Native Americans were first to inhabit the region. Artifacts left by these ancient hunters date back as early as 8,500 BC. Settled in 1770, the first grantee of the township charter was from Rutland, Massachusetts. By 1774 thirty five families made their homes in the community. Rutland City was a prosperous community in the mid to late 1800’s. Rutland was the seat of the state legislature from 1784 to 1804. Growth was spurred by the arrival of the railroad in 1850. Incorporated as a city in 1892 Rutland boasted a population of 16,000.
The historically preserved downtown is alive with shoppes, restaurants and entertainment.
Situated in a year-round resort area Downtown Rutland has long been a busy commercial and manufacturing center, a focus for the outlying area and a very urban place in the rural state of Vermont. As befits the Vermont lifestyle, the Green Mountain State’s second-largest city moves at a comfortable, but not too-fast, pace.
Marble quarrying, an important economic activity since the 1840’s, still flourishes nearby. Rutland’s varied manufacturers include medical equipment, textile goods, electrical supplies, paper products, machinery, aircraft accessories, iron castings, and printed materials.
Rutland was once the hub of a railroad that linked the Atlantic seaboard with the St. Lawrence River. The first train arrived in November 1849 and the Rutland Railroad’s depot, main yards and repair shops grew up here.
In the years before the Civil War, 45 trains rolled into Rutland daily. Trains made possible Vermont’s marble and slate businesses. You can still find evidence of the railroad’s impact on the downtown growth of Rutland in the presence of the magnificent business blocks along Merchants Row.