Pownal is a town in Bennington County, of the Manchester-Bennington region of Vermont and is the southwesternmost town in Vermont. The town includes the villages of Pownal, North Pownal, and Pownal Center.
Pownal was the first town Benning Wentworth granted after the French and Indian wars. Brothers John and Thomas Pownall are both listed in the charter and are considered the source of the town's name.
The novel Memoir of a Green Mountain Boy starts and ends in Pownal during the early years of the Revolution.
Two presidents of the United States once taught in North Pownal: James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. They taught at what was called "The Academy," a school that prepared boys for college. The Academy was located in the basement of the Congregational Church in North Pownal. In 1851, Chester Arthur was appointed as the school's principal.
The oldest house in Vermont is located in Pownal - the Mooar-Wright House, possibly built in the 1750s. Some think it may have been built by John Defoe (or DeVoet), a "Tory" or someone sympathetic to England during the Revolution. Others believe the Mooar-Wright house was built by Charles Wright in 1765.
Pownal was formerly the home of Green Mountain Race Track for horse racing until 1977 when the track featured greyhound racing. The track closed in 1992 due to pressure from animal rights activists (Vermont banned the sport in 1995). Since closing as a racetrack, the site has hosted live events, including a rock concert in the Lollapalooza series in 1996, and antique car shows from 2005 to 2008. The 144-acre property has been purchased by commercial developers, whose plans for it have not yet been finalized.