Rochester Park
Built - 1988

The town of Rochester lies in the center of the state and touches the eastern slope of the main range of the Green Mountains. Its simple beginnings came about when a generous land baron, Ebenezer Burnham, deeded four acres of Rochester to new settlers to build a meetinghouse, burial ground and training field. The town then grew around the main common area that still exists today.
Farming in Rochester was the original occupation of these new settlers then manufacturing entered the scene due to the tremendous resources in the area. Sometime later, the discovery of Steatite, or soapstone, brought about the establishment of the Rochester Soapstone Company in 1865 which employed many residents of the area. Steatite was valuable for its heat-keeping properties, especially for stoves and foot warmers. Also the mining of a special marble called "Verde Antique" in the area opened many mines with its product now found in many state capitals and federal buildings and in buildings in Washington, D.C. Lumbering was also a profitable venture for many in the Rochester area and the town has twice had the distinction of providing a national Christmas tree in Washington.
Rochester's bandstand was built in the late 1980s by local contracotrs Keith Jesso and Norman Pratt and other volunteers in Rochester Park and there were at least two prior ones in the park. It is known that one of the two was built in 1917 and torn down when it became dilapidated and unsafe.
The bandstand was financed by the taxpayers of the town and the blueprints were presented to the public for comments.
Rochester has had a band for many years so many concerts have been presented in the park along with other local bands including the South Royalton Band, Vermont's 40th Army Band, the German Youth Orchestra - Knabenmusik Meersburg and others.
Rochester Park and the bandstand has also played host to many important events including the National Bicentennial, Vermont Bicentennial, Annual Harvest Fair, Annual 4th of July celebration, Annual Memorial Day programs, Summer Night, flower shows, flea markets, 9/11 gatherings and many other events.
Mary Ordway-Davis, Director
Rochester Historical Socienty, Inc.

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