Seth Morse House

281 St. Paul Street

Built between 1827 and 1830

By Michael Goebel Bain

This brick two-story Federal style house was originally built for Seth Morse between 1827 when he acquired the land and 1830 when it appears on the Ammi B. Young map. The 1827 deed does not mention a house, but it does mention a brickyard.(1) The clay in the area was of good quality for brick and the brickyard was located where the high-rise is now, 230 St. Paul Street. The kiln was located behind the Morse house.(2) Morse Brothers or M. & S. Morse Co. ran until the turn of the century with Cassius Peck Morse and assorted partners in charge. Cassius was the son of Myron who along with Seth and James were the three Morse Brothers. With the death of Seth Morse in 1867, Myron Morse and his wife acquired the house. It was actually Myron's wife, Julia Morse, who purchased the house from Seth's estate. In 1870 Myron died and two years later Julia also.(3)

In 1871 H. E. Sibley and J. E. Hogan bought the house and turned it in to apartments.(4) The house afterward changed from apartments to single family housing over time with apartments from 1951 to the present.(5) The main block of the house remains constant over time, but the lowering of the street in front to create an even grade changes its appearance.(6) The basement is exposed across the front now, and the porch was added across the front to provide access to the now elevated front door. The rear ell shifted sides between 1830 and 1853.(7) After 1942 there is no ell, but a large ell to accommodate more apartments appears between 1960 and 1978.(8)


1 David Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods (Burlington, VT: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), 70.
2 Blow, Historic Neighborhoods, 70.
3 Blow, Historic Neighborhoods, 70.
4 Blow, Historic Neighborhoods, 70.
5 Burlington City Directories, Burlington, VT.
6 Blow, Historic Neighborhoods, 69.
7 Ammi B. Young, 1830 Map of Burlington, VT: Presdee & Edwards, 1853 Map of Burlington, VT.
8 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Burlington, VT, 1869-1978.

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