Buildings that are a part of Bennington’s history
Much of Bennington’s history is embodied by the the many buildings that have been erected here. Some of our structures are significant because of their architecture. Others because of their original owners or because of events which took place in them. Some of our historic structures have been relegated to memory. Others have been saved only through images. Fortunately, many of Bennington’s most historic structures have been preserved.
Built in the late 1880’s, the Bennington Monument is a dedication to the famous Battle of Bennington that took place during the Revolutionary war in 1777. It was at this location the American colonists maintained a store of weapons and food, which British General Burgoyne knew was critical to capture in order to restock his own troops. For almost a century the battle was celebrated annually in the Old State Arms House Hotel which was also located on this sight.
The First Congregational Church of Bennington was designed by Lavius Fillmore and built in 1805. This church is the second meetinghouse of Vermont’s oldest Protestant religious organization that started in 1762. In 1937 the Old First Church was remodeled to include a new altar and the removal of a mysterious side door that was located on the right side of the church and had no apparent use. In 1937 the church was renamed as Vermont’s Colonial Shrine.
Grandma Moses Schoolhouse at the Bennington Museum
Built in 1821 the Old Academy was meant to be the finest building in the state. This building served first as a private school and then a public school, it later became Old Bennington’s Public Library.
The tablet next to the Academy marks the site of the cabin built by the first settler, Samuel Robinson who built his cabin here in 1761.
Built in 1764 the Walloomsac is the oldest Inn in the state of Vermont. The Walloomsac was originally owned and operated by five different families. The Deweys, Albros, Hicks, Robinsons, and the Sanford’s owned the Inn until 1891 when Walter Berry bought it and added the large side wing along the road. The separate rear section housed the help and the laundry. There are also barns in the rear for livestock and horses. Many famous people have stayed in the Walloomsac throughout the years including President Rutherford B. Hayes and President Benjamin Harrison.
The Putnam House was built in 1873 by Henry W. Putnam. It contained offices of railway companies and was a gentlemen���s club. In 1889, during Prohibition the Putnam house was closed after a police raid found illegal alcohol. The Hotel has been used for many different purposes throughout the years, including dorm rooms for Southern Vermont College students.
This building, prior to serving Bennington as a Police station, was the Federal Building. In 1916, this building was constructed as the office which had relocated from the building that is now the Chittenden Bank.
The Southshire courthouse was built in 1936 as a replica of the original Southshire courthouse in Old Bennington that burned in 1869.
Built in 1833 as a Blacksmith’s shop this building has been a Girls club quarters, The Chamber of Commerce and the Bennington Police station until recently when the Police moved across the street in to the building which prior to that been used for the Federal building. Today this building houses the offices of the Better Bennington Corporation and other Bennington Economic Development Services.
The “Big Mill” built in 1865 was originally constructed to make paisley shawls. When the paisley shawl industry folded, the mill was converted for knitted stockings as well as wool and cotton underwear. Different kinds of machinery were made here including Olin Scott’s famous gunpowder machinery. In 1900 it was again converted to make knitting needles and machinery for the knitting industry. In the 1930’s when the Depression hit the mill was shut down.
This new building for the Saint Francis De Sales church was built in the 1890’s. The church originally had a high steeple extending from the top of the bell tower that acted as a landmark for Bennington. This steeple was removed in the 1920’s because it swayed alarmingly in the wind. The original Saint Francis De Sales church built in 1855 is now the church gallery section of the Bennington Museum.
The Bennington Museum was originally opened in 1928. The museum was built around the original St. Francis de Sales church, which now houses the Church Gallery section of the museum. The Museum has many wonderful collections on exhibition including a collection of pottery manufactured in Bennington between the years of 1793 and 1894.