(no date)

One of the most panoramic of McAllister’s photographs of Street Department works, this image encompasses a view from atop the hill, down Colchester Avenue and across the Winooski Bridge. The textile mills across the river in Winooski can be discerned in the background, as well as two steeples along the distant skyline. There is no date recorded on the photographic print. It may have been taken in the spring of 1930, a half-year after the construction work to improve the road was completed.

Two parallel seams are visible on the surface of the street, evidence that the pavement was built in three sections, each one a concrete slab 10 to 11 feet in width.[1] George Stanley described the reasons for using concrete rather than asphalt paving:

"It was thought best to use this type of paving on this section of the street because of the steep grade as it would be difficult to roll the hot asphalt mixture on the concrete base without having difficulty with its creeping. Another feature which was in favor of the concrete surface on this steep grade was the fact that the surface of the concrete could be broomed to any desired degree of roughness whereas the asphalt surface would be smooth and more slippery when the pavement was wet."[2]

In the left corner of the image a small portion of the façade and front porch of 438 Colchester Avenue, built before 1869, is visible.[3] Beyond this structure on the west side of the avenue, in order descending the hill, are numbers 440, 446, 448-450, a tenement house owned by the American Woolen Company,[4] 452, and 454-456, another tenement occupied by five households in 1929.[5]

The intersection of Colchester Avenue with Chase street occupies the right foreground of the image, with a clear view of 6-8 Chase street just beyond the corner. This masonry structure, the Dan Day Brick Store, dates to at least 1824 according to David Blow.[6] From that year, Alfred and Dan Day operated a general store selling “dry goods, groceries, hardware and crockery… writing, wrapping and house paper; schoolbooks, almanacs and registers, bibles and psalm books.”[7] In 1900, the Burlington Free Press noted that Angelina D. Edgecumbe had recently made improvements to the building, “one of the oldest in the city.”[8] It is a three-by-six bay two and one-half story block with few embellishments besides granite lintels and sills.

Just beyond this building, a corner of the structure at 445 Colchester Avenue is barely visible, obscured by a utility pole. This building also appears on the 1869 Beers map, and its footprint does not change significantly until the 1926 Sanborn map, when an addition appears on the east elevation, behind the street.[9]

[1] Annual Report of the City of Burlington (1929), 237.

[2] Annual Report (1929), 238.

[3] See Sabrina Carlson, “Burlington 1869: North Prospect Street East to the Winooski River,” 2002, http://www.uvm.edu/~hp206/2002-1869/scarlson/html (November 5, 2005).

[4] Burlington City Directory (1929).

[5] City Directory, (1929).

[6] David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Vol. 2 (Burlington: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1997), 92.

[7] Blow, 92.

[8] Blow, 92.

[9] See Beers Map of Burlington (1869), and Sanborn Insurance Map (1926).




October 11, 2005

(18T 0644166   UTM 4927510)

The streetscape has not changed significantly since the McAllister photograph was taken in 1929. The same structures are visible in the new image, with the addition of a house constructed on a narrow lot between 440 and 446 Colchester Avenue. The porch has been enclosed on number 438. On the east side of the street, the exterior brick at 6-8 Chase Street has been painted yellow, and the wood clapboards on number 445 have been covered with vinyl siding.

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