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History of Rutland, Vermont

Rutland, the seat of Rutland County, is the second-largest city in Vermont and is situated 65 miles southwest of Montpelier. Rutland was chartered in 1761 as part of the New Hampshire grants of Governor Benning Wentworth. It was settled in 1770 by James Mead and served as an outpost for the Americans during the War of Independence. In 1844, William Ripley established the marble works for which Rutland became noted. The Rutland & Burlington Railroad became the first line to connect Boston and western Vermont when it was completed in 1849. The state reformatory for women, Riverside, is located in Rutland. Published since 1794, the Rutland Herald is the oldest continually published newspaper in Vermont. The Rutland Historical Society operates a museum in Old Fire Station No. 2. Other specialized museums include the New England Maple Museum, which traces the history of maple syrup, and the Norman Rockwell Museum, which spotlights Rockwell's years in Vermont. The Rutland Regional Medical Center has grown substantially from the 10-bed hospital that opened in 1896. St. Joseph's College also was founded here in 1956 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The original Ripley Music Hall, built in 1868, burned down in 1876. It was replaced with the Ripley Opera House. Eventually it was adapted to silent motion pictures and now houses retail and office space. The Paramount Theatre was originally The Playhouse when it opened in 1913. It was soon converted to a "talkie" theater and operated as such for nearly half a century before closing. It has since been restored as a performance center.