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Essex Junction
05452

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Daffs at the tracks
Photo by Nathaniel Higgins

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About Essex Junction, Vermont
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Click for Essex_Junction, Vermont Forecast

Village in the town of Essex, Chittenden County

Village Incorporated: November 15, 1892
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 73° 06' W 44°29'
Altitude: 358 feet ASL
Census Info: County  State

Originally Hubbell's Falls, after a settler who built a mill at the only usable falls east of Winooski. Renamed Painesville in the mid-19th century to honor then Governor Charles Paine of Northfield.

Paine was a big name in railroading in Vermont, and as close to a crook the state has ever had in executive office. He and other railroad officials stood to gain greatly from railroad routes, so it was they who determined where the roads would go. Never mind grades just short of impossible for the trains of the time. Never mind the communities the routes supposedly were to serve (evidence that main lines missed both Burlington and Montpelier entirely, requiring passengers and freight to be shuttled to the nearest junction).

"Essex Junction" was the railroad designation, and conductors had for years identified it as such as they announced the stop, completely confounding the hapless traveller en route to Burlington, finding himself on a rail platform in a town he had never heard of. That name was offically adopted in 1865.

It is rumored (strongly) that IBM, the largest employer in the state, put a plant here in 1957 because then-chairman Tom Watson, Jr. was a skier; not far from Stowe, ski trips could easily be called business trips. Watson was later one of the principal investors in the development of Smugglers' Notch, which is even closer.

Until recently, Essex Junction held the dubious distinction of being the location of the busiest intersection in the state, with Routes 15, 2A and 117 forming what is known locally as "Five Corners" in the center of the Village. Toss in a still-active rail junction (tracks cross all three routes within yards of the intersection), and you got rather frustrating traffic backups. Many were the motorists who found themselves at a dead stop, either unaware of the rail schedule or unable to take an alternate route.

The construction of one leg of the long awaited, long-contested Circumferential Highway (Route 289) in the mid 90s relieved some of that load, allowing much of the traffic to and from what are essentially the bedroom communities further out Route 15 to bypass Five Corners. The Busiest Intersection Award, by the way, now goes to the corner of Williston Road and Dorset Street in South Burlington.

Material excerpted or adapted from Esther Munroe Swift's
Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History
with the author's permission

Activities & Points of Interest
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Goings-on in and near Essex Junction
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Essex Community Historical Society

Essex Junction Historical Society

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Police (non-emergency): 802-878-8331
Hospital: University of Vermont Medical Center (Burlington) 802-847-0000
Essex Village Clerk:  Cheryl Moomey 81 Main St Essex Junction, VT 05452
 802-879-0413
 M-F 7:30-4:30

Churches, Ministries, Charitables
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Episcopal : St. James 802-878-4014
Roman Catholic : Holy Family
Roman Catholic : St. Lawrence
United Church of Christ : United Church of Christ
United Methodist : Grace UMC 802-878-8071
United Methodist : Vermont Korean-Amrcn

Schools
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Chittenden Central Supervisory Union 802-879-5579
Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School 802-878-1388
Essex Center for Technology 802-879-5558
Essex Community Education Center 802-879-7121
Hiawatha School 802-878-1384
Summit Street School 802-878-1377
Thomas Fleming School 802-878-1381
Wheeler School 802-864-8475

Businesses & Services
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Champlain Valley Auto
Rocheleau Appraisal
Fast Friendly Service for Northwestern Vermont

Places To Eat
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The Essex, VermontŐs Culinary Resort & Spa
The area's only full service resort hotel, featuring 120 newly renovated guestrooms and suites by Vermont's own Susan Sargent. Her country-eclectic design offers a truly relaxing environment, from standard accommodations to fireplace, whirlpool and kitchen suites. New England Culinary Institute operates the Inn's two cutting-edge restaurants. On-site golf, tennis, outdoor pool, culinary-theme gardens, in-room spa services with convenient access to Burlington, area attractions and skiing.

Utilities
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Notes about utilities:

  • One electric or phone company indicates that company serves the entire town. More than one of either indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • A listed cable company MIGHT mean the entire town is covered, but not necessarily. More than one listed indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • Unless your area is one served by Vermont's only gas utility, your only option is bottled gas (any dealer).
    Cable Comcast 800-266-2278
    Electric Green Mountain Power 888-835-4672
    Natural Gas Vermont Gas Systems 802-863-4511
    Telephone Fairpoint 866-984-2001

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    January 13, 2017