Located at the confluence of the Waits and Connecticut rivers, Bradford, Vermont, (population 2,600) was chartered in 1790. Originally called Mooretown, Bradford was the home of James Wilson, the first globe-map maker in North America.
Historically, Bradford was the commercial center for a number of surrounding farming communities, and the town’s economy continues to be dominated by retail and service businesses. Several large dairy operations form the bulk of the agricultural sector, and local industries include veneer and furniture manufacture.
The Bradford Mill, located just below the Waits River falls, was built in 1847 as a gristmill and today houses several businesses. Bradford has many buildings dating back to the 19th century, and some to the 18th century, from simple cape style farmhouses to grand buildings such as the Bradford Public Library, designed in 1895, the Bradford Academy buildings (1893-94), and two classic New England churches.
Bradford recently rehabilitated seven properties along South Main Street, all in the downtown historic district, and is planning a comprehensive streetscape project along Barton Street.
The Bradford Historical Society operates a museum and sponsors the annual Graveyard Gossip and Neighborhood tour, which incorporates costumed re-enactments. A summer concert series attracts residents and visitors alike to the downtown gazebo, harking back to times when downtown areas were vibrant community gathering places.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2007.