The Town of Rockingham anchors the northeast corner of southern Vermont's Windham County. The Town's largest Village, Bellows Falls, owes its existence to the bounty of the Connecticut River. The site of the present Village was long honored by the First People as a treasured seasonal fishing settlement, rich with shad and salmon. Still today, visitors and residents journey down the prehistoric path to view the petroglyphs etched into the rock by those who came first. As European settlers conquered the fertile Connecticut valley, most of the native Abenaki population perished, due either to disease, or in battle with the Europeans.
By 1753, English settlers established the community of Great Falls, later renamed Bellows Falls. The Connecticut River's first bridge was built here in 1785. In 1791 construction began on one of the first canals in the U.S., and by 1802, a robust papermaking industry arose. The industrial giant, International Paper, was founded in Bellows Falls. Labor disputes in the 1920's lead to the inexorable decline of the paper making industry. Nonetheless, Bellows Falls' industrial prosperity has left the town with a rich architectural legacy. Solidly constructed worker's homes populate the terraces of the village, while grand Victorian mansions line the streets above downtown's brick mercantile center. In addition, a number of former industrial and public buildings await creative, adaptive re-use.
An extended period of hard times followed the decline of papermaking. The town reached its nadir in the late 1980's. These economic challenges lead to opportunity. In the 1990's, a civic organization, Our Town, was founded to shepherd Bellows Falls to a quiet and persistent resurgence.
In recent years, Bellows Falls has experienced a renaissance, with a region-wide reputation for gritty, progressive artistic and musical events. Rockingham's schools are numbered some of the best in the state, and the downtown core of Bellows Falls hosts a variety of eclectic shops, restaurants and cafes. The Town's hamlets and covered bridges draw visitors from around the globe, and a number of progressive employee-owned businesses call Rockingham home.
Rockingham For Progress is dedicated to continuing the economic and cultural revivification, while preserving, whenever possible, the unique history embedded in our older structures.
These are exciting times for Rockingham. Join us in creating the future!
RFP in the news...
Sheriff pulls plug on justice center project
Eagle Times, 2016-03-24
Detention center project dead, sheriff says
The Commons, 2016-03-22
Windham County Sheriff Pulls Plug On Justice Center Plan
Sheriff dropping plans for detention center
Rutland Herald, 2016-03-22
Group to protest justice center application
Eagle Times, 2016-03-08
Big donation behind Rockingham land purchase for sheriff's detention center
Rutland Herald, 2016-03-04
Proposed detention center stirs controversy in Rockingham
Bellows Falls engineering report due on Wednesday
Brattleboro Reformer, 2016-02-02
Public Seeks Engineering Report On Proposed Bellows Falls Justice Center
VT Pubic Radio, 2016-02-01
Social media breathes life into opposition to detention center
The Commons, 2016-01-20
Bellows Falls residents fight detention center in village
Brattleboro Reformer, 2016-01-15
BF residents air concerns over proposed justice center
Eagle Times, 2016-01-15
Rockingham group launches website, zoning change petition
Eagle Times, 2016-01-14
Rockingham will have a say
Rutland Herald, 2016-01-13