209 Battery- The Stone Store
by Doug Porter
The old Stone Store was originally the warehouse and wholesale outlet for Mayo, Follett & Company, and served as the headquarters of their commercial operation at the wharf. The neo-classical limestone block building was constructed in two stages, the north half in the winter of 1827-28,1 and the south half and roof in 1841.2 The Stone Store was at the center of merchandising and financial activity in the busy Battery Street district. Freight arriving in Burlington had to be stored or transferred and the Mayo & Follett teams were able to pull in behind the store to unload merchandise into the cellar before turning out again for another load. Bradley succeeded Mayo as Follett's partner, and an intense rivalry developed between Follett & Bradley and their chief competitor, J. & J. H. Peck & Co., located on the square. Both stores prospered as six- and eight-horse "land-ships" were continuously dispatched carrying goods to towns in the interior of the state. Follett founded the Merchants' Bank just up the street at 206 Battery as part of the process of consolidating his Battery Street operation and extending his influence. He also became the first president of the Rutland and Burlington Railroad line.3Between 1824 and 1929, the store was home to eight family firms and one of these, Spaulding and Kimball, built the brick warehouse just north of the Stone Store in 1893. After 1929, the store was occupied by a number of unrelated businesses until an extensive renovation in 1979.
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1 John Johnson Papers, Special Collections, Bailey-howe Library, University of Vermont: Carton 5, folder 49. The John Johnson papers contain time sheets for the 1827-28 construction project for which Johnson was apparently the general contractor. He was a fascinating character. An expert surveyor, csarpenter and bridge builder, Johnson had a special interest in mechanical structures. "He gave particular attention to the subject of saw-mills and flouring-mills, and through his instrumentality...the flouring-mills of Northern Vermont and New York were rendered especially superior to all others." W. S. Rann, History of Chittenden County Vermont, (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co, 1886), 752.
2 A. M. Hemenway, Vermont Historical Gazetteer (Burlington, VT: 1867), vol 1, 637. David Blow, in his Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, lists the construction dates as 1820 and 1827-28, respectively, but according to Hemenway, Follett did not give up his law practice to become Mayo's partner until 1823. In 1832, Follett became involved in the settlement of the affairs of Horatio Gates & Co., an enormous mercantile house, and this business fully occupied him until 1841. Upon returning to Burlington, Follett and his new partner, Bradley, added to the Stone Store. The Young map tends to support this account in that it shows that only half the building had been erected by 1830.
3 Hemenway, Vermont Historical Gazetteer, vol 1, 637. Follett was instrumental in filling the marsh south of Maple Street to use for a terminal and freight yard forthe railroad. The line opened in 1849 and brought rail traffic from Boston to Burlington.
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