St. Albans (population 7,650), the county seat of Franklin County, is located a few miles from Lake Champlain and only 17 miles from the Canadian border. First settled in the late 18th century, the community became the railroad center of Northern Vermont after the Central Vermont Railway established its headquarters there in 1855.
St. Albans is famous as the site of the northernmost engagement of the Civil War, the St. Albans Raid. In 1864, a band of Confederate soldiers invaded St. Albans via Canada and robbed banks, terrorized citizens, and attempted to burn the town. They escaped back to Canada, where many were apprehended but never extradited.
Many of the historic buildings that escaped the torch in 1864 are now part of the St. Albans Historic District. Recently, the City teamed with other public and private partners to rehabilitate 11-13 Lake Street within the district. The award-winning $1.1 million renovation has transformed a vacant and blighted building into affordable housing and commercial/retail space.
The St. Albans Museum (1861) in one of the largest museums in the area. Through a public/private partnership, an elevator is being added to the museum to facilitate access to its third floor performance hall, which will become a performing arts center for St. Albins and Franklin County.
To promote heritage tourism, the St. Albans Museum has developed a historical walking tour. Future plans include partnering with St. Albans For the Future, the city’s Main Street organization, to install interpretive route markers throughout the city.
Designated a Preserve America Community in October 2005.