Middlebury, Vermont (population 8,183), chartered in 1761, is located midway between New Haven in the north and Salisbury to the south, which may have given the town its name. The Vermont marble industry was born here, supplying markets from Quebec to Georgia. Middlebury was also home to power looms, the first nail and window sash factories in Vermont, and later, mills supplying Victorian wood detailing for much of the west-central part of the state.
Today, Middlebury is a beautiful, quintessential New England village with its white steepled church overlooking Main Street. It is home to Middlebury College, founded in 1800 and, in 1883, one of the first to admit women. John Deere, inventor of the cast-steel plow, was born in Middlebury, and the town was a center for the Merino sheep industry and later for the breeding of Morgan horses.
The Middlebury Village Historic District, including 275 buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several years ago, the community renovated the exterior of the 1883 historic Town Hall building and began using it as a performing arts center. Plans are to continue with interior renovations. Despite the unfinished interior, the Town Hall Theater offers a full program of performances from May through October.
The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History contains one of the state’s premier collections of regional artifacts and archival materials. The Vermont Folklife Center, established in 1984 to document and preserve the state’s culture heritage, is based in Middlebury. The town hosts an annual Harvest Bee in the fall, featuring wagon rides, apple pressing, and crafts demonstrations, and the museum’s annual holiday exhibit, “Glimpse of Christmas Past,” presents decorations and festivities throughout the historic Judd-Harris House.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.