Serving Insurance in Saint Albans, VT
History and Geography
Saint Albans, Vermont is a city in the northern part of the state surrounded by a town of the same name. The two share a name, but are incorporated separately. The city is the county seat of Franklin County, but is considered part of the Burlington-metro area despite Burlington being in Chittenden County. The town completely surrounds the city.
Saint Albans was chartered in 1763, as part of the New Hampshire grants. It was named after a town by the same name in England, which derived its name from St. Alban. Settlement began after the Revolutionary War, with many arriving in 1785. It was incorporated as a village in 1859, and then as a city in 1902. It covers 2 square miles, while the surrounding town is 60 sq. miles.
The Amtrak Vermonter line, which originates in Washington D.C., terminates here. This line makes daily runs, and previously ran up into Montreal, Canada. The railroad holds great significance for the city, which is affectionately nicknamed “Railroad City.” As many immigrants passed through the railroad depot here, it is an area rich with genealogical history.
The Civil War Era
Saint Albans holds the unique distinction of being the site of the northernmost engagement of the Civil War. Located just 15 miles from the Canadian border, Vermont was far removed from most of the battles of the war. However, on October 19, 1864, this all changed when 21 cavalrymen arrived from the north to take over the town.
This skirmish became known as St. Alban’s Raid. Over the course of 9 days, Confederate soldiers arrived in small groups, finally taking possession of the town. They then robbed three of the local banks, making away with over $200,000 and crossing back over into Canada. Only one townsperson was killed and one other wounded; one of the invaders was also killed. Though the Confederate soldiers were apprehended in Canada, the country refused to return them to the United States in order to avoid taking sides in the war.
Industry and Culture
Saint Albans was desired for its rich soil, providing excellent terrain for raising crops. Cattle, horses, and sheep were also bred here, and butter and cheese were produced.
When the railroad arrived, St. Albans came into its own as a city. It held not only a major depot, but was the operations center and repair area for the Vermont and Canada Railroad. Freight car manufacture, mechanic shops, and an iron foundry formed the backbone of industry. Today it has a thriving industrial and manufacturing area, with many major companies located here.
Currently, Saint Albans enjoys a reputation as a tourist destination, especially noted for its architecture. It hosts the “Bay Day” triathlon each year, culminating in 4th of July fireworks over Lake Champlain. It also is home to the Vermont Maple Festival each spring and the Vermont Voltage soccer team.
Local lore tells of the lake monster, Champ, who was sighted in Saint Albans on the banks of Lake Champlain. While there is no evidence of this monster existing, it is another unique factor that makes St. Albans, Vermont a unique and fascinating city.