Dummerston, Vermont

Dummerston is a town in Windham County, Vermont, United States. The population was 1,915 at the 2000 census. It is home to the longest covered bridge still in use in Vermont. Its borders include three main villages: Dummerston Center, West Dummerston, and East Dummerston.

Dummerston, Vermont
West Dummerston Covered Bridge
Dummerston, Vermont
Dummerston, Vermont
Dummerston, Vermont is located in the United States
Dummerston, Vermont
Dummerston, Vermont
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°55′21″N 72°34′40″W / 42.92250°N 72.57778°WCoordinates: 42°55′21″N 72°34′40″W / 42.92250°N 72.57778°W
CountryUnited States
 • Total30.8 sq mi (79.8 km2)
 • Land30.6 sq mi (79.2 km2)
 • Water0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
814 ft (248 m)
 • Total1,915
 • Density62.6/sq mi (24.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)802
FIPS code50-18325[1]
GNIS feature ID1462084[2]


View of East Dummerston, VT
East Dummerston in 1913

Dummerston was part of the Equivalent Lands—several large sections of land given to settlers in the early eighteenth century. It lies on a tract given to the Connecticut Colony about 1715 by the Province of Massachusetts Bay as compensation for land mistakenly awarded by the latter to its settlers. In 1716, the town was auctioned to a consortium (which included William Dummer, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts), and named Dummerston. On December 26, 1753, the town was chartered as a New Hampshire grant and renamed Fulham by Governor Benning Wentworth. But when the grant was renegotiated, it reverted to Dummerston.[3]

The many brooks and streams flowing into the West River provided the area with water power. Dummerston had five gristmills, five sawmills, one slate manufacturer, and one shop for making rakes. Raising sheep across the many hills was an important occupation.[4] By 1859, the town had a population of 1,645. The Vermont Valley Railroad passed through Dummerston.[3]

A house built in Dummerston in 1892, Naulakha, was home to author Rudyard Kipling. This is where he wrote several of his novels, including The Jungle Books and Captains Courageous.[5]

There was a covered bridge that was built in 1812, and it moved to Old Sturbridge Village in 1946.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 30.8 square miles (79.8 km2), of which 30.6 square miles (79.2 km2) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.6 km2) (0.71%) is water. Dummerston is bounded by the Connecticut River, and the West River flows through the town.[6]

The town is crossed by Interstate 91 (Exit 4 serves the town and the exit sits on the border of Dummerston and Putney), U.S. Route 5 and Vermont Route 30. It is bordered by Brattleboro to the south, Marlboro and Newfane to the west, with Putney and Brookline to the north. Chesterfield, New Hampshire lies across the Connecticut River from it.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20141,829[7]−1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,915 people, 796 households, and 543 families residing in the town. The population density was 62.6 people per square mile (24.2/km2). There were 893 housing units at an average density of 29.2 per square mile (11.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.33% White, 0.05% African American, 0.63% Asian, 0.05% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.

There were 796 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. Of all households 25.4% were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the town, the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $46,121, and the median income for a family was $53,375. Males had a median income of $35,664 versus $26,174 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,742. About 1.1% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Politics and government

Dummerston, like many New England counties and localities, uses a board of selectmen as its executive body and Town Meeting for legislative functions. In 2014, it had five selectmen forming up its selectboard.[9] One of its most famous selectmen was Motel 6 spokesmodel and author Tom Bodett, who served on the selectboard as of 2013.[10]

Sites of interest

Covered Bridge Dummerston Vermont 113861485
Built in 1872, the West Dummerston Covered Bridge has a floor length of 267 feet (81 m)

Dummerston has several interesting sites within its borders.

The longest covered bridge that is still in use in the state of Vermont is the West Dummerston Covered Bridge. Built in two spans which rest on a central pier, the bridge boasts a combined length of 267 feet along the floor. The gable ends overhang the floor at each end of the bridge by two feet; therefore, along the top of the trusses, the bridge is 271 feet long.[11]

Dummerston is home to the 1,009 acre Black Mountain Conservation Area. Black Mountain rises abruptly from the West River into a horseshoe-shaped ridge. The mountain has a summit of 1,280 feet.[12]

Author Rudyard Kipling made Dummerston home, building a house that he named Naulakha. It was there that he wrote his famous story, The Jungle Book, and invented the sport of Snow Golf. Naulakha is now a museum available for overnight stays. The house is a National Historic Landmark.[13]

The Dummerston Grange periodically hosts the Vermont Theatre Company.[14]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ a b Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. pp. 792–795.
  4. ^ Hayward's New England Gazetteer of 1839
  5. ^ Virtual Vermont – Dummerston, Vermont
  6. ^ DeLorme (1996). Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-016-9
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  9. ^ http://selectboard.dummerston.org/
  10. ^ Tom Bodett
  11. ^ West Dummerston Covered Bridge
  12. ^ Black Mountain Natural Area
  13. ^ Naulakha – the Rudyard Kipling home
  14. ^ Dummerston Grange – Vermont Theatre Company

External links

Carol Laise

Caroline Clendening "Carol" Laise (November 14, 1917 – July 25, 1991) was an American civil servant, ambassador to Nepal and the first female Assistant Secretary of State.

Charles Sweetser

Charles Sweetser (January 22, 1808 – April 14, 1864) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.

Born in Dummerston, Vermont, Sweetser moved with his parents to Delaware, Ohio, in 1817.

He attended the public schools.

He engaged in mercantile pursuits.

He studied law.

He was admitted to the bar in 1832 and commenced practice in Delaware, Ohio.

Sweetser was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses (March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1853).

He served as chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures (Thirty-second Congress).

He resumed the practice of law.

He died in Delaware, Ohio, April 14, 1864.

He was interred in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Equivalent Lands

The Equivalent Lands were several large tracts of land that the Province of Massachusetts Bay made available to settlers from the Connecticut Colony after April 1716. This was done as compensation for an equivalent area of territory that was under Connecticut's jurisdiction but had been inadvertently settled by citizens of Massachusetts. The problem had arisen due to errors and imprecise surveys made earlier in the seventeenth century. The Equivalent Lands were never mapped.

Frances H. Flaherty

Frances Hubbard Flaherty (December 5, 1883 – June 22, 1972) was married to acclaimed documentary filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty from 1914 until his death in 1951.

Francis S. Thayer

Francis Samuel Thayer (September 11, 1822 in Dummerston, Windham County, Vermont – November 26, 1880 in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado) was an American merchant and politician from New York.

George Aiken

George David Aiken (August 20, 1892 – November 19, 1984) was an American politician and horticulturist. A member of the Republican Party, he was the 64th Governor of Vermont (1937–1941) before serving in the United States Senate for 34 years, from 1941 to 1975. At the time of his retirement, he was the senior member of the Senate.

As Governor, Aiken battled the New Deal over its programs for hydroelectric power and flood control in Vermont. As a northeastern Republican in the Senate, he was one of four Republican cosponsors of the Full Employment Act of 1946. Aiken sponsored the food allotment bill of 1945, which was a forerunner of the food stamp program. He promoted federal aid to education, and sought to establish a minimum wage of 65 cents in 1947. Aiken was an isolationist in 1941 but supported the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and the Marshall Plan in 1948. In the 1960s and 1970s, he steered a middle course on the Vietnam war, opposing Johnson's escalation and supporting Nixon's slow withdrawal policies. Aiken was a strong supporter of the small farmer. As acting chairman of the Senate agriculture committee in 1947, he opposed high rigid price supports. He had to compromise, however, and the Hope-Aiken act of 1948 introduced a sliding scale of price supports. In 1950, Aiken was one of seven Republican senators who denounced in writing the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy, warning against those who sought "victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance."

George Sheldon (preservationist)

George Sheldon (1818–1916) led one of the first historic preservation societies in the United States.

He was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, educated at Deerfield Academy, and worked as a farmer. In 1844 he married Susan Stewart Stearns of Dummerston, Vermont, and from 1853 to 1857 lived in Chicopee, Massachusetts. In 1857 he was appointed Justice of the Peace at Deerfield and in 1867 was elected as a representative to the General Court, the state legislature of Massachusetts. In 1872 he was elected state senator. His first wife died in 1881. In 1897 he remarried; his second wife was the scientist and historian Jennie Maria Arms.

Sheldon's interest in history and historical preservation began in 1848, when Deerfield's Old Indian House (the first home occupied by the Sheldon Family in Deerfield) was demolished despite the objections of local residents. Sheldon, along with others, were able to preserve only the door of the house and some architectural fragments. In 1868, he and others erected a monument to honor the town's Civil War soldiers. Two years later, they decided to mark the spot where Eunice Williams, the wife of John Williams, was murdered during the 1704 Deerfield Massacre.

From that, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association was born in 1870, and Sheldon would serve as its president until his death in 1916. The Association, which took its name from the original inhabitants of Deerfield (and the name of their village, located near the site of the town), was one of the first historical preservation societies in the country. Sheldon was named president of the Association, a post he held to his death. Although he split his time between Deerfield and Boston, he remained an important voice in town issues and a dynamic leader of the Memorial Association. In 1895 he published the History of Deerfield, a comprehensive, two-volume history of the town that included an extensive genealogy of its residents.


Naulakha (meaning "worth 9 lakh rupees" in Hindi language) may refer to:

Naulakha, Punjab, a historical village of Fatehgarh Sahib District, Punjab, India

Naulakha Pavilion, a century-arched chamber at Lahore Fort, Pakistan built for Shah Jahan in 1633

Naulakha Palace, a ruined 17th-century palace in Gondal, India

The Naulahka, a novel by Wolcott Balestier and Rudyard Kipling published in 1892

Naulakha (Rudyard Kipling House) a house in Dummerston, Vermont, built for Rudyard Kipling in 1893

Naulakha Mandir, Indian Hindu temples near Deoghar and Buxar

Naulakha Redux, an album of songs of Rudyard Kipling works, recorded in 1997 by Roberts and Barrand

Naulakha (Rudyard Kipling House)

Naulakha, also known as the Rudyard Kipling House, is a historic Shingle Style house on Kipling Road in Dummerston, Vermont, a few miles outside Brattleboro. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 for its association with the author Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), who had it built in 1893 and made it his home until 1896. It is in this house that Kipling wrote Captains Courageous, The Jungle Book, The Day's Work, and The Seven Seas, and did work on Kim and The Just So Stories. Kipling named the house after the Naulakha Pavilion, situated inside Lahore Fort in Pakistan. The house is now owned by the Landmark Trust, and is available for rent.

Peter Diamondstone

Peter Isaac Diamondstone (December 19, 1934 – August 30, 2017) was an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Vermont, best known as a perennial candidate and co-founder of the Liberty Union Party. He ran for various Vermont political offices, all unsuccessfully, in every election cycle from 1970 until 2016.

Rice Farm Road Bridge

The Rice Farm Road Bridge is a historic bridge in Dummerston, Vermont. It is an iron Warren through truss, spanning the West River between Vermont Route 30 and Rice Farm Road. Built in 1892, it is one of the state's oldest surviving metal truss bridges. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Robert J. Flaherty

Robert Joseph Flaherty, (; February 16, 1884 – July 23, 1951) was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature-length documentary film, Nanook of the North (1922). The film made his reputation and nothing in his later life fully equaled its success, although he continued the development of this new genre of narrative documentary with Moana (1926), set in the South Seas, and Man of Aran (1934), filmed in Ireland's Aran Islands. Flaherty is considered the "father" of both the documentary and the ethnographic film.

Flaherty was married to writer Frances H. Flaherty from 1914 until his death in 1951. Frances worked on several of her husband's films, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story for Louisiana Story (1948).

Scott Farm Historic District

The Scott Farm Historic District encompasses a historic farm property at 707 Kipling Road in Dummerston, Vermont. Developed between about 1850 and 1915, Scott Farm is a well-preserved farm and orchard complex of that period. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Tom Bodett

Thomas Edward Bodett ( boh-DET; born February 23, 1955) is an American author, voice actor, and radio host. Since 1986 he has been the spokesman for the motel chain Motel 6, ending commercials with the phrase, "I'm Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we'll leave the light on for you."

West Dummerston, Vermont

West Dummerston is an unincorporated village in the town of Dummerston, Windham County, Vermont, United States. The community is located along Vermont Route 30 and the West River

6 miles (9.7 km) north-northwest of Brattleboro. West Dummerston has a post office with ZIP code 05357.

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

The West Dummerston Covered Bridge is a historic covered bridge spanning the West River in Dummerston, Vermont, between Vermont Route 30 and Camp Arden Road. Built in 1872, it is at 280 feet (85 m) the longest covered bridge entirely within the state of Vermont. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Windham-5 Vermont Representative District, 2002–12

The Windham-5 Representative District is a two-member state Representative district in the U.S. state of Vermont. It is one of the 108 one or two member districts into which the state was divided by the redistricting and reapportionment plan developed by the Vermont General Assembly following the 2000 U.S. Census. The plan applies to legislatures elected in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. A new plan will be developed in 2012 following the 2010 U.S. Census.

The Windham-5 District includes all of the Windham County towns of Dummerston and Putney, and the portion of the town of Westminster not included in Windham-4.

As of the 2000 census, the state as a whole had a population of 608,827. As there are a total of 150 representatives, there were 4,059 residents per representative (or 8,118 residents per two representatives). The two member Windham-5 District had a population of 7,425 in that same census, 8.54% below the state average.

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