166 Battery-Pomeroy House

by Doug Porter

Built for Dr. John Pomeroy in 1796, this two-and-one-half story eaves-forward structure is one of Burlington's oldest brick buildings. Dr. Pomeroy (1764-1844) came to Burlington in 1792, having practiced medicine in Cambridge, Vermont for five years prior to his move. Pomeroy lived in a log building on the north side of Pearl Street for a few months before he purchased this lot with an older building on it. Four years later, he demolished the older building and had this brick structure built.1 Dr. Pomeroy began training apprentices sometime before 1800, offering classes in his home. He was appointed to the chair of anatomy and surgery at UVM medical school in 1809 (the same year he received an honorary degree from the university), but continued to teach at home until 1822. Pomeroy was active in his practice and in the affairs of the university until 1823. He was invalided in the late 1830s and died in this house in 1844.2

As the south end of Battery became increasingly commercial and industrial in character, many of the longtime residents moved away. The waterfront became home to a growing population of Irish immigrants. In 1864, the house came into the possession of an Irish grocer named Patrick Cavanaugh, who bought the property from Pomeroy's son. Cavanaugh prospered and bought up property in the area. These properties he let to poor tenants rent-free. When Cavanaugh died in 1879, his sister, Mary McLaughlin, inherited the Pomeroy house. The building remained in her family until 1941, when the Chittenden Bank acquired the place. The house was sold to Harold Holloway in 1950, and he converted the building to a bait shop. Holloway bought many decrepit Battery Street buildings and after his death in 1977, the properties were sold to a development team. Rehabilitation of the "Holloway Block" as this portion of Battery Street came to be known, began in 1981. The Pomeroy house was renovated as part of this project. The work included demolition of the rear wing, extensive window replacement, and recreation of the elliptical light over the front door.


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1 A. M. Hemenway, Vermont Historical Gazetteer (Burlington, VT: 1867), vol 1, 495. See also W. S. Rann, History of Chittenden County Vermont (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co, 1886), 758.

2 Hemenway, Vermont Historical Gazetteer, vol 1, 522. The National Register nomination suggests that the Burlington Savings Bank may have operated from this building soon after Pomeroy's death, but Rann locates the bank at another address. Rann, History of Chittenden County Vermont, 455.

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