In the streets of Montpelier

(continuer en français) – Published: November 01, 2020

With 7,800 inhabitants, Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the United States, the State of Vermont, one of the smallest of the 50 states of the United States, 43rd in terms of surface area and 49th in terms of population. And yet its State House is impressively large.

The city was founded in 1787, the name was inspired by the French city of Montpellier in gratitude for France’s help in the American Revolution. Because of its central position in Vermont, Montpelier was chosen as the capital in 1805.

The present state house dates back to 1859 and incorporates some elements of the former building destroyed by fire. Thus the portico on the façade dates back to 1838, confirming the attraction for the Antique style whenever a building is to inspire a sense of solemnity. The Capitol stands against a forested hill of Hubbart Park, illustrating the French name of Vermont (Mont Vert – Green Mountain).

Under the dome covered with gold leaf, the building is free to visit during opening hours. The interior is decorated in a very classical style. Facing the entrance, the bust of Abraham Lincoln continues to watch over American democracy.

Located under the peristyle is the statue of Ethan Allen, organizer of the Green Mountain Boys militia who fought for Vermont’s identity to the point of forming an independent republic between 1777 and 1791.

Another historical moment, a plaque recalls the Marquis de Lafayette’s triumphant tour of the United States in 1825, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of American independence.

Close to the Montpelier State House stands the Pavilion, a former late 19th century hotel associated with the political life of the state, either as a residence or as a reception venue. Since 1971 it has been transformed to house both the Governor’s offices and residence, as well as the State Museum.

Although the resident population is small for a state capital, the number of jobs offered by both public and private administrations leads the city to see a massive growth in its daytime population, estimated at over 21,000 people.

The residential town is scattered along several valleys. The intersection of the two main streets forms a town centre where the brick facades date back to the 19th century. Many shops maintain this old-fashioned look in their appearance.

Tourism is another of the city’s resources. Several houses in the city centre are nicely furnished in the bed & breakfast style where the service is more traditional and close to the guests in comparison to the usual hotel chains.

It is also noted that Montpelier is one of the few cities of this size that does not have a McDonald’s restaurant on its territory, although a neighbouring town does.

Along Main Street, in the historic district, several beautiful old houses have preserved their facades from another time, carefully maintained. Embellished with lawns and trees, Main Street offers the vision of a preserved urban landscape.

As elsewhere in the United States, citizens are involved in numerous community activities in all fields.

Whether it is because of its distinct history or its proximity to Quebec, Vermont has distinguished itself by a progressive social policy and a strong interest in environmental protection. Indeed, 70% of the state is still covered by forests.

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18 comments

    • Stating the obvious, New England is very different from the West, especially in small rural communities. Apart from all the modern technology, the structures date back to the 18th century and the inhabitants have long since learned to preserve their heritage buildings for our delight. A trip there in the fall is an enchantment.

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    • I prefer not to imagine how it can be under the snow before the roads are cleared. Snowy landscapes have their charms but it is true that they hide a part of reality that is difficult to guess. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love Montpelier in France, it is so different, the very modern sits side by side with the traditional. The US Montpelier is very different but so interesting. Vermont looks like a stunning place and your photographs bring it to life.

    In case you would like to know something about the French Montpelier, here are links to two posts about the city. https://travels-with-my-camera.blog/2016/08/28/montpelier-france/ and https://travels-with-my-camera.blog/2016/09/09/montpelier-antigone-area/

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    • I went to Montpellier and Palavas-les-Flots at a very young age. I saw the construction of the Polygone and Antigone sectors, I still remember the Place de la Comédie with its circular circulation, I appreciate more the pedestrian space it has become today. Your posts are well written and capture the essential of that beautiful city. Thanks for sharing and commenting.

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