Brief history of Shelburne
Development of town and industry
Early industries in Shelburne
As more settlers moved to Shelburne, there was a growing need for industries to support the farming and logging that was the backbone of the local economy. About a mile southeast of the original town center lay a series of falls where the LaPlatte River cut down through local bedrock on its way to Shelburne Bay. As in most of New England, flowing water and falls were a perfect source of power for many types of mills, and Shelburne took full advantage.

By the late 1700's, there were a series of dams across the LaPlatte, serving a sawmill, forge, carding mill, and grist mill. A log bridge, later replaced by a covered bridge, was built over the river at this point, and for many years this was the best way to cross the river. Thus, the main route from Shelburne to Burlington actually ran through Shelburne Falls and up Spear Street. Today's Route 7 corridor was not developed until much later.

Early sawmill at Shelburne Falls (view south)
Town Rivalries
Water-driven industrial growth in Shelburne Falls helped it became a thriving separate settlement, building a distinct rivaly with Shelburne Village as each vied for control over the rest of the town. The question of dominance was not truly decided until the advent of the railroad.
Grist mill at Shelburne Falls (view north)