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Bridport village, or “The Center,” as it is familiarly known, occupies a beautiful site just east of the center of the town, surrounded by a fine farming district. Like many other Vermont villages, however, it may be said of it, “other days saw it more prosperous.” It does not lack the bustle and enterprise of a township mart, but its business and its population are both smaller than they formerly were. Perhaps the “occidental fever,” which attacks so many of the young men of to-day, may in a large measure account for this decline. The village now has about thirty-five dwellings, two churches, and the usual complement of stores and mechanics’ shops. The following random sketches of the village of 1825 to 1830 may not be uninteresting, especially to those of the younger generation. Mathew Nobles then operated a tannery where Miss Huntley now resides. Among his workmen was Arunah Huntington, before alluded to. The tannery was discontinued about the year 1850. The blacksmiths then were Orville Howe and the two Foster brothers, Albert and Henry, and John Burwell at the Corners. Charles Eager did a large business in the manufacture of carriages and wagons. Where Miss Emeline Brainerd lives Lemuel Derby had a cabinet shop. John Brainerd was the hatter, and Norman Allen the tailor. The merchants were Paris Fletcher, in the brick store; Matthew Chambers, where L. M. Taylor’s dwelling is; Samuel Buck, on the corner where Miss Hattie Goodwin now owns; and J. S. Strong, opposite where Ira D. Fletcher now is. Calvin Sollace, father of Hon. Henry N., was the attorney.
The brick store was built by Paris Fletcher in 1826, who first conducted business in it alone, and then, in 1831, in company with Daniel Miner. He died in 1839, and his son, F. P. Fletcher, succeeded them, and continued the business until his death in January, 1875, and was succeeded by D. H. Bennett, the present proprietor.
A number of years ago J. S. Strong owned the store at the Corners, followed by Gordon Searles & Son; they were succeeded by Kinnor & Spaulding; they by Spaulding & Skiff; they by A. P. & B. A. Skiff; they by Ketch & Brother, until 1881, when Mr. Fletcher became proprietor. Bessette & Brother (Albert and Joseph) are engaged here in blacksmithing and manufacturing wagons, which business they began in 1876. The hotel is kept by Frank A. Nisun. The blacksmiths are W. B. Bristol and George Wisell; and the shoemaker, Louis Giard; saddler and harness shop, Horace Taylor. The present postmaster is Ira D. Fletcher.
West Bridport has a beautiful location on the lake shore. It was originally called Catlin’s Ferry, and subsequently went by the name of Frost’s Landing. There has been a store and settlement here for many years, though the postoffice was not established until recently. The postmaster is Henry E. Merrill.