Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier is the capital of the US state of Vermont and the administrative seat (Shire Town) of Washington County. Located in the Green Mountains, the city is the smallest state capital in the United States.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 26.6 km2, of which 26.5 km2 is land and the rest is water.

Geographical location
Montpelier is located on the north bank of the west-flowing Winooski River, which is fed by several smaller tributaries that flow through Montpelier's various residential neighborhoods. The city is about 158 m above sea level and is surrounded by hills. Towne Hill is a ridge about two miles long on the northern outskirts of town and reaches an elevation of about 900 feet (275 m) above sea level. The city of Montpelier is regularly threatened by flooding; severe floods occurred in 1927, 1992 and 2011.


Neighboring communities

All distances are given as the crow flies between the official coordinates of the 2010 census locations.

Northeast: East Montpelier, 4.5 miles
Southeast: Barre, 7 miles
South: Berlin, 4.7 km
North West: Middlesex, 7.0 km
Note: Barre and Montpelier do not share a common border, but are so close that it makes sense to include them in this list.



The mean average temperature in Montpelier ranges from -9.3°C in January to 19.7°C in July. The average annual temperature is 5.8 °C (Vermont as a whole: 6 °C), the average annual precipitation is 884 mm, about a quarter of which is snow, which corresponds to an annual snowfall of about 2.30 m snow depth.



The Grant for Montpelier was proclaimed by the Vermont Republic on October 21, 1780. Thimothy Biglow and others were the recipients of the grant and this was fixed on August 14, 1781. It covered the usual 23,040 acres. A first settlement started in 1787 by the trapper Joel Frizzle, who settled in the area and built a small log cabin. In May 1787, Colonel Jacob Davis and General Parley Davis, who came to the area with supplies and support from Charlton, Massachusetts, established the first settlement. Jacob Davis also built the town's first sawmill and gristmill. The constituent assembly took place on March 29, 1791.

The name Montpelier derives from the name of the French city of Montpellier. It was Colonel Jacob Davis who chose the name. It was fashionable at the time to give places French names, as France had supported the United States in its quest for independence. Due to the different spelling, the city should not be confused with the French Montpellier in Languedoc.

The seat of the capital in Vermont changed according to the principle of rotation. It wasn't until the construction of the new Vermont State Capitol in Montpelier in 1805 that the members of parliament decided that it was time to stop moving the seat of government because of the city's central location and the inexpensive building land. Even a fire that destroyed the impressive 1838 successor except for the granite walls and portico could not deter the Vermonters from building the present Capitol building on its base. This is considered by many tourists to be the prettiest government building in the United States, with its gold leaf dome set against the backdrop of the changing canopy of leaves in a nearby park. In 1895 Montpelier was elevated to the status of a city.


Culture and sights

One of the most famous buildings in Montpelier is the Vermont State Capitol. It is located at 115 State Street.

The Pavilion Hotel in the Steamboat Gothic style - was the residence of various MPs during the legislative period until it was demolished in 1966, today it has been rebuilt as a replica on the old site. It houses the Vermont Historical Society Museum.

The National Park Service identifies Montpelier with the Vermont State Capitol as a National Historic Landmark (as of December 2016). Six structures and sites in the community are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as of November 13, 2018.


Economy and Infrastructure

Metal and wood processing industry
Manufacturing of maple syrup
Headquarters of various insurance companies, e.g. of the National Life Insurance Company since 1848



Interstate 89, also known as the Veterans Highway, runs through the southwest of Montpelier. Coming from East Montpelier and traveling west-east through Montpelier, the U.S. Highway 2. It follows the course of the Winooski River and meets the interstate in the southwest, which it then parallels to the west. Vermont State Route 12 bisects Montpelier in a north-south direction, and Vermont State Route 302 connects Montpelier with Barre to the south.

Montpelier is served by the Vermonter of the Amtrak railway company via the Montpelier Junction station in Berlin.

Montpelier does not have its own airfield; Air travelers can either arrive by private plane at Edward F. Knapp State Airport in Berlin or at Burlington International Airport in Chittenden County, 35 miles northwest.

Public facilities
There is no hospital in Montpelier. The closest is the Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.



Montpelier is home to the Montpelier Public Schools. They include Union Elementary School, Main Street Middle School and Montpelier High School.

The Community College of Vermont has a campus in Montpelier.

The private Union Institute & University, a research organization specializing in distance learning programs, is based in Montpelier.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts was founded in Montpelier in 1831. It is a higher education institute and national center for education with a hands-on learning model.

The Kellogg-Hubbard Library was founded in 1889. It stems from the legacy of Martin M. Kellog, a New York real estate agent who was born in Barre. Just three months after his death, his wife Fanny, née Hubbard and a native of Montpelier, also died. They bequeathed their fortune to the City of Montpelier on condition that new entrance gates be built for the Green Mount Cemetery and a public library. Today, several works of art can also be seen on the building and on the property.