State and Main: Crossroads of the Capital

Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #2 - The Shopping District

State and Main: Crossroads of the Capital

Montpelier, Vermont 05602, United States

Created By: Kiltumper Close Press


We’ve arrived now at the center of town. For this section of the tour, you can stand where the granite-columned TD Bank building wraps itself around the corner, or grab a seat on one of the benches on its State Street side.

We Love a Parade

We are at the spot where State Street intersects with Main, and where all our parades eventually show up. We have a lot of parades in Montpelier. In Tour #1 I described the epic Dewey Day parade in 1898, and our equally epic reenactment of it 100 years later. Our Independence Day parades and fireworks draw people from all over the state, which is why we always have it a day or two earlier, so as to not pull all the Fourth of July cheer out of towns smaller than ours. On the first Sunday in May there’s an All Species Day parade. It’s an event with lots of colorful costumes, animals, puppets, music and pageantry, all meant to celebrate the diversity of life and the (entirely theoretical) arrival of spring.

Looking across at East State Street, on the right side you’ll see the 1840s Federal style building that is also featured in the sledding photo included here. In the street next to it there once stood a five-story brick structure called the Arch Building, because of the drive-through arch placed in the middle of it. If you can’t quite imagine a building sitting in the middle of a street, it’s featured in an old photo you can see inside City Hall that shows this part of State Street in the mid-1800s.

Then, on the second Saturday in June we are one of about 70 cities that joins in the World Naked Bike Ride, which is exactly what it sounds like. An entirely different sort of ride happens on the second Saturday in August, when the United Motorcyclists of Vermont stage an annual Toy Run for Shriners Hospital. Several hundred motorcycles coast through the city carrying stuffed animals and other toys, and all are dropped off on the State House lawn.

There was even once a circus parade in Montpelier. In the late 1800s, PT Barnum’s organization paraded its elaborate wagons and a herd of elephants through town. The much-anticipated star of that show was an enormous, whiskey-drinking elephant named Jumbo, and by all accounts at the time, he lived up to the hype.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #2 - The Shopping District


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