University of Vermont

Historic Burlingtonā€š Vermont


120 Buell Street

Builder/Architect:                J.J. McLaughlin, contractor

Date of Construction:          ca. 1889

First Occupant:                     Mabel and David Johnson Foster

120 Buell Street – south façade

Although Buell Street was constructed in 1886,1 the first residence on Buell does not appear until ca. 1889. It was built by local contractor J.J. McLaughlin for David Johnson Foster, who went on to become one of Burlington’s most prominent citizens.2 Foster purchased 3 1/2 adjacent lots from Maria B. Hungerford in 1886,3 and the first listing for Foster on Buell Street appears in the 1889 city directory and simply describes his house as being on the “north side of Buell”. Since his house was the only house on Buell, this description would have sufficed at that time. Two other structures were built on Buell shortly after this one, at 62/64 Buell and 119 Buell. The three buildings all appear on the 1890 Hopkins map.4 The “north side of Buell” description for Foster’s address continues until 1894, when it is listed as 72 Buell Street.5 Not until 1902 is Foster listed at 120 Buell, the street numbers having changed on Buell Street ca. 1899.   

David Johnson Foster was a Vermont native, born in Barnet on June 17, 1857, and educated at St. Johnsbury Academy. After attending Dartmouth College and earning his law degree he began his career in Burlington in 1883. A short time later he began his political career, serving as the prosecuting attorney for Chittenden County from 1886-90. From 1892-94 he was a member of the state senate, and then Commissioner of state taxes from 1894-98. He then made the jump to national politics in 1901 when he was elected to the 57th Congress as a Republican. He served in the following five Congresses until his death on March 21, 1912. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.6


1 Clark Schoettle, Vermont Historic Sites and Structures Survey: Burlington: Hungerford Terrace. Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1977.

2 Adele Cramer, Vermont Historic Sites and Structures Survey: Burlington: Buell Street. Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1977.

3 Historic deed research. Clerk’s Office, Burlington City Hall.

4Map of the City of Burlington Vermont. C.M. Hopkins, CE, Philadelphia, 1890.

5 Burlington City Directory, 1894

6 Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.



Last modified December 06 2004 05:05 PM

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