Rutland (population 17,292), the county seat of Rutland County, was first settled in 1770 and today is the second largest city in Vermont. The community thrived during the 19th century as a center for marble quarrying and as the “railroad crossroads” of Vermont. Other industries were drawn to the area, and Rutland continued a course of urbanization different from much of the rest of rural Vermont.
In the 1950s and 1960s, passenger railroad service in Rutland ended, and the community suffered an economic setback. But quarrying remains an important industry, and Rutland has diversified its economic base to become a prime regional location for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
The Rutland Downtown Historic District and the Rutland Courthouse Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with buildings dating from the late 18th century forward. Because of the prominence of marble quarrying in the area, the stone was used extensively in the construction or embellishment of many of Rutland’s historic buildings. Merchants Row, an impressive commercial streetscape, is generally regarded as the architectural signature of the downtown.
A number of significant downtown historic buildings have been rehabilitated in recent years, including the Rutland Savings Bank, the Opera House, and the Paramount Theatre. The restored theatre, built in 1913, serves the entire Rutland region as a performing arts facility and community meeting space. Another major preservation project is the recent revitalization of the Tuttle Block, which had languished as the largest derelict historic structure remaining downtown. Through a public/private partnership, the block now houses commercial space and 13 apartments.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.