Bennington has a rich history of early entrepreneurs that date back to the early 18th century when the community of Bennington Centre, on the hill, recognized the value of the water power in the valley. By the mid-19th century the post office was established in the valley and the court house, industries, businesses and workers as well as owners of these enterprises were firmly establishing commerce and residences in the valley. By the middle of the 19th century, Bennington was incorporated as the town of Bennington and Bennington Centre subsequently became Old Bennington.
With a story no different than numerous New England villages, businesses and industries flourished in the industrial revolution. By the 20th century periods of transition began showing that there were “greener pastures for industry, particularly for textile manufacturers who wished to move south. Later at the end of the 20th century, companies began another series of relocations to international locations or other states. Our current industrial base is smaller but we are meeting the challenge with vibrant “clean manufacturing” and excellent opportunities for employment. Our largest industry is Nastech with over 800 employees. The largest employer in the county is Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, whose physicians affiliated as a group with Dartmouth Medical Center. It is a stellular medical center with first rate physicians and nurses and far more disciplines in medicine represented then you would expect in a town our size.
Today Bennington (including North Bennington and Old Bennington) has a population of 15,764 as of the 2010 census is experiencing a fresh image with the Putnam Project redevelopment project. It encompasses a 4 acre parcel in our center business district that will include housing, retail and professional office spaces.
We are home to four Colleges: Bennington College, Southern Vermont College, Community College of Vermont and Baptist College. Our high school is regional in student base with a wide variety of programs including advanced studies. A Vermont State Vocational School is also located at this site. Graduates go on to successful careers. Our office sponsors a column in our local newspaper called “Where Are They Now?” which talks about what our kids are doing now. We have an abundance of cultural events provided by Sage City Symphony, Vermont Arts Exchange, Oldcastle’s Theatre, Bennington Museum and Bennington Center for the Arts. Music flows through the valley from chamber music, concerts and quartets. The Summer Sonatina provides classical music programs for returning adult amateurs and any number of local bands featuring various niches and a terrific Bennington Chorale Society delight musicians and music audiences. McCullough mansion and Carriage Barn host music concerts and plays as well as many programs sponsored by the colleges.
Recreation here is a lifestyle choice for many professionals that might rate our area with skiing, biking, hiking, fishing and hunting as well as golf, swimming and equestrian sports. We have a wonderful park overlooking the Town and Mount Anthony and a Recreational Center with an indoor Olympic sized pool. Our Country Club is open and friendly with reasonable membership fees and fine dining for lunch, dinner and special events.
We have all the amenities for both seniors and young families who appreciate our medical facilities and a community centered on family values, free of major crime and bumper to bumper traffic.
Young singles appreciate the ability to connect with the Berkshire Arts scene and the Capital District of Albany, New York for more cultural happenings. Broadway plays are a morning’s train ride into Manhattan from Albany and Red Sox season tickets are held by many Benningtonian’s who drive into Boston for games.
We are a diversified town with room for everyone to have a voice. Town meeting day in March and selectman’s meetings are widely attended and points of view are roundly discussed and settled. See these events on TV or become a participant – it is the Vermont way.