University of Vermont

Historic Burlingtonā€š Vermont

Elmwood Area:

North of Pearl Street and South of North Winooski Ave.

By Laura Need

The neighborhoods around Elmwood Avenue are a composite of Burlington’s working class and growing middle class population during the 1880’s. Following the Civil War Burlington’s industries thrived. Burlington’s lumber industry had been exhausted by the 1870’s. However the advent of the canal and the coming of the railroad allowed Burlington to import lumber from Canada, prrocess it here and export it down the lake to New York and Boston. By 1875 Burlington was one of the nations largest producers of lumber.1

The boom to Burlington’s economy in the 1880’s translated into a rise in the city’s middle-class population. Modest Queen Anne and Italianate style homes were built around North Winooski and Clark Street for the burgeoning middle class. The growth in economy also saw the rise in the number of homes being built as investment properties. Many of the houses constructed along Clark, Grant, George, and North Winooski were built as rental properties for Burlington’s number of entrepreneurs. The lawns of Elmwood’s large estates were chopped up to accommodate middle class housing.

The increase in industry equaled an increase in the immigrant population to Burlington. French Canadian and Irish immigrants flooded into the booming city. The North End had always been the hub for immigrant populations. North Avenue neighborhoods from North Winooski to North Champlain Street were saturated with Irish immigrants. While the French Canadians clustered in neighborhoods around Elmwood Avenue. 2

The housing shortage created by mass numbers of immigrants moving into the North end was resolved by building large tenement buildings. Tenements were built along the newly created Johnson Street, Peru and Monroe Street. One cramped tenement might house as many as ten residents. By looking at the type of people who lived in these tight conditions a picture of Burlington’s hard working blue-collar community begins to take shape.

All photgraphs unless otherwise noted are by Laura Need

Sources

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Prepared for UVM Historic Preservation Program, Dec. 2004 by Laura Need

1. Arthur Cohn. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT. Lecture given 11/11/04 at Wheeler House.
2. UVM National Register North Street Burlington Vermont Statement of Signifigance: http://www.uvm.edu/~histpres/HP/NR/northstreet/nssig.html 11/19/04

 

 


 


 

 

Last modified December 08 2004 09:33 AM

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