The Old Mill building, prominently
located on the University of Vermont campus green overlooking
the city of Burlington and Lake Champlain, has throughout its
long and varied history served as a symbol of the university.
Right: The College Building at the University
of Vermont, 1802-1824, engraving from Thomson's Gazetteer, 1824.
UVM's original college building
was constructed on the present site of Old Mill in 1802. Designed
by John Johnson of Burlington, the rectangular, four-story, hip-roofed,
brick structure was modeled after Nassau Hall on the campus of
Princeton University. The building contained a two-story chapel,
recitation rooms, library, museum, medical hall, chemical laboratory,
and forty-six student dormitory rooms. Except for a brief period
in 1813-14 when the college's activities were suspended during
the war with Great Britain, the structure remained the sole academic
building of the University until it was destroyed by fire in
After the loss of the first college building,
the University of Vermont began immediately to rebuild and to
enlarge its home with fire protection in mind. In 1825, North
College and South College were constructed as dormitories with
General Lafayette laying a cornerstone.
Right: West elevation of Middle College,
John Johnson, circa 1829. (Wilbur Collection, UVM Library)
Four years later, Middle College
was erected between the earlier buildings, but separated by eight-foot
fire breaks. Middle College was longer and deeper than the flanking
buildings and its central pavilion was topped by a gold dome.
Designed and constructed by master builder, John Johnson, this
Federal style brick building housed the two-story University
chapel, lecture and recitation rooms, library, museum and other
Right: North, Middle, and South Colleges as they
appeared circa 1835 when they were three separate buildings.
Wood engraving from "American Magazine," vol. 3, no.
7 (1835), 273. (UVM Archives)
North, Middle, and South Colleges
of Old Mill were joined in 1846 to form what was said to be the
state's largest building. Parapeted fire walls replaced the open
fire breaks, although it was still necessary to leave the building
to walk from one section to another.
thought the resulting long, narrow, brick building resembled
a grist and textile mill, so UVM's main campus building came
to be known as "the Mill," and eventually, "Old
Right: Old Mill circa 1870. (UVM
to Old Mill History page 2 of 3