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Rochester
05767

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The Park
Photo by Peter Ludwig

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About Rochester, Vermont
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Click for Rochester, Vermont Forecast

Windsor County
Chartered: July 30, 1781 (Vermont Charter)
Area: 36,560 Acres = 57.13 Square Miles [ Size Rank: 14* ]
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 43° 52' W 72°49'
Altitude: 878 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 1,139 [ Population Rank: 137* ]
Population Density (persons per square mile): 19.9 [ Density Rank: 187* ]
Full Census Info: Town
  County  State

*Area, Population and Density rankings refer to Rochester'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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It is generally thought that the name derives from Rochester in Massachusetts, because many Vermonters had come from that area. The Massachusetts town was named by Governor Samuel Shute for his friend Laurence Hyde, the first Earl of Rochester, who was a brother-in-law of King James II and a son of the Earl of Clarendon. During the troubled years after the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, the Earl of Rochester held many positions of trust and was considered to have been a statesman of great eminence. The Earl took his title from the old Roman town of Rochester in Kent. The Romans called a camp or fortified place castra, which became the English "Chester," as in Rochester, Manchester, etc.

Strangers are always interested to find the names of Michigan and Texas connected with localities in Rochester. John C. Huden felt certain they were Indian names, Texas meaning "friend or ally," and Michigan, meaning "a big lake." However, since both names came into use in the I9th Century, it is possible that they originated in joking references to the distant states with those names, suggesting that the areas so named in Rochester were remote from settled villages in town.

Equally fascinating are the areas known as Jerusalem and Breakneck. According to local folklore, the first name was given because the people in Jerusalem were so pious. The landscape at Breakneck was so steep that a young lady and her lively horse once fell over a precipice and both suffered broken necks.

When the ill-starred town of Philadelphia was divided up among its neighbors, Rochester and Goshen got Philadelphia Peak, a 3,168-foot-high giant that sits astride their mutual boundary. The name of the mountain is the only thing left as a reminder that Vermont once had a town named to honor the birthplace of the US Constitution.

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

Rochester Historical Society

Rochester Public Library

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Hospital: Gifford Medical Center (Randolph) 802-728-7000
Town Clerk:  Joanne McDonnell PO Box 238 Rochester, VT 05767
 802-767-3631
 T-F 8-4

Churches, Ministries, Charitables
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Roman Catholic : St. Elizabeth
United Church of Christ : United Church of Christ
United Methodist : Rochester Federated Church 802-767-3012

Schools
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Windsor Northwest Supervisory Union 802-234-5364
Rochester School 802-767-3161

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").

Granville Braintree Randolph
Hancock Rochester
Goshen Bethel
Chittenden Pittsfield Stockbridge

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

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    May 25, 2013