Walking tours spotlight village uniqueness
by Jack Deming
May 30, 2014 | 3227 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- “Wil­mington in the Mountains” is a brand and slogan that has begun to catch on in town, headlining banners and events and signifying the town’s special place in Vermont as a quaint, unique destination.

Within the village are some of the town’s many attractive qualities: a wealth of architectural designs, as well as a history that may be unknown to even some residents. With walking tour maps published, and number plaques on buildings, the Wilmington Works-supported historic walking tours are another activity aimed at both educating, and generating business.

Maps are available at the chamber of commerce and feature 25 stops beginning on South Main Street. The tour features stops at Wilmington mainstays such as the Norton House, built circa 1760, Crafts Inn, and the Vermont House. Each stop on the map features a short description of the building, as well as its past and present uses. Historical Society of Wilmington President Julie Moore did the research for each site, and says that each building is so full of history, the walking tour really needs a book to fit it all in. “The historical society used to give tours until Tropical Storm Irene hit, and we used to do the same stops,” said Moore. “We added more to the self-guided one, but the hardest part was having to cut information from each stop to make each one fit on the map.”

Featured on the map are the French Second Empire-style O.O. Ware building and the Gothic Revival-style Farwell House on East Main Street, each showcasing the wide array of architectural styles in town. The village’s churches are featured as well, along with the town’s two memorial buildings, Pettee Memorial Library and Memorial Hall.

Another feature of the tour is pictures and descriptions of landmarks that are no longer standing, including the Leddington Mill, the former Deerfield Valley Times building, Wilmington Bank, and Child’s Garage, where, before automobiles, visitors arriving by train could rent a horse and buggy. Included also is the location of a former walking bridge that brought workers from the Leddington Mill to near where Nido’s is today.

Moore said that while the tour is educational, and calls attention to history, it also encourages tourists to see the village’s many businesses. “It’s self-guided so it’s at their leisure,” said Moore, “but it also gets people walking down South Main Street, where they might not have walked before, and if people have their shops there, more people will see them.”

The walking tour was put together by John Gannon and Alice Richter, both of Wilmington Works, using funding from the town’s 1% option tax. The tour route begins at the Reardon’s Crossing walking bridge, and makes a loop along West, South, East, and North Main streets, and back to West Main.

The historical society is hosting a guided group tour on June 11, at 6:30 pm.
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