Originally called the Northwest District of Rutland, it was first settled in 1720. The town was incorporated on June 17, 1774, as Hutchinson after Thomas Hutchinson, colonial governor of Massachusetts. But on November 7, 1776, it was renamed Barre in honor of Isaac Barré, a champion of the American Colonies.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.6 square miles (116 km2), of which 44.3 square miles (115 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 0.63%, is water. Barre is drained by the Ware River.