Island Pond, Vermont
Chartered as "Random", on August 13,1731 by
Joseph Brown. In 1832, the town was named Brighton.
The pond in the town center was originally "Knowltin Lake", now
called Island Pond. Named for the 22 acres of island in the
center of the two-mile long pond. The water was of great value
in the early days, as a lumber center.
Whillaw named the Clyde River after a river in Scotland. A lot
of history has run the waterways of this town. Rogers Rangers
traveled these waters on their journey.
Population poll in 1880 was 1,691. The first settler was
believed to have been Enos Bishop. Amos Currier had the first
son born in the village, on December 18, 1882. He was named
William and became quite a military man in 1864.
In 1853, the Grand Trunk railroad purchased land, about 20 acres
for approximately $65,000.00. It was first known as the Atlantic
and St. Lawrence Railway. (The first international railroad
junction in the United States)
Railroad conductors were Waterhouse, Hobbs, Latham, Woodman,
Gould, Whitney, Stowe, Pratt, Garland and many others.
Superintendent of the Railroad was S.T. Corser, and engineers
such as the Noyes brothers, Cabana, Thurston, Davis and Andrew.
Down through the years and now the railroad has made much
Mr. Robinson was born in Browington, the son of Dr. Elijah and
Eliza Robinson, on January 16, 1839. His parents soon moved to
Charleston, where he grew up. He cast his first ballot in
Charleston, for the election of Lincoln for President. He was
postmaster in Charleston and later moved to Island Pond to open
his drug store. In 1877 he was elected town treasurer; along
with his town clerk duties. Later he was in the insurance
business and married Flora Clarke and made his home on Middle
The Fitzgerald Land and Lumber Company was organized in 1899,
with George Fitzgerald president. The company controlled and
manufactured the forest product from more than 40,000 acres in
Sawmills rose, one of which was on Road 6, built in 1882.
Cutting 10,000 feet per day and employing 16 men. W. R.
Rosebrook was owner.
John Currier had the first sawmill in 1830. David Haynes later
had a gristmill built in 1882 in its place on the Pherrin River.
Finally, James M. Butler built a steam sawmill in 1882. Output
was 20,000 feet per day, and employed over 50. It was built on
the former Horace Stewart mill lot.
Soon Island Pond had a factory called G. A Gane Shirt Company.
Under the management of E. E. Gonya, the factory employed about
110 girls, and 15 men. During 26 days of work, it was recorded
that 23,400 shirts were manufactured. Mr. Gonya resided in the
now McDuff home on Elm Street.
Business' such as drugstores came alive. John W. Thurston was
the druggist and Charles Vallee was his pharmacist. John married
Kate Forber in 1881. The building is still with us on Main
Then came our Opera Block which we still can see. The Island
Pond National Bank commenced business in 1890, the 21st day of
April. President was E.C. Robinson, and the first cashier was A.
K. Darling. The bank's capital stock $75,000.00 and profits of
Mr. A. A. Pomeroy opened his store where others would in years
to come, and used the same location, for hardware and furniture
A.W. Bosworth located his store where Cathy's Corner was
operated. Bosworth married Lilla Robinson in 1878.
Also came our guesthouses, hotels and boarding houses. The
Stewart House was one of the largest buildings between Portland,
Maine and Montreal. W. A. Richardson once managed it. Also C. M.
Dyer owned and operated the three-story structure. Sleeping
chambers could accommodate 100, while the dining area had
seating space for over 200. It was destroyed by fire and never
reconstructed. The vacant lot is near where Hill's Garage is
The Central House with J.W. Skillens proprietor was where the
Evangelist Church meetings were held until recently on Cross
Street. Mr. Skillens was usually found in his stables, as he was
an expert on horses. He married Fannie Dunlop and had two
daughters Maude and Mrs. George Mackie, both of whom lived, in
The Essex House, now the Clyde River Hotel, was run by A. M.
Stevens. He married May Stevens of Charleston in 1883.
There also was the YMCA located near where the fire station is
Naturally, Island Pond was not complete until the Essex County
Herald arrived from Guildhall in 1878. It was first sold to W.H.
Bishop in 1878, after which he married Clara Wright. Later owned
by Harry Osborne. The building burnt and was located near where
the seniors complex is now located.
First water system for town water was in 1879. Than came, Island
Pond Electric Light and Power Co. located where Ted's market is
now. Power generated from a dam in Charleston furnished current
for 2,000 lights. Col. P.H. Dale was company president and O.S.
Easton was treasurer and manager.
In 1853, the post office was located in the Grand Trunk Railroad
office. Postmasters were men such as I.D. Gilkie and Ezra
Hoffman. Later George L. Clarke in 1898 was postmaster. First
postmaster was Miles Coe's son, Harvey. He died in 1879
practicing medicine in the area.
Churches began forming in the community. Pictures and records
show the Congregational Church as being the first. The Catholic
Church organized under Fr. Dufresne to build the church. In
1858, it was erected for $6,000.00 plus donated time. Seating
capacity was 500, and Rev. Mr. Trottier gave the first sermon.
In 1886 an associated private school was built and later known
as St. Mary's. The church is still with us.
Grace Methodist Church was built in 1878 at a cost of $2,200.00
and had a seating capacity of 300. Its pastor was Edwin S.
The Christ Protestant Episcopal Church organized first in 1871
by Thomas Blaylock. In 1875, the church was built at a cost of
$9,000.00. Daniel Smith pastor started first Sunday school for
Children. Rev. Mr. Lee was the rector.
First Congregational Church organized in February 1852 by John
Kilby, Harvey Coe, Garland, and others. In 1865, the pastor was
Rev. John w. H. Baker. The building was erected in 1854 for over
$2,160.00. On April 8 Thomas Hall was made pastor. The church
still stands today.
Down through the ages since 1832 Island Pond has grown. Some
settlers came and made this their home forever. Others just
passed through, of which all were a part of history. Such
farmers as S.D. Hobson, William Rosebrook, Elias Bemis, A.J.
Lang, M.C. Davis, Hiram Farmer and dozens of others, helped make
Island Pond productive.
In later years, the town had business' such as Ted's Market was
in a building called the Lakeview.
In wasn't until 1876, that Island Pond first adopted a school
system. Thirteen schools were in operation, with 536 pupils
attending. Austin Hall was the area's first Superintendent. Miss
Lucy Kelly first taught school in 1829 without a building.
Brighton High School was erected in 1895. Rev. Edward P. Lee
supervised the teachers. The building was destroyed by fire in
1974. Down through the years many superintendents, teachers,
principals and coaches can be remembered.
Today the streets are no longer lively with railroad men and
rugged loggers from around the area. The 13 railroad tracks that
once passed through town are down to two and the large round
house that once housed the engines is now a lumber storage yard.
The unique wooden bridge, which once traversed all 13 tracks, is
gone. Nevertheless, history remains in its Train Station, one
can visit the Island Pond Historical Society and see pictures
and other items from the past. One can also travel around Island
Pond and still see much of its past. It still has its
wilderness, mountains with tree-covered slopes, fast running
rivers and streams, and clear lakes. Old logging roads that
reach deeper into the reaches are numerous and offer interesting
side trips. So stop on by and stay awhile…..