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Essex, Vermont

Essex, Vermont
Motto: "Crossroads of Chittenden County"[1]
Essex, Vermont
Essex, Vermont
Country United States
State Vermont
County Chittenden
Incorporated June 7, 1763[1]
 • Total 39.32 sq mi (101.8 km2)
 • Land 39.01 sq mi (101.0 km2)
 • Water 0.31 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation 486 ft (148 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,587
 • Density 502.1/sq mi (193.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 05451-05452
Area code(s) 802
FIPS code 50-24175[2]
GNIS feature ID 1462091[3]

Essex is a town in Chittenden County, Vermont, United States. The population was 19,587 at the 2010 census. By population, Essex is the largest town in Vermont, and the second-largest municipality (after Burlington).


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Arts and culture 4
    • Museums and other points of interest 4.1
  • Government 5
  • Education 6
  • Media 7
  • Infrastructure 8
    • Transportation 8.1
    • Rail 8.2
  • Notable people 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Town vote to merge Revote
District 2006-11-07 2007-01-23
Yes No Yes No
6-1 (outside village) 1,283 2,319 690 2,528
6-3 (outside village) 365 822
6-2 (within village) 2,728 1,026 2,009 362
Townwide totals 4,376 4,167 2,699 2,890
Village vote to accept No revote
result was
  2,922 1,085

The city was incorporated on June 7, 1763,[1] and was named after the Earl of Essex.[4]

The Village of Essex Junction was formed—within the Town of Essex—on November 15, 1892. The Village was formed to provide services (such as sidewalks, water, and sewers) to the villagers that the rest of the, mostly rural, town citizens did not want, and did not want to pay for.

As the town outside the village developed, they gradually added similar services for themselves, and by 1958, the first hints of merger showed up in a voter petition. Since then a series of votes (often contentious) had defeated or passed merger in each community, but never at the same time in both. (which was required by the state legislature for them to sign off on the merger)

This temporarily changed on November 7, 2006 when merger passed in the town as a whole, and in the village. The Town as a whole (including the village) got to vote once on the merger, and the Village, separately, got to vote in a second ballot to accept the merger if it passed the townwide vote. This was confusing enough that the regional paper misreported the results as a defeat of the merger, based solely on the vote results outside the village.[5] The next day the correct results were reported in both the town’s paper,[6] and as a correction in the regional paper.[7]

On December 6, 2006 a petition to reconsider the merger was submitted to the town. The petition contained signatures totaling more than 5 percent of registered voters, which is the threshold required to force a re-vote.[8] The revote was held on January 23, 2007 with a result that overturned merger by 191 votes, rejecting the current merger proposal.[9]

If the results had stood, a multi-year merger process would have resulted in a new Town of Essex Junction replacing the current governments of the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction.


According to the United States Census Bureau,[10] the town has a total area of 39.32 square miles (101.8 km2), of which, 39.01 square miles (101.0 km2) is land and 0.31 square miles (0.8 km2) (0.79%) is water.

The village of Essex Junction is located in the southwestern part of the town.[11]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 18,626 people, 7,013 households, and 5,014 families residing in the town. The population density was 477.5 people per square mile (184.4/km2). There were 7,170 housing units at an average density of 183.8 per square mile (71.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.37% White, 0.88% African American, 0.19% Native American, 2.25% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.

There were 7,013 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.7% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,441, and the median income for a family was $65,794. Males had a median income of $45,428 versus $27,426 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,854. About 1.8% of families and 2.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.4% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

The Harriet Farnsworth Powell Museum is located in Essex. The museum is housed in a former two-room schoolhouse, and includes a collection of costumes, school items, and local memorabilia.[1][12]


Essex comprises three Vermont Legislature districts (seats): Chittenden District 6-2, which is also the Village of Essex Junction (a semi independent village within the town), and Chittenden Districts 6-1 & 6-3 together compose the town outside the village. The Town and Village each operate their own fire department, library, parks department, and municipal services, and contain separate school districts for grades K–8. The governments operate a unified police department and the unified Essex High School.


There are two school districts in the Town of Essex educating 3,500 students in 2009:[13] The Essex Junction School District and the Town of Essex School District.

The Essex Junction School District (Chittenden County Supervisory Union) funds and supervises: Essex High School, Summit Street School, Fleming School, Albert D. Lawton School, the Hiawatha School, The Center for Technology, Essex and Westford School.[13]

The Town of Essex School District funds and supervises: Essex Elementary, Founders Memorial School and Essex Middle School.[13] The middle school contains a "school within a school". In 2009, 87 students from 4th grade to 8th grade began to study in an alternative environment, called the "Edge Academy" that allows them a say in how and what they study.[14] Bussing is run for all schools. Essex High School (EHS) provides bussing for those who live in Essex Town, South Hero, Grand Isle, North Hero and Georgia, but not for Essex Junction, Westford or Isle La Motte. There is also bussing for Westford School.


"The Essex Reporter" is a weekly newspaper published in Essex, covering news in Essex and the surroounding communities in Chittenden County.[15] It has a weekly circulation of 8,800 copies.[16]



Vermont's Circumferential Highway (I-289 or "Circ") courses through Essex, and the section within Essex's jurisdiction has been completed. However Circ construction has been halted in surrounding communities by court action from environmental protesters.

Bus service is provided by Chittenden County Transportation Authority.


Amtrak, the national rail passenger system, provides daily service from Essex, operating the Vermonter between St. Albans, Vermont and Washington, D.C.. In 2008, a study indicated that the cheapest method for one person to get to NYC from "Burlington" (Essex Junction), was by train at $48 one way. It was also the longest, taking an estimated 9 hours and 25 minutes.[17][18]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Town of Essex Vermont". Town of Essex Vermont. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  4. ^ "Profile for Essex, Vermont, VT". ePodunk. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Welch, Victoria (2006-11-08), "Essex Defeats Merger 2-1", Burlington Free Press .
  6. ^ Tyler, George (2006-11-09), "Merger Wins: Confusion over vote count", Essex Reporter .
  7. ^ Welch, Victoria (2006-11-09), "Essex merger moves forward: An apology to our Essex readers", Burlington Free Press .
  8. ^ Welch, Victoria (2006-12-07), "New rift emerges in Essex merger", Burlington Free Press .
  9. ^ Welch, Victoria (2007-01-24), "This time, Essex rejects merger" (– Scholar search), Burlington Free Press  .
  10. ^ "Vermont by Place and County".  
  11. ^ Official map by the United States Census Bureau; Chittenden County listed on page 3. Accessed 2009-08-22.
  12. ^ "Champlain Valley Region Vermont Historical Societies". Vermont Living Magazine. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c [1]
  14. ^ Ryan, Matt (3 September 2009). "Academy school take role in learning". Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press. pp. 2B. 
  15. ^ "The Essex Reporter". The Essex Reporter. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ "The Essex Reporter". Mondo Times. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ Assuming $4 per gallon ($1 per liter) gasoline and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) when comparing to auto
  18. ^ McKean, Dan (August 17, 2008), Which way?, Burlington Free Press 
  19. ^ "Bert Abbey Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ "William B. Castle". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau, Steven Cray to Serve as Next Adjutant General of Vermont National Guard, February 21, 2013
  22. ^ "Linda K. Myers". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 

External links

  • Essex Vermont Official Website
  • Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Business and tourism information.
  • ePodunk: Profile for Essex, Vermont
  • The Essex Reporter

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