Old Mill (2 of 3)

Old Mill served the University for the next thirty-five years with few changes, but in 1881, Burlington native and benefactor, John Purple Howard, donated sixty-five thousand dollars and enlisted architect, Jean Jacques Rouseau Randall of Rutland, Vermont, to modernize the Old Mill in the popular Victorian Gothic style.

Above: Old Mill after the 1882 renovation. (UVM Archives)

As the Burlington Free Press noted on December 16, 1881:

These changes, with others contemplated in the plan, including a much higher and more artistic tower, will give the building a much finer front, and make it, beyond question, a very imposing and handsome structure and one which in its enlarged proportions, higher and more healthful rooms, and architectural elegance, will be much more suitable for its purposes, as well as more ornamental than the present building.

The 1882 renovation of Old Mill was a huge undertaking that involved completely rebuilding of the front and side facades, raising the ceiling heights by four feet, and adding a fourth floor with dormers for dormitory space.

Public opinion was mixed when the gold dome was dismantled and replaced with a 150-foot tall steeple tower, but the virtually new building was praised for its more convenient interior.

The dome - this prominent object came very naturally to be regarded by alumni and the permanent residents of Burlington with special interest; numerous and sometimes pathetic have been the requests from distant and long absent graduates of the College, that, whatever might be done with the rest of the 'Old Brick Mill,' its shining dome, the great landmark of the valley, might be preserved in its integrity. It seemed, to the older alumni especially, to be a sort of exponent of the work and aim of the University.
Burlington Free Press, 15 August 1882.

The old College dome is no more. This morning the last vestige of the ancient landmark and surveyor's beacon disappeared. Verily, the glory of the hill has departed.
Burlington Free Press, 18 May 1882.

The 1882 renovation of Old Mill provided suites of dormitory rooms in the north and south wings of the upper floors. These rooms were heated by cast iron wood stoves. Fine colorful wallpapers covered the plaster walls and ceilings.

Right: Old Mill interior, student room, top floor. Photograph circa 1890. (UVM Archives)


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