The Vermont 251 Club
Published: September 1, 2010
By Russ Melocik
Derby Line, VTHave you ever heard of Vermont locations such as Beecher Falls, Island Pond, Center Rutland, White River Junction and Wilder? These and others are legitimate addresses but only as Post Office designations or railroad stops whose popularity has overshadowed their legal names. White River Junction, for example, is one of five villages in the Town of Hartford. Each of the five has its own Post Office and unique ZIP Code. (Ever heard the origin of “ZIP?” Zone Improvement Plan). Things can get confusing. There is a way, however, for getting these differences straight while having fun in the process.

The Vermont 251 Club is a non-government association of those interested in visiting all 251 cities and towns in Vermont. (Actually 246 plus five unorganized towns) It is a “for fun” club. It offers the membership a challenge to not only visit Vermont towns but also to get to know the people and locations. An extra challenge is a visit with each Town and City Clerk’s office which can be daunting when considering that some clerks open for only a few hours each week in their kitchen or sitting room while others offer limited parking nearby. But whatever, The 251 Club offers a wonderful opportunity to meet and share conversation with a very interesting mix of good folks.

Ever hear of Derby Line VT? It’s a village within the town of Derby (named, perhaps, after Derby CT). Thanks to a survey snafu in the early 1800’s, the International Boundary between it and Rock Island Quebec was incorrectly drawn. In fact, an Opera House and Library were constructed right on the line in the early 1900’s. Until recently, their patrons could partake of these services without the inconveniences usually associated with an international border crossing. And yes, there are lines on the floor and you can stand indoors in two countries at the same time. What a hoot! For more information, read the NY Times article on this topic.