308 Pearl Street

Deming-Isham House

By Andrea Livi

When it was built in 1817, the Deming house was halfway between "the settlements at Burlington Bay and Winooski Falls"(17) The house was designed by Russell Skinner (18), who also built 303 Pearl. Unlike its neighbor, however, 308 Pearl saw very few changes to its front façade and appears today much as it did in the 1820s. The delicate fanlight tracery remains the focal point of this Federal style house.

Eleazer Deming was a businessman who had prospered and become "one of the wealthiest men in Chittenden County"(19) His wealth no doubt allowed him to establish an estate so separate from the town. Cousin to his neighbor Ozia Buell, Deming owned the land from Pearl to North Street. The house was one of the social centers of Burlington: "it is a significant part of the early Pearl Street upper crust residential district."(20)

After Deming's death, his daughter Maria married Captain Nathaniel Tucker in 1842, thereby transferring ownership to him. Captain Tucker enjoyed a successful career in the army until his death in 1873. Maria remained in the house until her death in 1895 (21). During her lifetime, the neighborhood saw extensive changes as new streets were laid out and others were extended, reducing the property surrounding 308 Pearl. Maria transferred the ownership of the house to her nephew Charles A. Hoyt before her death (22). The house was owned by a number of Hoyts during the early part of the 20th century, being kept as a summer home. The lands were further subdivided at that time.

Arthur Isham purchased the house in 1911 and soon after divided it into apartments (23). He resided in one of these until his death in 1924, and his widow kept the house until her death in 1964. In 1968 a "continuing care facility" (24) was constructed in the rear and today a day-care center is housed in 303 Pearl. This use requires a high fence around the front yard, obscuring the view of the house, but it also assures a continued use of this slice of Burlington history.


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