South Derry Village from Melendy Hill
Main Street, Londonderry Village
This article was written by Patricia Wiley
and Shirley Twitchell
for the Londonderry Bicentennial Celebration in 1991.
Town of Londonderry is situated in the northwest corner
of Windham County, bounded on the north by Landgrove
and Weston, east by Windham; south by Jamaica, and
west by Winhall and Landgrove.
Londonderry was first chartered in 1770 by New York to
one Col. James Rogers and was known as Kent which then
included what is now Windham. The town was again chartered
by act of the new Vermont Legislature on April 20, 1780.
In this charter the township was named Londonderry after
Thompsonburg Corner , Londonderry
The population in 1770 was 28 people and by 1790 the population
increased to 362 inhabitants. In 1860, the high population
of the town reached 1,367 due to increased interest
in manufacturing and greater job diversity. The population
gradually decreased to 898 in 1960. At this time the
vacation/ski industry began to flourish and the census
hit a new peak in 1980 of 1510. The population in 2000
was around 1709.
For many years, the matter of building up the West River
was discussed by all the towns up the valley, in
1867, a charter was granted to “the West River
Railroad Company” to build a railroad from
Brattleboro to Jamaica.
Amendments and additions to the original act extended the
line to go through Londonderry. After railroad meetings in
all the towns along the proposed route, aid was given and
many private subscriptions of stock were made. Londonderry
bought 232 shares of capitol stock for the sum of $24,000.
The last rail of the West River Railroad was laid in South
Londonderry, its northern terminus, in 1880. It was run
by the Central Vermont Railway Co. until the flood of 1927.
It was known by everyone as: 36 miles of trouble.”
Londonderry Old Bridge
South Londonderry Village
South Londonderry 'New' Bridge
George T. Shanks better known as “Sifter John,” established
the weekly newspaper, The Londonderry Sifter, in 1883. He
was the owner and editor until 1903, although the paper was
still published until the middle 1920’s. During his
ownership of the Sifter he was not afraid to take on politicians
or the railroad which, he thought, ruled the state of Vermont.
Being an inexperienced editor at the time he was jailed for
his explosive efforts and nearly ruined financially. But
he was never silenced nor was his paper suppressed.
Fire Company with Pumper |
Phoenix Fire Station, Londonderry
the early years of the town our industries were: saw mills,
grist mills, machine shops, carriage shops, a tannery, chair
stock and marble works. Today we basically have a tourist-oriented
The biggest things that have happened in the town would
probably be the 1927, 1938 and the 1973 floods; they would
be high on the list along with the crash of two FB-111’s
on a training mission over the village of South Londonderry
in February 1975.