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North Hero Town

Grand Isle County, Vermont

North Hero Town Hall is located at 6441 U.S. Route 2, North Hero, VT 05474.
Phone: 802‑372‑6926.

North Hero Islands [1] are strategically located in Lake Champlain, which for centuries was an important link in the vast inland waterway from the Atlantic to the interior, both north and west. Samuel de Champlain, for whom the lake is named, claimed it for France in 1609 before the Dutch and Puritan settlements. Throughout the French and Indian Wars and then in the American Revolution, the Champlain Islands were fortified for defense of the waterway. The British manned a blockhouse in 1777, on what is now Blockhouse Point, which they retained for thirteen years after the Treaty of 1793 established the island as American territory.

North Hero has been valuable real estate since 1779 when the Green Mountain Boys petitioned Vermont Governor Chittenden for a grant of the two large Champlain islands as payment for military service. Ethan Allen was one of the petitioners and tradition tells us that he, with his "bashful and shy nature," named the Islands the Two Heroes in honor of himself and his brother, Ira. The Two Heroes were eventually called the South Island and the North Island, the latter consisting of the present Town of North Hero.

Settlement of North Hero was slow. Although the land had been divided into farm lots for the original grantees, many of them chose to sell off their rights or let them go to pay taxes. However, in 1783 when Jedediah Hyde surveyed the Two Heroes, he noted in his journal that several settlers had built houses.

Enos Wood was apparently the first to come. Among those settling here before 1790 were Nathan Hutchins, his son, Nathan Jr., John Knight, Nathan Hazen, Benjamin Butler, Jedediah Ladd and John Brownson. The United States Census for 1790 lists 31 families. The population grew to 54 families by the 1800 census.

The first Town meeting for North Hero was held on March 17, 1789. The South Cemetery was purchased from John Knight and Nathan Hazen for $2.00 at the 1790 meeting. In 1793, the Town was divided into four school districts. The first school house was built around 1803. That year Jedediah Ladd built the first store, located south of the present stone courthouse, which served additionally as post office and jail.

In 1806 the first session of the Grand Isle County court was held in his establishment. The Grand Isle County Courthouse was built in 1824 and 1825. Constructed of "good Isle La Motte Marble" with walls 2 feet thick, it included a single jail cell and a single debtor cell.

During the next century, North Hero grew in cycles. After the 1830's, the population declined with the move to open the new Western Frontier. North Hero became "back east." Since the Civil War, North Hero has grown economically. With the advent of the railroad and the inter-island ferry service, growth accelerated. It was during this time that our island grew as a resort too.

  1. North Hero Planning Commission, North Hero Town Plan, 2015, www.northherovt.com, accessed April, 2016.