14. 491 & 485-487 COLCHESTER AVENUE

(no date)

Likely taken in 1928, perhaps on the same day that image number 12 was shot by Louis L. McAllister, this photograph looks to the east. It shows the condition of Colchester Avenue and the commercial buildings at the base of the hill near the Winooski River. The structure on the right was built in 1924,[1] while the simpler structure on the left first appears on the Sanborn Insurance map of 1926.[2]

The four bay-wide, two story structure on the right (numbers 485-487) was built as an addition attached to the tenement building, a much older structure located around the corner at 6-10 Barrett Street. The slightly raised parapet along the front of the building gives it an element of the boomtown style of construction popular during the 1920s. The commercial use of this structure at street level are distinguished from the apartments above by a bracketed moulding that divides the two floors along its west front elevation. Plate-glass windows, recessed entryways and a band of wood panels above the raised foundation also characterize the façade. There is space for two businesses at the street level: a larger grocery store in operation on the right and an unoccupied shop on the left.

The 1929 City Directory lists Ernest C. Potwin, a grocer, as the occupant at number 487, while 485 is listed as vacant.[3]

The three-by-four bay, one and one-half bay structure with a wide-pitched roof on the left side of the image was an early form of the automotive garage, built to shelter trucks and other motor vehicles, as evidenced by the large double doorway positioned slightly off-center in the gable front. The City Directory of 1929 shows the business of L.D. Mills and Son, mechanics, at this address.[4] A sign attached above the doorway next to the garage doors advertises Socony brand motor oil.

Two automobiles and a pick-up truck are parked in front of the buildings, as well as the wrecks of at least two other vehicles. They may have been destroyed in the 1927 flood and brought here for salvaging.

[1] Thomas D. Visser, “Winooski Falls Historic District, Proposed Boundary Increase, Amendment to National Register Nomination” (1986).

[2] Sanborn Insurance Maps (1906, 1912).

[3] Burlington City Directory (1929).

[4] City Directory (1929).

14. 491 & 485-487 COLCHESTER AVENUE

October 3, 2005

(18T 0644160   UTM 4927703)

A cursory glance at this photograph taken in 2005 would give the impression that the building at 483-485 Colchester Avenue is the same one shown in the McAllister image shot in 1929. This is not the case, for both structures at 491 and 483-485 Colchester Avenue were removed, first the garage and in 1988 the commercial block attached to 6-10 Barrett Street. A new commercial addition, designed to resemble the older one, was built in the 1993.[1]

[1] David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Vol. 2 (Burlington: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1997), 101.

Colchester Avenue east of East Avenue, Barrett and Mill Streets

Historic Burlington Project
Burlington 1890 | Burlington 1877 | Burlington 1869 | Burlington 1853 | Burlington 1830

Produced by University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program graduate students
in HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites - Prof. Thomas Visser
in collaboration with UVM Landscape Change Program
Historic images courtesy of Louis L. McAllister Photograph Collection University of Vermont Library Special Collections