Town of Dover
Dover was first settled by Captain Abner Perry in 1779. The earliest part of town was on the eastern side of Dover hill with scattered hilltop farms. On Dover Hill, the “little red schoolhouse” and other houses along that road date back to the 1790s and are now the oldest structures in town. Spurred by a need for lumber for farm buildings, Vermont’s early subsistence farmers built a sawmill in 1797 around which the town of East Dover grew.
Following the North Branch of the Deerfield River, West Dover village was similarly developed and stands as one of Vermont’s most splendid examples of homogenous historic districts. Consisting of just over 20 buildings dating from 1805 to 1885, the entire district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The village showcases a number of well-preserved buildings. The visual center of town, the West Dover Inn (c. 1846), with its wide columned porches, remains an unspoiled example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture, and is the area’s oldest continuously operating hostelry. Next door, the West Dover congregational Church was built as a Meeting House “in the modern style” in 1858 with money raised by selling pews at auction. The adjacent Dover Town offices was the district #6 schoolhouse erected in 1857. Across the street, the Harris House (c. 1820), one of the oldest houses in the village, is now home to the Dover Historical Society.
The Handle Road in West Dover represents a most unique summer colony in Vermont. Bostonians and New Yorkers began buying up old farms in 1858 and devoted great energy to restoring them to their original condition. Several of these houses remain in the holding of these original summer families.
Separated geographically by “challenging” terrain, East and West Dover developed separate identities over the years. The development of Mt. Pisgah into the Mount Snow Ski Resort in 1954 has fueled the West Dover area’s growth as a world-class vacation destination, while East Dover has maintained its quieter rural appeal. Together with their fine inns, restaurants, natural attractions and bucolic scenery, they provide a definitive Vermont experience. Visit the Town’s website at www.doververmont.com