settlement, natives gathered at the falls to harvest shad and Atlantic salmon migrating upriver to spawning areas in the north. A covered bridge, the first across the river in Vermont and the first of many subsequent road and rail crossings at Bellows Falls, spanned the gorge in 1785. This rocky bend in the river made the town a hub for tourism, travel and transport and remains a natural wonder.

Material excerpted or adapted from Esther Munroe Swift's
Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History
with the author's permission

Activities & Points of Interest
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Goings-on in and near Bellows Falls
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Adams Grist Mill Museum

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Police (non-emergency): 802-463-1234
Hospital: Rockingham Memorial Hospital (Bellows Falls) 802-463-3903
Rockingham Town Clerk:  Doreen Aldrich PO Box 339 Bellows Falls, VT 05101
 802-463-4336
 M-F 8:30-4:30

Churches, Ministries, Charitables
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Assemblies of God : Faith Christian AG Church 802-463-3250
Episcopal : Immanuel Church 802-463-3100
Roman Catholic : Sacred Heart
Roman Catholic : St. Charles
United Church of Christ : United Church of Bellows Falls 802-462-4323

Schools
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Windham Northeast Supervisory Union 802-463-9958
Bellows Falls Middle School 802-463-4366
Bellows Falls Union High School 802-463-3944
Central Elementary School 802-463-4346
Cherry Hill Elementary School 802-463-4207
Independent Baptist Church Christian School 802-463-6302

Businesses & Services
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Green Mountain Railroad

Utilities
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Notes about utilities:

  • One electric or phone company indicates that company serves the entire town. More than one of either indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • A listed cable company MIGHT mean the entire town is covered, but not necessarily. More than one listed indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • Unless your area is one served by Vermont's only gas utility, your only option is bottled gas (any dealer).
    Cable Comcast 800-266-2278
    Electric Green Mountain Power 888-835-4672
    Telephone Fairpoint 866-984-2001
    Telephone Vermont Telephone Company 800-279-4049

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    May 25, 2013