About This Place
Wells River is a village in the town of Newbury in Orange County, Vermont, United States. The population was 325 at the 2000 census. The village center is located at the junction of U.S. Routes 5 and 302.
The village center (the portion near the confluence of the Wells River and the Connecticut River) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as Wells River Village Historic District. The district covers 84 contributing properties over an area of 390 acres (1.6 km2). It includes examples of Classical Revival, Federal, and Late Victorian styles. The architectural character of the district represents the building traditions of nineteenth-century Vermont, showcasing a wide array of building styles.
The area was first called Governor's Right because 500 acres (200 hectares) were granted to Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. It was purchased by Er Chamberlin, who built a gristmill on the Wells River. Located at the head of navigation for the Connecticut River, Wells River developed as a center for trade. Canal boats guided by long poles floated downriver laden with lumber, clapboards and shingles, returning with goods such as iron, salt, rum and molasses.