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The Rutland Historical Society was founded in 1969 to serve the original town of Rutland which includes the present towns of Proctor, Rutland Town, West Rutland and the City of Rutland.

The original Rutland was chartered in 1761 as part of the New Hampshire Grants by the Provincial Governor Benning Wentworth. The first settlers arrived in 1770 led by Colonel James Mead. Almost immediately a controversy arose with New York claiming the same land grants under the name of “Socialborough.” This controversy ultimately led to the Vermonters forming the Republic of Vermont from 1777-1791. Vermont became the fourteenth state in 1791.

Old Fort Rutland

Old Fort Rutland
During the early 1800’s the Rutland area was known for agriculture and for the sheep industry. By the mid 1800’s the development of the marble industry and the arrival of the railroads created an industrial and retail boom which brought many immigrant workers to the Rutland area. Rutland has continued to grow in industry and population to become the largest city in Southern Vermont.

Downtown Rutland, VT

From modest beginnings, the Society has progressed to be a very active organization. It has received awards of excellence from the Vermont League of Local Historical Societies for its quarterly magazine, and for its monthly television series “Historically Speaking”.  This television series airs on the local public access channel, and can be seen on demand (in streaming video), on the public access web site. The Society also publishes a newsletter about Society activities. A Rutland Historical Society column entitled “Tidbits From Then and Now” is published in “Sam’s Good News”, a local weekly newspaper. Six hundred of the back issues of “Tidbits From Then and Now” can be viewed on our web site. The Society also offers history programs for groups of all ages from kindergarten to senior citizens.  The programs are conducted both at the Society, and at other locations.

The Society collects, preserves, and shares all manner of materials.  This includes books, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, and special collections.  For example, there is an extensive collection of Rutland newspapers including the Rutland Herald, municipal court records, cemetery records and much more.

The Society has nearly 600 members from 32 states. The activities of the Society are accomplished through the work of dedicated volunteers. The Society welcomes all gifts of items, collections of historical significance, bequests, or donations, so that it may continue to preserve the past and enrich future generations. Your participation is welcomed through volunteer work, membership, or donations.  You are encouraged to visit the Society at 96 Center Street to do some research, or view the changing exhibits.  

What's New

A reminder that the Rutland Historical Society Annual Meeting is this coming Thursday, October 27th beginning promptly at 7 PM at the Society.

Society Hours:

Mon. - 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

Sat. -   1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Mystery Woman 

Can you identify the woman in this 1857 Alvah Bradish painting?  We are hoping to identify her as a Rutland area woman. View the picture here.


PowerPoint presentation presented at the League of Local Historical Societies & Museums  Annual Meeting 10/15/2016

Creating a Door to the World Through Your Website

Did you notice something different to our Menu? 

We made a few changes that conform to more concise topic headings used on web sites. Historical Resources is now Historical Texts.  Historical Moving Images has been changed to Historical Videos.

New yearbooks from Mount Saint Joseph Academy have been added to our Yearbooks page.  Take a look at the current yearbooks from 2014-2016.

Can you help us identify the three firefighters in our mystery photo?

The Proctor High School Yearbooks are now available in our "Historical Texts" section.  Any assistance  in locating those yearbooks we are lacking would greatly appreciated.  Please contact the Society if you have any of these yearbooks. We will scan them and return them to you as soon as possible.

RHS now has Google Street View .  Do a Google Search on 'Rutland Historical Society'.  On the right click on “see outside” hold cursor down and drag to left and right in a wide circular motion.  You will get a 360 degree view of the street and buildings.  Included are a couple of interior photos (click see photos). You also have the ability to write a review.    Click here for a quick view.

The Town & Village Annual Reports of Proctor, Vermont are available under Town Reports on our Historical Resources page. The reports cover the incorporation of the Village of Proctor in 1884, to the consolidation of the village and town in 1965.


Links to Abbey Maria Hemenway’s “The Vermont Historical Gazetteer & Index” are available in our Vermont and Rutland History Digital Bookshelf, and Genealogy & Research sections.  Take a moment to explore this essential work for Vermont genealogy.

Vermont House of Representative Resolution honoring curator Jim Davidson and the Rutland Historical Society

Our Message Board has been shut down due to spamming.  Please direct any questions to

Email - or use our Facebook  page.


Read the Cover Story on Jim Davidson in the Rutland Reader









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