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Montpelier, Vermont

HistoryEdit Bird's-eye view, c. 1912 The first permanent settlement began in May 1787, when Colonel Jacob Davis and General Parley Davis arrived from Charlton, Massachusetts. General Davis surveyed the land, while Colonel Davis cleared forest and erected a large log house on the west side of the North Branch of the Winooski River. His family moved in the following winter. It was Colonel Davis who selected the name Montpelier after the French city Montpellier.[7]There was a general enthusiasm for things French as a result of the country's aid during the American Revolution.[8] The settlement grew quickly, and by 1791 the population reached 117. In 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Montpelier on a triumphal tour of America, 50 years after the Revolutionary War. The town developed into a center for manufacturing, especially after the Vermont Central Railroad opened in Montpelier on June 20, 1849—the same year East Montpelier was set off as a separate town. Falls on the Winooski River provided water power for mills. There was an iron foundry. Today, government, higher education, insurance and tourism are principal businesses.[9]The Vermont History Museum, operated in The Pavilion by the Vermont Historical Society, is an attraction. The town had the first municipal water driven hydro system in Vermont in 1884. Water pressure generated sufficient electricity for streetlights.[10] The state proclaimed October 12, 1899, as "Dewey Day" to honor native son George Dewey, the hero of Battle of Manila Bay and the Spanish–American War. Thousands turned out from the state to his hometown of Montpelier for the celebration.[11]

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