Here are a few basic bullet points about Brattleboro, VT, accompanied by photographs of some sweet local street art:
(If you are a local / native / interested party, please feel free to offer up your expertise on the subject! Share your knowledge of your town’s history with us!)
- The specific Abenaki band who lived here and traversed this place were called Sokoki, meaning “people who go their own way” or “people of the lonely way“.
- Brattleboro employs a Representative Town Meeting local government, wherein its citizens are represented at-large by a Select Board of five members, and by several dozen Town Representatives elected from three municipal districts.
- Brattleboro is home to The Retreat, founded in 1834 as “the first facility for the care of the mentally ill in Vermont, and one of the first ten private psychiatric hospitals in the United States.” It is a not-for-profit mental health and addictions hospital.
- Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Jungle Book‘ and other works, and built a home, called ‘Naulakha‘, just over the town line to the north in neighboring Dummerston in the 1890s. Read about where Kipling reared Mowgli Here!
- The first person ever to receive a Social Security benefit check, issued on January 31, 1940 was Ida May Fuller from Brattleboro.
- In 2007, after meeting certain qualifying criteria, the local Selectboard passed a resolution designating Brattleboro a Fair Trade Town, becoming the second Fair Trade Certified town in the nation after Media, Pennsylvania.
- Brattleboro has a thriving arts community, and was listed recently in John Villani’s book The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, in which it was ranked #9 among ‘arts towns’ with a population of 30,000 or under.
- Smithsonian Magazine named Brattleboro “One of the 20 Best Towns in America,” saying “We think any best place worth traveling to should have one quality above others: culture.” Click Here to see what they had to say.
- In 2011, Downtown Brattleboro was ravaged by flood waters brought on by Tropical Storm Irene. Also in 2011, the Brooks House suffered a devastating fire which gutted the historical building, leaving a vacant hole on Main Street, which was mended when the old hotel reopened in 2014.
- In 2015, Brattleboro was designated America’s #2 Craft Town, following St. Petersburg, FL, decided through a web competition by American Craft Week for craft lovers across the country to choose their favorite places to enjoy a vibrant craft scene. Read about it Here!
Isn’t that an interesting mix of facts about this Southern Vermont town? I moved here on a whim and with a prayer in 2014, not knowing a single thing on this list. But as time marches forward, I am really excited to dig deep and deeper into the fabric of what makes this town so unique. The way to do this is to learn the history, meet the people, and become part of the process. More to come, but that’s all for now, friends. Until next time…