Williamstown is located in the northwest corner of
Orange County. Route 14, running north-south, bisects the Town and provides
access to the cities of Barre and Montpelier to the north. Route 64 runs
from Route 14 in Williamstown Village westerly to I89, providing easy access
to communities northwest and south. Located in the valley, the Village
is the geographical center of the Town.
Settled in the late 16th Century, Williamstown's population
increased until the mid-1800's, when following the Civil War it began declining.
The population grew rapidly between 1880 and 1910 with the coming of the
railroad and the increasing number of jobs in granite related industries.
Between 1910 and 1960, the population has been increasing. Between 1970
and 1980, population increased more rapidly than at any other time in this
Century. Continued growth during the Eighties finds Williamstown with a
population of 2,839. This changes Williamstown's status from Rural Town
to Urban Municipality.
Soil and groundwater contamination first discovered
in 1983 made clean water and safe waste disposal issues debated by all
townspeople. Changes to Williamstown's infrastructure during the past decade
demonstrate Williamstown's commitment to health and safety.
Williamstown's experience with pollution both surprised
and tested the community . Debate over responsibility, cleanup , and future
protection appeared, at times , to divide the citizenry . Consensus, however,
gradually developed. Today, Williamstown finds itself stronger and better
prepared for the future.
School enrollment declined during the mid-Eighties
for two reasons. First there was the pollution concern, and second, Barre
Town ad Barre City joined to form a high school district. This merger deprived
Williamston of tuition students from Barre Town. During the last five years,
however, Elementary School enrollments have increased. Subsequently, the
sixth grade was located in the High School building as part of the Middle
School. The school directors have discussed appointing a committee to study
school expansion needs.
Williamstown is primarily a residential community
and wants to continue to encourage residential growth while also expanding
its commercial /industrial base at a rate at which the Town's services
can reasonably absorb. The Town does not intend to grow at the expense
of the natural environment. New growth must be non-polluting, in appropriate
locations, and in harmony with scenic character of the Town. Agricultural
and forest land provide Williamstown with its scenic beauty and represent
important assets in Williamstown's future growth.
Vermont Chamber of Commerce