When the Vermont Central Railroad opened a depot here in 1849, Bethel became the most important commercial village on the upper White River. Then the great fire of December 10, 1877, swept through its commercial district, consuming its depot and all of the commercial blocks on the west side of Main Street. The railroad depot was rebuilt in brick and was similar to those built in Chester, Royalton, and New Haven the same year. Just north of the depot are two-story commercial blocks also built in brick. The Blossom Block features a five-bay storefront with cast-iron columns, while the Arnold Block is somewhat smaller with a wooden storefront. Both have deep storefront canopies, much like the canopy with “outrigger” brackets that was removed from the depot about 1840. Originally, Fred Arnold sold fire and life insurance from an office on the second floor of the building with his name, and the Blossom housed apartments in its upper story. Although nearby Randolph village soon eclipsed Bethel as the retail center of the upper White River Valley, due in part to the 1877 fire, these buildings and several contemporary wood-frame blocks nearby have remained in continuous use as the commercial heart of Bethel village.
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Blossom and Arnold Blocks
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