Rockingham (population 5,309) is located in southeastern Vermont, on the banks of the Connecticut River. The town is predominantly rural and forested, but also includes densely-settled villages and hamlets, and several industrial areas. Almost two-thirds of the residents live in the historic Village of Bellows Falls.
Rockingham was chartered in 1753, and its strategic location at the Great Falls of the Connecticut River made it a natural location for industrial development during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Village of Bellows Falls grew as a manufacturing center and transportation hub, becoming the site of one of the largest paper-making complexes in the world.
Rockingham has four National Register Historic Districts and a National Historic Landmark, the Rockingham Meetinghouse (1787-1901). To help promote these and other historic assets, Rockingham opened a new visitor center in 2003 in connection with the Connecticut River Scenic Byway. The byway was established by the States of Vermont and New Hampshire to promote heritage tourism and appreciation of the natural environment. The Rockingham visitor center has drawn several thousand visitors in its first two years of operation.
Rockingham was one of the first two Certified Local Governments established in Vermont, and is the only town in the state to fund a separate part-time position of Historic Preservation Coordinator. The community is also a “designated downtown” as part of the Vermont Downtown Program. Downtown enhancement projects in the Village of Bellows Falls include streetscape improvements and rehabilitation of several key historic properties.
Designated a Preserve America Community in October 2005.