Burlington Harbor is the seat of Chittenden County, Vermont. With Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, Burlington Harbor is a United States port-of-entry and the largest city in the State. Burlington Harbor is about 36 nautical miles across Lake Champlain (59 kilometers or 36 miles south-southeast) of the Port of Rouses Point, New York. Burlington Harbor is about 430 kilometers (266 miles) north-northeast of the Port of New York. The 2010 US Census reported a population of over 42.4 thousand people in Burlington Harbor and almost 211.3 thousand in the Burlington-South Burlington metropolitan area.
Just 72 kilometers (45 miles) south of the United States' border with Canada, Burlington Harbor is about 151 kilometers (94 miles) south of Montreal. In the middle 20th Century, Burlington Harbor's economy transformed from manufacturing to service industries. Tourism is important to the local economy, as is the manufacture of a variety of products that include aircraft armaments, food service equipment, concrete products, snowboards, maple syrup, and plastic monofilaments.
Before Europeans began to settle the Burlington Harbor area, it was home to the Mahican (also Mohican) people. The American Revolution created serious disruptions in the lives of the Mahican people. In the early 1800s, they were forced west under the US Indian Removal program where they joined the Oneida and Lenape people in Wisconsin.
In 1763, Governor Benning Wentworth awarded a grant to a group led by Samuel Willis for the future Burlington Harbor. Land-clearing efforts began in 1775 when a few log huts were raised. The American Revolution delayed further settlement in Burlington Harbor until the Lawrence family arrived in 1783. The town was officially organized in 1785.
Citizens of Vermont, with the rest of New England, did not support America's involvement in the War of 1812 and did not lend financial support or militia units for the cause. Despite their lack of support, at one point in the war, some five thousand troops were stationed in Burlington Harbor, far outnumbering the local population. The British shelled Burlington Harbor during an 1813 skirmish. Lasting about ten minutes, the short battle did not affect the outcome of the war.
Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington Harbor developed as a trade center and port-of-entry after the Champlain Canal was completed in 1823 and the Erie Canal in 1825. Burlington Harbor wharves helped steamboats connect both passengers and freight to the Rutland & Burlington Railroad and the Vermont Central Railroad.
By the mid-19th Century, Burlington Harbor was a busy lumber and manufacturing center. Incorporated as a city in 1865, Burlington Harbor's prosperous Victorian era produced a lot of wonderful architecture. The waterfront was expanded when the Pine Street Barge Canal was completed in 1870, although the canal was seriously polluted, driving environmental clean-up in 2009.
In 1978, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's was founded in Burlington Harbor in a renovated gas station.