St. Johnsbury, Vermont
St. Johnsbury Center
East St. Johnsbury
|• Total||36.8 sq mi (95.2 km2)|
|• Land||36.4 sq mi (94.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)|
|Elevation||614 ft (187 m)|
|• Density||200/sq mi (77/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
05819, 05838, 05863
|GNIS feature ID||1462199|
St. Johnsbury (known locally as "St. J") is the shire town (county seat) of Caledonia County, Vermont, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 7,364. St. Johnsbury is situated on the Passumpsic River and is located approximately six miles northwest of the Connecticut River and 48 miles (77 km) south of the Canada–U.S. border.
St. Johnsbury is the largest town by population in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and has long served as a commercial center for the region. In 2006, the town was named "Best Small Town" in National Geographic Adventure's "Where to live and play" feature. The more densely settled southern one-third of the town is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the St. Johnsbury census-designated place, where over 81% of the population resides.
The town was originally granted in 1760 as part of the New Hampshire Grants and named Bessborough. It was regranted by Vermont in 1786 as Dunmore, and settled the same year. An early settler was Jonathan Arnold, a member of the Continental Congress and author of Rhode Island's act of secession from the Kingdom of Great Britain in May 1776. Arnold left Rhode Island in 1787 and, with six other families, built homes at what is now the town center.
By 1790, the village had grown to 143 inhabitants, and the first town meeting took place in Arnold's home that year, where the name St. Johnsbury was adopted. According to local lore, Vermont founder Ethan Allen himself proposed naming the town St. John in honor of his friend Jean de Crèvecœur, a French-born author and agriculturist and a friend of Benjamin Franklin. (He was known in the United States as J. Hector St. John.) According to this account, de Crèvecœur suggested instead the unusual St. Johnsbury to differentiate it from Saint John, New Brunswick.
In the mid-19th century, St. Johnsbury became a minor manufacturing center, with the main products being scales—the platform scale was invented there by Thaddeus Fairbanks in 1830—and maple syrup and related products. With the arrival of the railroad line from Boston to Montreal in the 1850s, St. Johnsbury grew quickly and was named the shire town (county seat) in 1856, replacing Danville. The oldest occupied residence in St. Johnsbury was built in 1798 and located on the corner of Summer and Central streets, attached to the J. J. Palmer house.
The former St. Johnsbury Fairground was located where Interstates 91 and 93 converge, south of the town. The Third Vermont Regiment drilled there prior to joining the Union Army during the Civil War. The first air flight in Vermont occurred at the fair on April 19, 1910.
In the 1940s the town contained three major industrial companies, each then the largest of its type in the world. One was Fairbanks Scales, another was a maple sugar candy company, while a third made candlepins for bowling. The rest of the economy was mostly rural.
St. Johnsbury is located at , elevation 212.4 m (697 ft). According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.8 square miles (95.2 km2), of which 36.4 square miles (94.3 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 0.96%, is water. Situated at the confluence of the Passumpsic, Moose and Sleeper's rivers, the town lies at the heart of the Passumpsic River basin, one of the largest of the upper Connecticut River watershed. St. Johnsbury is on the site of the northernmost boundary of Lake Hitchcock, the post-glacial predecessor to the Connecticut River.
The town includes the unincorporated villages of St. Johnsbury, East St. Johnsbury, Goss Hollow, and St. Johnsbury Center. The town center, which is defined as a census-designated place (CDP), encompasses the villages of St. Johnsbury and St. Johnsbury Center and covers an area of 13.1 square miles (33.9 km2), about 36% of the area of the town.
The highest point in St. Johnsbury is an unnamed hill in the northwest part of town east of Libby Road. The twin summits of the hill each rise above 1,594 feet (486 m) above sea level.
|Climate data for St. Johnsbury, Vermont|
|Record high °F (°C)||63
|Average high °F (°C)||27.6
|Average low °F (°C)||6.4
|Record low °F (°C)||−35
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.88
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||22.7
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 7,604 people, 3,236 households, and 1,917 families residing in the town. The population density was 209 people per square mile (79.7/km2). There were 3,482 housing units at an average density of 94.49/sq mi (36.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.5% White, 0.8% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 1.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,197 households, out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 12.8% under the age of 18, 19.1% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,269, and the median income for a family was $41,961. Males had a median income of $30,846 versus $22,131 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,807. 14.7% of the population and 12.0% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 37.8% are under the age of 18 and 11.1% are 65 or older.
The U.S. Census Bureau refers to the most developed portion of the town as a census-designated place (CDP).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,319 people, 2,726 households, and 1,561 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 486.8 people per square mile (188.0/km2). There were 2,985 housing units at an average density of 230.0 per square mile (88.8/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.23% White, 0.47% Black or African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.
There were 2,726 households, out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $26,702, and the median income for a family was $39,890. Males had a median income of $31,454 versus $21,283 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $16,561. About 12.8% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.
In 2010, the town employed ten firefighters. The department had an annual budget of $945,920. It has had a professional department since about 1910.
Social services are provided in part by Northeast Kingdom Community Action located here and in other Northeast Kingdom sites.
Green Mountain Mall is a shopping mall north of downtown St. Johnsbury on U.S. Route 5. The anchor store was JCPenney. On December 16, 2020, it was announced that JCPenney would be closing as part of a plan to close 15 stores nationwide. The store closed in May 2021.
The Northeast Kingdom Human Services aids mental health needs. The Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital is located in the town.
St. Johnsbury is the home of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium which opened in 1891 as a gift of Franklin Fairbanks, a businessman, naturalist and philanthropist, to the community. His donated collections remain northern New England’s most extensive natural history display, and the National Register-listed building is a splendid example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The Fairbanks Museum is well known in Vermont for producing the "Eye on the Sky" weather forecast which is broadcast on Vermont Public Radio and Magic 97.7 FM.
There has been an annual First Night community celebration of the arts on New Year's Eve since 1993.
The town contains the only National Historic Landmark in the county, as well as the only one in the Northeast Kingdom - the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. The town also contains 13 other places on the list of National Register of Historic Places, the most in Caledonia County or the Northeast Kingdom:
The town is mentioned in Hayden Carruth's classic poem "Regarding Chainsaws." Carruth lived and farmed in that area of Vermont for many years.
The Caledonian-Record, a daily newspaper, has been published since 1837. Farming, the Journal of Northeast Agriculture is published locally.
The following roads facilitate traffic: Interstate 91, Interstate 93, U.S. Route 2, U.S. Route 5 and Vermont Route 2B. Three exits from Interstate 91 serve the town. The northern terminus of Interstate 93 is at I-91 at the southern border of the town, and I-93 Exit 1, while just over the line in the town of Waterford, serves the eastern side of St. Johnsbury.
Main article: List of people from St. Johnsbury, Vermont
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