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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

Society Hours:

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

Sat. -   1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Mount St. Joseph Academy Yearbooks from 1939-2013 are now available for viewing.  This is a continuation of the joint project of the Rutland Free Library and the Rutland Historical Society.

Did you notice our revised “Links” section?   Our Links” section now contains brief abstracts about each web site link.  This gives the researcher a better idea of what kinds of information that website provides.  We have also added new links to that section to aid those doing genealogical research, or who just want to know more about Rutland County in general

More Rutland Directories are now available in our Historical Resources section. You now have access to Directories dating from 1872-1986.

The City of Rutland Reports 1893-1976 are now available in our Historical Resources Section.

Through the collaborative efforts between the Society and the Rutland Free Library, all of the Rutland High School Yearbooks from 1930 - 2012 have been digitized.  These yearbooks can be found in our Historical Resources Section.

View our latest image gallery of Dr. George Marshall's early 20th century lantern slides.  These beautiful images were made possible by a 2011 grant from IBM. This scanner allows us to create digital images of all forms of negatives and slides, going back over a 100 years.  We hope to be publishing many more examples of these in the near future.

We are delighted to be able to offer on CD (PDF searchable) the out of print book Rutland in Retrospect, originally published in 1978 by the Rutland Historical Society and Academy Books.  It is 176 pages chocked full of wonderful old Rutland images, each with descriptive text.  The cost of the book is $20 with free shipping and handling.    Please send your check to Rutland Historical Society, 96 Center St., Rutland, VT 05701.




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