422 - 351 North Avenue, photograph by Louis McAllister, 1934

GPS reading: 18T 0640821, UTM 4928102

These images are all taken from close to the same location on the west side of North Avenue looking south from the northern boundary of the Providence Orphan Asylum property. The asylum itself is visible at the right behind an iron fence.

The Providence Orphan Asylum at 351 North Avenue was built in 1884 to replace a smaller facility at Pearl and South Prospect Streets.[1] The building was designed by Cyril Beaudry of Joliette, Quebec.[2] The Asylum is a long four-story brick eaves-front structure measuring, with a large rear el and a central pavilion. It has belt courses at each floor, round-headed windows, stone sills with feet and a slate roof.[3] The Orphan Asylum was run by the “Sisters of Charity” and housed, at one time, as many as 200 children.[4]

A row of homes is visible on the left across from the asylum. The closest, a 2 ½-story brick house with rusticated foundation, shingled gables and a slate roof, is 422 North Avenue. The house has a deep front porch with columnar posts supported by stone piers. An enclosed porch spans the front façade on the second floor. The house was built in 1923 for Lucinda Stone, widow of Charles Stone.[5]

Just south of 422 is 412 North Avenue. Built in 1901 or early 1902, this single-family dwelling was the long-time home of Charles and Lucinda Stone.[6] This square brick house with rusticated foundation has a hipped roof with a central front dormer. A hipped-roof porch across the front of the house is supported by columnar posts on stone piers.  Mr. Stone, a builder and contractor, first appears in the Burlington City Directory at this address in 1902. In 1921 Lucinda Stone’s name appears alone.[7] (Presumably Mr. Stone died in 1920.) When the photograph was taken, a salesman named Irving A. Sylvester lived at this address.[8]

The next house, 404-406 North Avenue, was built as a duplex in 1917 or early 1918. The house is a gable-front, stuccoed structure with a slate roof and single roof brackets. A porch spanning the front façade is supported by columnar posts on stuccoed piers and has a solid stuccoed balustrade. In the City Directory for 1919, an engraver named Manuel P. Rose was living at 406, but 404 was vacant.[9] At the time of the photograph, Hollis E. Pease, a grocer, and Christopher L. Merrill, a post office cashier, were living at 404 and 406 respectively.[10]

Further down the block is 402 North Avenue, a single-family home built in 1917 or early 1918. A 2 ½-story Queen Anne style house, 402 is clad in clapboards with a front porch and a modest tower on the southwest corner. The first resident at this address was a laborer named Felix Ploof.[11] When McAllister took this photograph in 1934, it was the home of a widow, Mrs. Elvira Gadue.[12]

Just visible past 402 is 392 North Avenue. Built in or around 1872, this is a clapboarded, gable-front and wing house.[13] In this image, it appears to have a front porch. The property is on the 1890 Hopkins map of Burlington associated with James Wakefield, a sailmaker who operated a successful family business in Burlington for many years. James Wakefield seems to have taken residence here in 1874, as he is listed at this address in the City Directory of that year. At the time that the photograph was taken, 392 North Avenue was the home of Mrs. Emma McGrath, a widow and an employee of the Providence Orphan Asylum.[14]

[1] David J. Blow, A Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, vol. 1, (Burlington, VT: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), 13-14.

[2] Ibid.

[3] C. Richard Morsbach, Historic Sites & Structures Survey, 351 North Avenue, Burlington, Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, 1978.

[4] Blow, vol. 1, 13-14.

[5] Morsbach.

[6] Burlington City Directory, 1902.

[7] Burlington City Directory, 1921.

[8] Burlington City Directory, 1934.

[9] Burlington City Directory, 1919.

[10] Burlington City Directory, 1934.

[11] Burlington City Directory, 1918.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Amanda Ciampolillo, North Avenue, Burlington 1890 website, www.uvm.edu/%7Ehp206/2004-1890/burlington1890/website/aciampol/northavenue.

[14] Burlington City Directory, 1934.



422 - 351 North Avenue, photograph by T. N. Martin, 2005

GPS reading: 18T 0640821, UTM 4928102

The most noticeable change in the contemporary image of this view, is the loss of the tall elms that defined the avenue in the McAllister photograph. Broad, low-growing trees, both deciduous and evergreen now interfere with the view from house to house down the street. And unfortunately, without the camouflage of the high canopy, power poles and electrical lines are far more evident.

All the buildings in the original photograph are still standing, but many have undergone changes since 1934. The Providence Orphan Asylum has seen a number of additions since McAllister photographed this historic North Avenue institution. In 1940 a large, modern 3-story wing was added at the south end of the building.[15] Then in 1962 a new, broadly gabled, glass and steel entryway was constructed. Additional renovations were made to the interior in the 1970s.[16] Formerly Providence Orphan Asylum, St. Joseph’s Child Center ceased caring for orphans in 1983.[17] The building is owned by the Burlington archdiocese and is now called the Bishop Brady Center.

The homes at 422, 412 and 406-404 have undergone very little change since being documented in McAllister’s photographs. The house at 402 has been sided and has had its porch posts and railings replaced, but still retains its original slate roof. The house at 392 North Avenue also has siding replacing the original clapboards and decorative (non-functional) shutters at the windows. Since these houses are very difficult to see in the McAllister views, it is unclear what other changes may have been made since the original photographs were taken.

[15] Blow, vol. 1, 13-14.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.



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