While neither of the above buildings were built during the 1853 to 1869 period under study, it is helpful to establish their history in order to clarify the history of the neighboring structures. Additionally, my research revealed discrepancies with the Burlington Historic Sites and Structures Survey, which can be corrected here. These two portions of the Burlington Free Press offices are the oldest structures, hidden behind a c. 1925 facade with a 1970s first floor alteration. The right-hand portion began as a Federal three-story gable-roofed structure with parapeted roof, built prior to 1833. In 1905 the a fourth story was added, bringing it up to the height of the original Free Press building, constructed in 1833. The original Free Press building is the left-hand section of the buildings above. A photograph from the1880s shows that it had been given an Italianate facade (1). In 1925, a new facade was constructed across these two structures, uniting them visually (2). This is contrary to the Burlington Historic Sites and Structures Survey, but in line with the research of David Blow , and with of a photograph of the block from the 1880s (3). It also concurs with an article reviewing the history of the Burlington Free Press published in 1948 (4). The Survey seems to confuse this portion of the Free Press Building with the section immediately to the east, which is documented to have been originally built as the Blodgette Oven Company (see section below), and has been the subject of later facade alterations. The section the Survey refers to as the original c. 1833 Free Press building would not have had Italianate features that early and indeed what could be seen in 1977 when the Survey was conducted did not have brackets, but rather the 1925 facade.
Discrepancies in research for this section of the block turned up as well. David Blow's research indicated that it may have been built as early as 1848, or possibly as early as 1833, with its party wall being the premise for the height of the c. 1833 Free Press Building. The Burlington Historic Sites and Structures Survey notes that this section was built between 1854 and 1865 for Gardner S. Blodgett and his stove and plumbing business. My review of the maps and available Burlington City Directories and Burlington Free Press articles suggests that the building does predate 1853, but was certainly the subject of a 1869s or 1870s facade update. However, it does not appear to predate 1833, as the original Free Press Office was later expanded to reach the height of this building (5). During the 1853-1869 period of investigation, G.S. Blodgett ran a successful business, and remained at this location until they moved to Bank Street in 1903 (6). The company made steel ovens and stoves on the upper floors and sold them on the ground level. They also sold iron goods, tinware, and other related goods. The 1869 Sanborn map marks the store as "tinware." In the 1880s Blodgett also branched out into plumbing and heating. The facade was altered in the 1920s and again in the 1970s.
The most interesting portion of this block in terms of the 1853-1869 research period is this narrow section. The Historic Sites and Structures Survey dates the building to c. 1877, probably based on the Italianate detailing, but expressed some hesitation at this date. They thought the facade dated to about 1910, calling it a colonial revival style (8). David Blow states that it was built "probably in 1877"(9). However, newspaper articles from 1869 clearly pin the date of construction to 1869 (10, 11). The articles describe the "swell front" exterior and the interior fitted with marble tables for meats and dairy products, and fine woodwork of ash and chestnut. The rear of the building served as offices while the second and third stories were apartments and tenant rooms respectively, each with water closets and coal bins. The three stories of the new Weston building were purposely scaled to match the four-story height of the neighboring Blodgett building (11). Designed by E.C. Ryer, Mr. Weston is said to have assisted with the plans. The 1869 Sanborn map includes the footprint, marking it as "Not finished for Market & Offices." After Mr. Weston, the Jones Brothers operated a meat and grocery market on the ground floor of the building from 1878 to 1905. Standard Coal and Ice Company moved in after that, followed by McCaulliff's paper in 1914. The Burlington Free Press soon after acquired the space and has remained there since (12).
(1) Carlough, Peter, Bygone Burlington, Burlington Bicentennial Committee, Burlington, VT, 1976.
(2) Blow, David J., Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Chittenden County Historical Society, Queen City Printers, Burlington, VT, 1991.
(3) Carlough, Peter, Bygone Burlington, Burlington Bicentennial Committee, Burlington, VT, 1976.
(4) "Burlington Free Press Building," Burlington Free Press, March 24, 1948.
(6) "Century of Oven Progress, 1848-1948" Burlington Free Press, March 24, 1948, pg. 35.
(7) Blow, David J., Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Chittenden County Historical Society, Burlington, Vermont, Queen City Printers, 1991.
(8) Burlington Historic Sites and Structures Survey, Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1977.
(9) Blow, David J., Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Chittenden County Historical Society, Burlington, Vermont, Queen City Printers, 1991.
(10) "Weston's New Meat Market," Burlington Free Press, November 29, 1869, pg. 3 col. 2.
(11) "Description of Weston's new meat market on College Street." Burlington Free Press, November 4, 1869, pg. 3 col. 2.
(12) Burlington City Directories.