About This Place
Northfield is a town in Washington County, Vermont, United States. It lies in a valley within the Green Mountains, and has been the home of Norwich University since 1866. The town contains the village of Northfield, where over half of its population lives. The population was 6,207 at the 2010 census.
Throughout the 19th century, Northfield was an important railway hub. The Vermont Central Railroad was based here until 1853, when Charles Paine, the president, died. After this, the company merged with the Central Vermont Railroad. Even after the merger, the town remained an important center of commerce for the area. Due largely to its proximity to the depot, Northfield Center became the focus of economic activity to the many villages within the Northfield town limits. Each village retains a personality of its own to this day, however. Since the 20th century, the main employer of the town has remained Norwich University, which moved from Norwich, Vermont to Northfield in 1866. The school's enrollment is approximately 2,000. Norwich is the oldest private military college in the United States. In 2002, the school opened the National Center for the Study of Counter-Terrorism and Cybercrime on the village common, just feet from the old railroad depot which closed in the mid-20th century. Norwich University was also the site of the Vermont Quilt Festival until its relocation in 2006.
A schoolhouse built in 1877 was renovated in 2004, with over one million dollars in donations, into public and municipal offices known as the Gray Building. The facade was renewed. It remains the most visible building in Northfield.