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Tour Historic Waterbury

Step Back in Time

Take a step back in time and stroll through Waterbury’s history. The earliest inhabitants of the land were Abenaki, likely drawn to the area by the abundance of water, timber, and fertile soil. Naturally, the resources attracted other settlers and in 1763, King George III of England granted a charter. Many people moved to the area from Waterbury, Connecticut, thus the town of Waterbury, Vermont was named. Waterbury’s early industries relied on the bounty of natural resources, and many townspeople made their living processing lumber, farming with sheep and cattle farming, and manufacturing leather products and scythe handles.

The town of Waterbury changed drastically in 1849, when the Central Vermont Railroad came to town and brought with it an economic boom. In 1927, however, Waterbury was devastated by a flood which reached as high as the second story of some downtown buildings. Waterbury was ravaged by water 84 years later in 2011, when Tropical Storm Irene again flooded the town with up to six feet of water. Thankfully, the community spirit of Waterbury could not be washed away and volunteers worked hard to rebuild the damaged downtown. As you tour through Waterbury, look for the high water level markers from both the 1927 and 2011 floods.

Portions of this tour through downtown Waterbury can be completed by foot, but other portions will require a car, bicycle, or transportation method of your choice. Hometown Tours & Rides offers local transportation and a wealth of knowledge about Waterbury. Click here to download the tour map and more detailed directions for following the route.

Further information about Waterbury may be found at the following locations: 

Community Room at Waterbury Railroad Station

Town of Waterbury

Waterbury Historical Society

Waterbury Historical Society's virtual exhibit on the stories of 20 amazing Waterbury women

Waterbury Public Library


Looking to add a few more stops onto the historical tour? Pair it with these other great tours!


Red building in a clearing surrounded by foliageTAKE THE WINDSHIELD TOUR

One of the best ways to discover more of Waterbury is by winding along the waters and through the trees on a scenic drive. Stop and stretch your legs along the way, or just stick to the windshield tour. You can’t go wrong no matter how you decide to explore these vistas!



Waterbury Special Rail Art in foliageENJOY WATERBURY'S PUBLIC ART

Waterbury has a myriad of public art, ranging from murals to miniatures, and sculptures to large-scale installations. The public art tour includes just a small sampling, so look high and low as you travel through town.