Wikipedia lists 34 Burlingtons in the United States, but some of them must be so small that Rand McNally doesn’t track them. Rand lists only 13 Burlingtons in the United States. The smallest one is Burlington, Indiana, which has a population of about 900 and is near Valparaiso. I expected it to be on Lake Michigan, but it’s inland and near an abandoned ski area. I was surprised that at one time you could ski in Indiana at the Pine Peak Family facility where the summit’s altitude is 868 feet.
I expected the largest Burlington in the USA to be the one in Vermont that is the location of at least one of the homes of Bernie Sanders, Democratic candidate for President. The internet is full of opinions about how many houses he owns and how big his residences are. But Burlington, VT is not the largest one. The Burlington in North Carolina is slightly larger with 50,000 people living there. There are also fairly large Burlingtons in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Ruth and I have been to 3 Burlingtons that I remember, the ones in Vermont, Iowa, and our state, Washington. Washington’s Burlington is in the tulip-centered Skagit Valley about 50 miles north of Seattle. There are smaller Burlingtons in Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, and Ohio. However, no US Burlington is as large as the one in Canada’s Ontario. It has more than 175,000 people and has become a suburb of Toronto. It’s across Lake Ontario from the city of Hamilton.
But why are there so many Burlingtons and where did the name originate? The word came from Yorkshire England where there’s a town now called Bridington. This fairly large coastal town of 35,000 has had 5 names over time and one of them is Berlington. It’s 34 miles east of York and known as the Lobster Capital of Europe. The first mention of it was in the Doomsday Book. William the Conquerer ordered a survey of the country he had recently conquered. It was published in 2 volumes in 1086 and still exists in London’s National Archives. Over time it has been invaluable to historians because it’s the earliest public record of land, estates, and manors in Britain.
There are 2 Burlington ships in the Royal Navy and the word has been used in industries as varied as selling coats, a railroad, and an energy company. One final gossipy footnote: famous artist David Hockney used to have a house in Bridington until an assistant drank a cleaning product in 2013 and died there.