Arlington: A Brief History
The town of Arlington was chartered in 1761 and was settled by families from Connecticut. Hawleys, Hurds, Canfields, Crofuts and Searles were Church of England members seeking to avoid the heavy hand of the Connecticut theocracy, and were attracted by cheap land in Arlington to establish farms. Arlington was a rural and primarily agricultural community.
Before the American Revolution, Ethan and Ira Allen lived in this area (Sunderland), and, during the Revolution, Thomas Chittenden, governor of Vermont, moved to Arlington. This was therefore the de facto seat of Vermont government during the war. Not every family was a fan of Ethan Allen and his rowdy Green Mountain Boys, but the sizable Tory population either kept their counsel or left for Canada, at which point their lands were confiscated.
After the Revolution, sheep farming grew in size. Later, dairy farming would become the main farm resource, while small industry utilized local resources. In the latter half of the 20th Century, service industries would provide employment.
Arlington's population of 1,500 in 1800 gradually declined as families moved West and left farming for growing cities. The coming of the railroad in the 1850's enabled the small industries of Arlington to grow and encouraged the settlement of immigrants, primarily Irish, who had worked on the building of the railroads. Arlington didn't exceed its 1800 population until 1870. This and additional local industry brought the population slowly to 2,000 by 1980. The current population is about 2,600.