Before Lake View Cemetery was laid out in the late 1860s, North Avenue above North Street was primarily undeveloped, open farmland.The elegant park-like cemetery with its winding paths and scenic views was dedicated in 1871 and soon became a popular destination for those looking for a bucolic respite from busy city life.[1] Beginning in 1880, visitors could ride a horse-drawn streetcar to the cemetery and three years later electric streetcars made their appearance on North Avenue.[2]

Most of the growth along North Avenue between North Street and Lake View Cemetery took place in the years between 1880 and 1920 and, with the exception of two large institutions, was almost entirely residential. In this way, it represents an early suburban development in Burlington. The existence of single and multiple-family homes made housing on North Avenue accessible to people of economic backgrounds ranging from successful business owners to tradesmen and widows.

Louis McAllister, a photographer working for the City of Burlington, took a series of photographs along North Avenue in the years 1931, 1934 and 1938. McAllister was attempting to document projects undertaken along North Avenue by the Burlington Street Department. A number of these projects, according to the report of the Street Commissioners in Burlington’s Annual Report for 1934, were “aimed to relieve unemployment.” The Commissioners observed that this responsibility fell to their department “because of its equipment and organization or trained men.”

McAllister’s images of North Avenue provide wonderful documentation of this thoroughfare as it looked in the midst of the Great Depression.


[1] Douglas S. Terpstra, Howard Mortuary Chapel nomination for the National Register of Historic Places, 1998, section 8, 1.

[2] Gabrielle Bougerie, Brian Knight, Elaine Park, Draft North Street Historic District nomination, National Register of Historic Places, 1996, section 7, 2.



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