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Winooski (/wɪˈnuːski/) is a city in Chittenden Countymarker, Vermontmarker, in the United Statesmarker. Located at the mouth of the Winooski River, as of the 2000 census the city population was 6,561. It is part of the Burlington-South Burlington, VT Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which, 1.4 square miles (3.7 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2) of it (5.30%) is water.

Etymology

The word "winooski" comes from the language of the Abenaki tribe, and means "this is where the wild onions grow".

History

Pre-columbian

5000 years ago a single family of paleolithic native Americans came to what is now the city . The prehistoric campground for this transient group is one of Vermont's significant archaeological sites. Other native people came to Winooski in the years that followed.

Colonial

Situated on a main travel route, Winooski most likely started out as a trading city. With a set of waterfalls to assist the growth of industry, it soon became a center for wool processing.

In the early 1770s Ira Allen constructed a blockhouse on the Winooski (then "Onion") River which served both as a fort and as general store and office for the land-speculating "Onion River Company." "Fort Frederick" was never used for defense, but its presence increased the value of Onion River property and promoted settlement.

Post-colonial

After the Revolutionary War, Ira Allen built a dam across the river with a sawmill at each end.

In the late 1830s the Burlington Mill Company used the rivers power for the manufacture of yarns and cloth.

Modern times

The American Woolen Company purchased the failing Burlington Mills in in 1901 restoring a measure of economic growth to the area. This success eventually led Winooski to incorporate as a city in 1922, breaking away from the town of Colchester, Vermontmarker.

The mills closed in 1954, resulting in two decades of economic problems for the city. In the 1980s, two old mills were converted into commercial, office, and apartment space, helping to revitalize the area.

In 1979, the city researched the construction of a dome over the entire city of Winooski, to reduce heating costs during the winter. The proposed dome would have been at the center, and internal combustion engines would have been banned. Though the dome was never built, to this day the city's planner defends the concept, insisting "Economically, it's a slam dunk," and adding "You could have had year-round fly-fishing."

In 2008, the city dismissed their city manager of 11 months, while he was still an "at-will" employee. His contract had been scheduled for three years.

Government

Public safety

In 2008, property crimes increased by 68.8%. Overall, the number of crimes rose 50.8% to 807 incidents.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,561 people, 2,944 households, and 1,466 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,586.1 people per square mile (1,771.5/km2). There were 3,015 housing units at an average density of 2,107.5/sq mi (814.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.55% White, 1.25% African American, 0.52% Native American, 5.40% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 2,944 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were couples living together and joined in either marriage or civil union, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.2% were non-families. 36.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 34.8% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

Economy

Personal income

The median income for a household in the city was $30,592, and the median income for a family was $38,551. Males had a median income of $30,257 versus $21,168 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,208. About 10.2% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.8% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.

Industry

Winooski hosts the headquarters of VSAC, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Their new headquarters is a large part of the city's downtown redevelopment project.

Transportation

Bus service is provided by Chittenden County Transportation Authority.

Notable residents

  • Jan Backus, former member of the Vermont Senate.


References

  1. Winooski, Vermont City Data
  2. Historical Look at Winooski
  3. About Winooski
  4. Burlington Vt. area
  5. Historical look at Winooski
  6. A Dome for Winooski? - TIME Magazine retrieved June 15, 2008
  7. Doomed Dome: The Future That Never Was retrieved November 8, 2009


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