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Montpelier is located on the banks of the Winooski River in Washington County and it is the county seat. It is situated 34 miles southeast of Burlington in northcentral Vermont along Interstate 89.

Montpelier was chosen as the capital of Vermont in 1805, due to its proximity to the geographic center of the state. The town was incorporated in 1895. While known for its status as Vermont's capital city, Montpelier also is known for several colleges, national insurance company headquarters and its location in the vicinity of Vermont ski country.

Montpelier is home to many buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places; several can be seen on one of three walking tours. The city's arts community includes the Lost Nation Theater and the Onion River Arts Council. Another attraction in Montpelier is the Green Mount Cemetery, which includes many monuments carved by the area's granite carvers.

The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 7,734, a decrease of 513 since 1990.

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