On May 28, 1842 the Baptist Congregation together with their pastor, the Rev. Hiram Stafford purchased the lot on the south west corner of Church and Main Streets for the sum of $600 in order to erect a house of worship. Unfortunately Stafford did not live to see the dedication of the building on April 3, 1845.1 A Greek revival style red brick stretcher bond building was constructed on a raised red sandstone foundation with a pedimented front gable and a cupola and open belfry. Evenly spaced brick pilasters extended from the face of the wall and were topped by a full entablature. Dentil molding surrounded the building at the cornice and the windows were topped with stone lintels. By June of 1857, the congregation found that the site was unsuitable for worship “being surrounded by so many public buildings and annoyed by the frequent noise and disturbances of so public and exposed locality”.2 In December 1864 the Baptists had sold the building to Daniel Perry of Perry and Murray for $3500 and began planning their new building on St. Paul Street. George Bigelow of the Burlington Times subsequently bought the building in January of 1866 and began the renovation of the interior to house his newspaper publishing operation. By May of that year the tower and cupola were removed. In September of 1875 the building was sold to Charles N. Mead for $11,500. The building took its final form in the late 1870s with the addition of the mansard roof to add a functional third floor to the building and the addition of the fishscale slates on the roof, the gables, wall dormers and paired brackets under the eaves.3 Today, only the only reminders of the Baptist Church are the brick pilasters with caps and frieze. The original frieze with its dentils and the frames of the church windows can be seen on the south facade. Unlike the rest of the building this area remains unpainted.4 The property was subject to a right of way to the stables on the south side of the building described in an indenture between Horace Wheeler and others recorded in Volume 22, Page 155-6 of the Land Records. In July of 1909, the Land Records show Almira A. Mead, administrix of the estate of Charles Mead leasing the property to an H.L. Pitcher.5 The property has been variously known as the “Times Building” and the “Mead Block” as it has housed successive commercial enterprises; few realize the building’s original purpose.
1 the Rev. Henry Crocker, History of the Baptists in Vermont, pp. 401-402
2 Free Press quoted in David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Volume II, p. 73
3 United States National Parks Services, City Hall Park Historic District
4 Lillian Baker Carlisle, Look Around Burlington, p. 14
5 Burlington Land Records
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