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Brighton
05846

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Island Pond
Photo by Matt Wills

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About Brighton, Vermont
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Click for Brighton, Vermont Forecast

Essex County
Chartered: August 13, 1781 (Vermont Charter)
Area: 34,780 Acres = 54.34 Square Miles [ Size Rank: 20* ]
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 44° 49' W 71°52'
Altitude: 1,280 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 1,222 [ Population Rank: 123* ]
Population Density (persons per square mile): 22.5 [ Density Rank: 175* ]
Full Census Info: Town
  County  State

*Area, Population and Density rankings refer to Brighton's relative position among Vermont's 255 civic entities (9 cities, 242 towns, 4 gores and grants). Complete rankings are here.

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Brlghton has had three names. It was originally granted by Vermont in 1780 to a group of Connecticut men as Gilead, presumably because of the commendatory connotations of Biblical place-names. Although there was a city of Gilead in ancient Palestine, in more recent times the name has usually been associated with the mountain region east of the Jordan River, and with Mount Gilead, the 4,000-foot-high peak that towers over the Dead Sea. In every sense the Gilead name was a suitable choice for this mountain town in northeastern Vermont. However, the original grantees did not pay the required fees, and the town went up for sale again. Many of the state records of this era refer to the town as simply Number 31, it being only one of several towns in the Northeast Kingdom* that were laid out and put up for sale in the young republic's ongoing efforts to become financially solvent.

Following the lapse of the Gilead grant, the town was bought by a different group, most of whom were in a Rhode Island line regiment of the Continental Army, the commander of which was one of the most picturesquely named men to appear in the annals of place-names: Colonel Joseph Nightingale of Providence. This time, the town was was named Random, apparently at the suggestion of the group's agent, Joseph Brown, who chose the name because the town was, in fact, a random purchase from the several towns that were being offered for sale by Vermont.

Latter-day residents came to feel that the Random name did nothing to attract either settlers or business to their town, so the legislature changed the name to Brighton in 1832, when the town's population was just over 100. Probably the new name was chosen in memory of the English resort town, which has given its name to communities in Massachusetts and New York.

The village of Island Pond takes its name from the adjacent body of water, which in turn is named for the 20-acre island in the pond. Originally Knowlton Pond after the surveyor who laid out the town and several others in the region, the Abnaki called it Menanbawk (literally, "island pond"), and it was not long before the townsfolk adopted the English version.

*A term generally credited to the late George Aiken, former Vermont Governor and US Senator, describing the still very rural area comprised of Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties in a 1949 speech. The name stuck.

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 Brighton
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Brighton State Park

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Hospital: North Country Hospital & Health Care (Newport) 802-334-7331
Town Clerk:  Lucille Stevens PO Box 377 Island Pond, VT 05846
 802-723-4405
 M-F 8-3:30

Churches, Ministries, Charitables
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Episcopal : Christ Church (Island Pond) 802-723-6381
Roman Catholic : St. James

Schools
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North Country Supervisory Union 802-334-5847
Brighton Elementary School 802-723-4373

Neighboring Towns
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This is a basic geographic reference, intended to show relative location of adjacent towns. Directional accuracy is limited to 16 compass points. There isn't even the slightest suggestion that one can necessarily travel directly from one town to the next (as in "You can't get there from here").

Warners Grant Averys Gore Lewis
Brighton
Charleston
Ferdinand
Westmore Newark

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 Vermont Electric Co-op 800-832-2667
    Telephone Fairpoint 866-984-2001

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    May 25, 2013