Waterbury, Vermont, located in the heart of Vermont's Green Mountains, is a vibrant community of just over 5,000 encompassing Waterbury Village, Colbyville, and Waterbury Center. A mere 20-minute drive from Montpelier, 30 minutes from Burlington, and midway between the popular resort areas of Stowe and the Mad River Valley, Waterbury sits at the intersection of three of Vermont’s most heavily traveled and scenic roads.
Our downtown is home to a colorful mix of residential neighborhoods, civic and cultural facilities, and independent, small businesses. Further afield, Waterbury is home to the Perry Hill bike trails, Waterbury Reservoir and Little River State Park.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF WATERBURY
Waterbury was chartered in 1763 under a grant from King George III of England. The name was selected by founding proprietors who primarily hailed from Waterbury, Connecticut. The early economy was based on agriculture, sheep and dairy farming, lumber, and a limited production of goods.
In 1849, the Central Railroad brought significant economic growth and the rise of tourism to central Vermont and in 1882, the Village of Waterbury was incorporated. The population had grown to over 2200.
The Vermont State Asylum for the Insane opened in 1891 and at its peak included over 40 buildings and 1,728 patients. However, with the modernization of the treatment of mental illness, the property became a campus for the State of Vermont and by 2011, only one building was still being utilized for the treatment of mental health patients.
The Great Flood of 1927 resulted in widespread devastation. To mitigate future flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers completed work on the Little River Dam in 1938, thereby forming the Waterbury Reservoir (link).
The Waterbury portion of Interstate 89 opened in 1960, dramatically increasing accessibility to local businesses and recreational activities.
On August 28 and 29, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene became the second great flood to impact downtown Waterbury. Over $2.5 million in damage to small businesses alone was reported to Revitalizing Waterbury.
Waterbury Village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. Contact the Waterbury Historical Society for more information on our unique history, or enjoy a self-guided walking tour of historic Waterbury Village (PDF). The Town of Waterbury website also offers a detailed history of Waterbury.