Shops along Main Street (Vermont Route 11)
Location in the United States
|Coordinates: 43°17′17″N 72°36′54″W|
|• Total||55.9 sq mi (144.9 km2)|
|• Land||55.7 sq mi (144.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)|
|Elevation||823 ft (251 m)|
|• Density||56/sq mi (22/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1462070|
The town was originally chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth as Flamstead in 1754. The terms of the charter were not met and the town was re-chartered as New Flamstead in 1761. In 1766, a patent was issued by New York that changed the name of the town to Chester, after George Augustus Frederick, the Earl of Chester and the eldest son of King George III. Later, the governing authority of Chester reverted to the 1761 charter by an act of the Vermont legislature, although it left the name "Chester" in place. 2011 was thus the 250th anniversary of the town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.9 square miles (144.9 km2), of which 55.7 square miles (144.2 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 0.46%, is water.
Williams River in Chester, Vt
The Williams River is a tributary of the Connecticut River. It has 3 branches which come together as a central river and run through Chester. Chester, VT residents, use it extensively for recreation; especially fishing and swimming. The banks, covered bridges, waters and nearby homes suffered major damage during Hurricane Irene and years passed as the land and water worked to heal itself. Many ask the question, "why was Vermont hit so hard by Hurricane Irene when it is nowhere near the ocean?" The Williams River is 25 miles long and drains an area of 117 square miles. Most of the basin had very poor drainage due to the rugged, hilly land with steep slopes, and this resulted in the extreme destruction of the Williams River and surrounding lands during Hurricane Irene.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, 3,154 people resided in Chester, with 1,793 housing units. In 2010, Chester had 510 residents 14 years old and younger; 205 15 to 19; 277 20 to 29; 298 ages 30 to 39; and 418 ages 40 to 49. Our 0-49 age group makes up 53.2% of the Chester population. Of the entire population, 17.6% is 50 to 59 years old, 13.1% is 60 to 69; 7.6% is between 70 and 79 and 5.2% is 80 and older.
As in 2000, the majority of town residents in 2010 are female (1,638 to 1,516 male today compared to 1,574 to 1,470 10 years ago). In 2010, 1,262 of the women and 1,117 of the men are older than 19.
Like most Vermont towns, Chester is predominantly white (3,076 of 3,154). Chester is 97.5% white (down slightly from 98.8%) while Vermont as a whole is 95.3% white. Chester's non-Caucasian population, however, has more than doubled, from 38 residents in 2000 to 78 in 2010.
The Native America/Alaskan population has risen from 3 in 2000 to 16 in 2010, while Chester's Asian population has risen from 7 to 15 and its Hispanic populace grew from 21 in 2000 to 35 in 2010. In the meantime, the number of African-American residents dropped from 10 in 2000 to 7 in 2010. And the number of residents claiming more than one race more than doubled, from 17 in 2000 to 37 in 2010.
As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the town was $39,417, and the median income for a family was $47,083. Males had a median income of $32,744 versus $26,114 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,661. About 3.8% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
Arts and culture
Annual cultural events
Chester is famous for its Stone Village Historic District and Chester Village Historic District. Both districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Stone Village section is located along Vermont Route 103 in North Chester, across the Williams River from Chester Center. It is known for the many houses made of local granite. The Chester Factory Village has homes that were built between 1750-1924, and includes Victorian, Colonial Revival and Federal style architecture. Both areas are popular tourist destinations.
Registered historic sites:
- Chester Village Historic District — Roughly bounded by Lovers Lane Brook, Maple St., Williams River, Middle Branch & Lovers Lane (added September 8, 1985)
- Greenwood House — VT 103 (added December 1, 1985)
- Jeffrey House — North St. (added July 13, 1974)
- Stone Village Historic District — Both sides of VT 103 (added June 17, 1974)
The Chester Telegraph, an online newspaper, is based in Chester, and was founded in 2011. It grew out of the website www.chestervermont.org, which was funded by USDA Rural Development. The Telegraph focuses on local news in Chester.
- Melvin Baldwin, U.S. Representative from Minnesota.
- Fernando C. Beaman, US congressman from Michigan
- Paul Bremer, Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq
- John Royston Coleman, economist, president of Haverford College, and host of CBS program Money Talks; innkeeper of The Inn at Long Last in Chester
- Donald J. Cram, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1987
- Anna Dewdney, children's book author; lived in Chester until her death in September 2016
- Merritt A. Edson, Marine Corps general
- James Robinson Graves, Baptist preacher, publisher, and author
Dollar General proposal
In 2011 and 2012, Chester residents gained notoriety for their fight against a proposed Dollar General store. The Chester Telegraph covered the issue, which was also picked up statewide by Vermont Public Radio and The New York Times. In February 2014, the Vermont Environmental Court ruled that a Dollar General could be built in Chester.
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- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Chester town, Windsor County, Vermont". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- "The Williams River and its Watershed" (PDF). Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. October 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
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- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
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- "A list of Vermont Fall Foliage Events Festivals for the 2013 Season". Foliage Vermont. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Chester Fall Festival". Chester Fall Festival. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Chester, Vermont Winter Carnival 2014". Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "VERMONT - Windsor County - Historic Districts". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "About Chester". Chester Vermont. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "About The Telegraph". The Chester Telegraph. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
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- "BALDWIN, Melvin Riley, (1838 - 1901)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "BEAMAN, Fernando Cortez, (1814 - 1882)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Former Iraq administrator Bremer now a painter". CNN. March 5, 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Donald J. Cram - Facts". Nobelprprize.org. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Anna Dewdney". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Keller, Scott (2004). Marine Pride: A Salute to America's Elite Fighting Force. Citadel Press. p. 217.
- Patterson, James A. (2012). James Robinson Graves: Staking the Boundaries of Baptist Identity. B&H Publishing Group. p. 7.
- "Vermont Towns Have an Image, and They Say Dollar Stores Aren't Part of It". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Environmental Court OK's Dollar General with conditions". The Chester Telegraph. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "DRB upholds Dollar General OK, clarifies findings". The Chester Telegraph. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chester, Vermont.|
- Town of Chester official website
- Chester community website
- The Chester Telegraph, online newspaper
- 2010-11 photos of town, houses and buildings (61)