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Main Street
Photo by Lydia Pope France

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About Grafton, Vermont

Click for Grafton, Vermont Forecast

Windham County
Chartered: April 8, 1754 (New Hampshire Grant)
Area: 24,456 Acres = 38.21 Square Miles [ Size Rank: 161* ]
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 43° 10' W 72°36'
Altitude: 860 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 679 [ Population Rank: 200* ]
Population Density (persons per square mile): 17.8 [ Density Rank: 206* ]
Full Census Info: Town
  County  State

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

The town was originally chartered as Thomlinson, for John Thomlinson, Benning Wentworth's business agent in England. Three families attempted to settle there in 1768, but there were no permanent residents until 1770.

By 1791, there were enough residents unhappy with the name Thomlinson to agree that it should be changed, but there was no consensus as to what the new name should be. A unique solution was devised: the privilege of renaming the town was auctioned to the highest bidder.

Joseph Axtell won with a high bid of $5.00, and renamed the town for his former home of Grafton, Massachusetts. The kicker is that Axtell never paid the $5.00. Local lore has it that the bid included a jug of hard cider, which leads to some colorful conjecture as to how the participants chose to celebrate, and perhaps why they forgot to collect the money.

Soapstone was once quarried there in enormous quantities for aqueducts, pumps, ovens, mantel pieces and stoves, a business long since forgotten. In the mid Sixties, a privately endowed foundation bought most of Grafton's old buildings and restored them with great care and attention to detail. Many are now leased by or have been sold to private individuals.

One such structure, the former Grafton Inn (now The Old Tavern), has welcomed such notables as Ulysses S. Grant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Woodrow Wilson and Henry David Thoreau, among others.

Grafton is without a doubt that picturesque little village which so typifies Vermont to so many people: small, peaceful and quaint. It is located about ten miles west of Bellows Falls at the junction of Routes 121 and 35.

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

Activities & Points of Interest

Goings-on in and near Grafton
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Grafton Historical Society

Historical Society of Windham County

Covered Bridges (With Google Maps and satellite images):
Kidder Hill      MacMillan     
Click Here for a map of all bridges in Windham County.

Contact Info

Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Hospital: Grace Cottage Hospital (Townshend) 802-365-7676
Town Clerk:  Kimberly Record PO Box 180 Grafton, VT 05146
 M T Th F 9-12 and 1-4

Churches, Ministries, Charitables

Federated : Grafton Church, UCC & ABC 802-843-2346
United Church of Christ : United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ : United Church of Christ


Windham Northeast Supervisory Union 802-463-9958
Grafton Elementary School 802-843-2495

Neighboring Towns

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").

Windham Rockingham
Townshend Athens

Places To Stay

The Red House
Rental property


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 Vermont Telephone Company 800-279-4049

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    January 13, 2017