135-140 Main Street
By Michael Goebel Bain
The three-story brick commercial building at 135-140 Main Street was built as part of the American Hotel in 1824. The reconstructed building at 145 Main Street also represents an part of the original. Governor Cornelius Van Ness created the Hotel by acquiring the Jewett house on the corner of Main and St. Paul Streets, adding a third floor to it, and building the east wing, now 135-145 Main Street.(1)
The Hotel burnt in 1906 and was replaced by the Hotel Vermont, which stands today as an apartment house. The fire did not destroy the east wing of the American Hotel, which is used to this day as mixed office space and apartments.(2) The roofline was raised from two and a half to a full three stories in the early twentieth century. The altered cornice line and fenestration date from that period.(3)
The storefronts are now like many other twentieth century examples. Between 1960 and 1978 the center storefront expanded backward to approximately twice its original size.(4)
With other small but constant changes overtime, the only real Federal style detail remaining is the parapet-gable toward the Flynn Theater, which was reconstructed in the late 1990's along with 145 Main Street. The list of Presidents and other famous guests at the American Hotel coupled with the history of the space fronting City Hall Park, make the greatly modified structure still significant.
1 David Blow, Historic
Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, vol. 2 (Burlington, VT:
Chittenden County Historical Society, 1997), 202.
2 Burlington City Directories, Burlington, VT.
3 Blow, Historic Neighborhoods, vol. 2, 202: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Burlington, VT, 1900,1912.
4 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Burlington, VT, 1960, 1978.
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