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Bellows Falls is an incorporated village located in the town of Rockinghammarker in Windham Countymarker, Vermontmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 3,165 at the 2000 census. Bellows Falls is home to the Green Mountain Railroad, a heritage railroad, and to the annual Roots on the River Festival.


The falls were once a fishing place for nomadic Abenaki tribes, who caught plentiful salmon and shad. First called Great Falls, it was settled in 1753 by the English and named for Colonel Benjamin Bellows, a landowner. In 1785, Colonel Enoch Hale built at the falls the first bridge over the Connecticut River. It remained the only bridge across until 1796, when another was built at Springfieldmarker, Massachusettsmarker. The Bellows Falls Canal, built in 1791-1802, lifted boats 52 feet (16 m) in 8 locks around the gorge, and also provided water power for industry.

In 1802, the first paper mill was established. Two railroads converged in 1849 at Bellows Falls, helping it develop into a major mill town. By 1859, there was a woolen textile mill, in addition to factories which produced furniture, marble, sashes and blinds, iron castings, carriages, cabinet ware, rifles, harness, shoe pegs and organ. The principal products, however, were paper and farm machinery. Incorporated as a village in 1909, Bellows Falls is today a tourist destination noted for its Victorian architecture.


The village is located within the town of Rockingham, Vermontmarker. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), all of it land. Bellows Falls is bounded on the east by the Connecticut River.

The village is crossed by Interstate 91, U.S. Route 5 and Vermont Route 121.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,165 people, 1,329 households, and 782 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,286.1 people per square mile (885.5/km2). There were 1,443 housing units at an average density of 1,042.3/sq mi (403.7/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 97.28% White, 0.35% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 1,329 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were couples living together and joined in either marriage or civil union, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the village the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $29,608, and the median income for a family was $45,688. Males had a median income of $29,137 versus $22,340 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,276. About 5.6% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides daily service through Bellows Falls, operating its Vermonter between Washington, D.C.marker and St. Albans, Vermontmarker. The Bellows Falls Station, on Depot St, also serves as the headquarters for the Green Mountain Railroad.

Connecticut River Transit, a private, non-profit personal mobility specialist, provides scheduled bus service linking Bellows Falls, Brattleboromarker, Springfieldmarker and other local communities as needed by private arrangement.

Green Mountain Railroad, a part of the Vermont Rail System, operates seasonal and holiday scenic train excursions between Bellows Falls and Chestermarker.

Antique postcards

Image:Paper Mills, Bellows Falls, VT.jpg|Paper mills in 1907Image:Westminster High Bridge, Bellows Falls, VT.jpg|Saxton's River in 1906Image:Awaiting Parade, Bellows Falls Fair.jpg|Bellows Falls Fair in 1912Image:Arch-Bridge-postcard-1.jpg|1905 arch bridge to North Walpole, New Hampshiremarker

Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Sites of interest

Notable residents

The Miss Bellows Falls Diner and Rockingham Street

See also


  1. A. J. Coolidge & J. B. Mansfield, A History and Description of New England; Boston, Massachusetts 1859
  2. The First Toll Bridge at Bellows Falls
  3. Bellows Falls Canal
  4. A. J. Coolidge & J. B. Mansfield, A History and Description of New England; Boston, Massachusetts 1859

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