This is the chief town in the county of Chittenden. It is delightfully situated upon the tongue of land formed by the confluence of the Winooski, or Onion river, with lake Champlain. This is the most important town in Vermont. It lies in lat. 44° 27' N., and in lon. 73° 15' W. It is 38 miles W.N.W. from Montpelier, 62 S. by E. from St. Johns, L.C., 80 S.S.E. from Montreal, 70 N. from Whitehall, 22 S.E. from Plattsburgh, 10 miles across the lake to Port Kent, N.Y. and 440 from Washington.
Although some beginnings were made before that event, no permanent settlement was effected in this township till about the close of the revolution in 1783. The town was organized by the election of town officers about the year 1786. The surface of the township is agreeably diversified, and is so much elevated above the lake that the air is pure and wholesome.
This town is not surpassed in beauty of location by any one in New England. It lies on the east shore of Burlington bay, and occupies a gentle declivity, descending towards the west and terminated by the waters of the lake. The principal streets, running east and west are one mile in length, and these are intersected at right angles by streets running north and south, and cutting the whole village into regular squares. A large share of the business on lake Champlain centres at this place, and the town is rapidly increasing in wealth and consequence. There are regular daily lines of steam-boats between this place and Whitehall, between this and St. Johns and between this and Plattsburgh, besides numerous arrivals and irregular boats, sloops, &c. Three extensive wharves, with store-houses, have been constructed and most of the merchandize designed for the north-eastern section of Vermont is landed here. The trade is principally with the city of New York, although Montreal and Troy have a share. For the safety of the navigation, a lighthouse has been erected on Juniper island, at the entrance of Burlington bay, and for the security of the harbor, a breakwater has been commenced here at the expense of the general government. There are four lines of mail stages which arrive and depart daily, besides three or four others which come in and go out twice or thrice a week.
The public buildings are six churches, the University of Vermont, the Episcopal Institute, the court house, two banks, the Academy, and two female seminaries. The University consists of four spacious edifices, located upon the summit at the eastern extremity of the village, more than 250 feet above the level of the lake, and commands one of the finest prospects in the United States. The village, the lake, with its bays and islands—its steam-boats and sloops,—the Winooski river, dashing through frightful chasms and then winding among the beautiful meadows, and the distant and lofty mountains which form the great outline, render the view from the dome of the University one of the most variegated and interesting to be met with in our country.
As a part of Burlington may be mentioned the village called "Winooski City." It is situated on both sides of the Winooski river, partly in Burlington and partly in Colchester, and is one mile from the village of Burlington. The water power here is sufficient for propelling almost any amount of machinery, and is beginning to be employed to some purpose. Besides two saw mills, a large grist mill, a machine shop and numerous smaller works, there is a large satinet factory and an extensive block factory now in successful operation, and a woolen factory of the first class is to commence running the present season. A substantial covered bridge connects the two sides of the river; a handsome church, and several stores have been erected, and 'Winooski City' bids fair to become a place of business and importance.