Church Street looking North towards Pearls Street

UTM: 18 0642146 E, 4926723 N 232 feet

L.L. McAllister

December 3, 1936

A.L. Bushey

October 31, 2006

The caption on this photo reads, “December 3, 1936, View of upper Church Street while the Street Department was removing snow after the storm of the previous night.  The trucks are being loaded by hand.”

McAllister took this 1936 view from a second story location on the right side of Church Street, looking north.  The photo was taken to document advancements in snow removal techniques, as the blizzard of 1925, nine years earlier, had demonstrated to the city’s street department its lack of efficiency in this area.  The Board of Street Commissioners were permitted by a March, 1937 vote to purchase a combination snowplow, the money for which would come from a Bond Issue.  The snowplow was due for delivery on October 1, 1937.(1)

Due to public demand for passable winter roads, the Street Department purchased two sand spreaders in the mid-1930s and constructed 122 sand boxes at street intersections.  These boxes were kept stocked with sand that had been dehydrated in an asphalt dryer and heated to a temperature of 350° Fahrenheit.  The sand was mixed with salt to create a more “non-skid” surface.  During the winter of 1936-37 sand in excess of 1500 cubic yards, and three carloads of rock salt were laid down to maintain traction and ensure the safety of Burlington’s streets.(2)

  The jewelers F.J. Preston & Son, Inc. was located at 17 Church Street for over two decades.  Carl’s Dinette restaurant and lunch room at #15 was owned by Carl A. Hill.  The Harry L. White Co. at #11 sold sporting goods, news, and tobacco.(3)

The Masonic Temple Building at the corner of Church and Pearl, located on left side of this photograph, is a Romanesque structure erected in 1898 by the Free Masons.  According to the 1942 Sanborn Map Company insurance map for the city of Burlington, the building was constructed of steel posts and beams and equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.(4)

At the head of Church Street, at 152 Pearl, stands the building for which the street was named, the Unitarian Church, constructed in 1816 in the Federal style.

Visible on the right side of the street is a sign for Dr. P.C. Davis, optometrist.  Perl C. Davis was both an optometrist and optician, operating his practice in the same building he resided in at 16 Church Street.

(1) 72nd Report of the City of Burlington, Vermont 1937 (Burlington: Free Press Printing Co.), 177.

61st Report of the City of Burlington Vermont 1925 (Burlington: Free Press Printing Co.), 163.

(2) 72nd Report, 177-178.

(3) Manning’s Burlington Winooski Essex Junction Directory for year beginning September 1933 (Springfield:H.A. Manning Co.), 48, 148, 187.

(4) Insurance Map of Burlington Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1942).

(5) Directory 1933, 64.

The building that housed Preston’s, Carl’s, and the Harry L. White Co. is now a single story edifice devoting its retail space to an Eddie Bauer store.  The Masons no longer own or occupy the Masonic Temple building, having removed to another Burlington location.  Ground floor retail space is currently occupied by an Ann Taylor clothing store.  The Unitarian Church still stands at 152 Pearl Street, continuing it’s nearly 200 year watch over Vermont’s largest city.
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Historic Burlington Project
Depression Era Streetscapes: Old North End | 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 University of Vermont Library Special Collections, Louis L. McAllister Photograph Collection