Originally, Essex was chartered as one community in 1763. As the population grew, village residents recognized their need for electricity, water, and sewage lines that farmers who lived in outlying areas did not need. In 1892, Essex Junction incorporated as a separate municipality. The village with a population of 8,400, occupies a 4.6 square mile area complete with brick storefronts, a collection of older Victorian-style homes, and several suburban-style neighborhoods. The village’s public library - The Brownell Library - is located on Lincoln Street at the five corners’ intersection.
In addition, Essex Junction is home to IBM, Vermont’s largest private employer. IBM came to the area in 1957, originally employing 500. Now, it employs approximately 4,000 - many of whom live in Essex town or the village. IBM’s contributions affect the community in many ways especially with their large tax contribution to the town, thus easing the property tax for both communities’ residents.
The town is home to 16,500 people and covers 24,448 acres. The center of town at the intersection of Vermont 15 and 128 is historically quaint with a few small shops and a historic brick public library - The Essex Free Library. Located within the town is the Essex Outlet Fair that offers brand-name shopping at a variety of stores. Nearby one can enjoy gourmet meals prepared by students and staff of the New England Culinary Institute at The Inn at Essex. Both the Inn and the Outlet Fair are easily accessible from the Circumferential Highway.
The residents of the two communities are fortunate as both the village and the town have well-established recreational departments and facilities. There are spacious outdoor municipal swimming pools, parks, and recreational programs for adults and children within each town. Essex has a bike path from the village to the Outlet Fair. Recreational activities in the village range from concerts in the park to youth sports, playground camps, and senior citizen trips to weekend destinations.
The communities’ acclaimed school system educates approximately 3,500 students in its five elementary and two middle schools, and its combined high school/regional vocational center. The Vocational Center offers a variety of programs in vocational-technical education training to the area’s students, adults, and employers.