Mill (3 of 3)
Fire again played a part in the
history of Old Mill when lightning struck on 1918. By the time
it was extinguished, the blaze had severely damaged much of South
College, especially its roof and fourth floor. As Converse Hall
was complete and fraternities had become popular, Old Mill was
no longer needed to provide dormitory space for the University
students, and as a result, the entire fourth floor was closed
off, the dormers were removed, and the third floor dormitory
space was converted into classrooms, offices and a laboratory.
Right: Former student dormitory room,
Old Mill attic, north wing, looking east. Note the transom window
above the door and the flue hole for a stove pipe. (Photo: T.
After being closed for several
years during World War II, seventeen rooms in the south end of
Old Mill were converted back to dormitory space to house women
the early 1950s, however, the growing number of students, cramped
conditions, and concerns for fire safety in Old Mill prompted
the University to plan another major renovation.
Right: View of Old Mill looking northeast,
circa 1950. (UVM Archives)
In 1957, the Burlington architectural
firm of Freeman, French, Freeman designed the International style
Lafayette Hall . This utilitarian structure that was connected
to Old Mill by a second story enclosed bridge, provided the University
of Vermont with much-needed classroom space for nearly four decades.
Right: Lafayette Hall, view looking southeast.
(Photo: T. Visser, 1988.)
Coinciding with the construction
of Lafayette Hall as a classroom annex, the interior of Old Mill
was substantially altered in 1958. The entrances on the north
and south ends were blocked off and partitions were removed to
create two large first floor lecture halls.
For the first time all the rooms
on each floor were connected by long corridors running the entire
length of the building. Numerous partitions divided the areas
west of the corridors into small offices and fireproof stairs
and restrooms were added on the east side.
First floor lecture room 109, looking
south, with Geography Department maps.
(Photo: T. Visser, 1988.)
The historical significance of
Old Mill was recognized in 1975 when it was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places as a contributing building within
the University Green Historic District.
national recognition came in 1991, when the United States Postal
Service commemorated the two hundredth anniversary of the founding
of the University of Vermont with a special post card featuring
Old Mill (right).
After several years of careful
planning, in 1995, the University of Vermont launched the latest
major renovation of the Old Mill building.
The Burlington-based architectural firms of Northern Architects
and Smith Alvarez Sienkiewycz provided the designs and oversight
for the project. The UVM Historic Preservation Program assisted
by researching the historic colors on the exterior and the historic
paint schemes, wallpapers, and stencilling designs in such spaces
as John Dewey Lounge, the former campus chapel.
UVM Historic Preservation Program graduate
student, Will Bentley, '92, removing paint layers to document
the historic decorative finish designs in John Dewey Lounge.
Photo: T. Visser, 1991.
Completed in May 1997 at a cost
of 17 million dollars, Old Mill has been transformed into an
up-to-date educational facility through the generosity of the
people of the State of Vermont and the gifts of alumni, parents
and friends of the UVM. The interior was entirely redone with
new offices, classrooms, and meeting spaces.
Lafayette Hall was transformed
into an attractive four-story brick structure that is now the
University's largest and most technologically advanced classroom
building. It is linked to Old Mill by the Old Mill Annex, a modern
three-story addition with general purpose clssrooms, a computer
classroom, and various service facilities. The main block of
Old Mill now houses the Geography Department, Economics Department,
Women Studies Program, English Department, the Center for Holocaust
Studies, the Humanities Center, the Political Science Department,
the Area and International Studies Office, and the ALANA Studies
the exterior of the historic main block carefully restored to
its 1880s appearance with the historic paint scheme on the tower
and trim and with replicas of the former dormers and chimneys
installed on the roof, Old Mill conveys a strong message of respect
for past achievements as it points the way towards an exciting
future for the University of Vermont.
Right: Old Mill, view looking northeast
from the UVM Green. Photo: T. Visser, 1997.)
This history of Old Mill was produced
by Prof. Thomas Visser of the UVM Historic Preservation Program,
based in part on a professional report on the history of Old
Mill prepared in 1988 by Thomas Visser and MaryJo Llewellyn of
the UVM Historic Preservation Program's Architectural Conservation
and Education Service.
to beginning of Old Mill History