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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Barre, Vermont

Barre, Vermont (population 9,291) was founded in 1780 and given the name of Wildersburgh. This charter encompassed the area now known as the City of Barre and the Town of Barre. Families from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island began to settle the area and the first town meeting was held in 1793.  The name of the community was eventually changed to Barre, and in 1895 approximately four square miles of the more populated area of the town was carved out, creating the City of Barre as a separate governmental entity.

The granite industry in Barre was established soon after the War of 1812 and the arrival of the railroad helped it become a major industry.  The fame of this vast deposit of granite, which some geologist say is 4 miles long, 2 miles wide and 10 miles deep, soon spread and large numbers of people immigrated to Barre from Italy, Scotland, Spain, Scandinavia, Greece, Lebanon, and Canada, increasing the population from 2060 in 1880, to 6790 in 1890, to 10,000 in 1894. Barre City, Central Vermont's largest municipality, is still known as the "Granite Center of the World". Stone workers from all over Europe created a patchwork of cultures that helped Barre become to the diverse municipality it is today.

Barre is the home of several historic attractions including the Barre Opera House, central Vermont's premier performing arts facility. The ongoing restoration of this century-old theater, unused from 1944 to 1982, has made it once again the cornerstone of history and culture downtown, hosting 70-100 events and visited by 20,000 people each year.

Other attractions include the Vermont History Center and Vermont Granite Museum.  The Barre Historical Society offers tours of Barre's Old Labor Hall, which has been nominated as a National Historic Landmark, as well as Hope Cemetery, and a historic walking tour map and brochure is available. Barre cooperates with other central Vermont communities in regional tourism efforts and is featured in a Nation Register Travel Itinerary. 

For more information

City of Barre:   www.ci.barre.vt.us

Central Vermont Heritage: www.central-vt.com/heritage

Barre Opera House: www.central-vt.com/web/boh

National Register Travel Itinerary: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/aviation

Posted June 8, 2009

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