Church Street looking North from City Hall

UTM: 18 0642161 E, 4926346 N 206 feet

L.L. McAllister
December 3, 1936

A.L. Bushey
October 31, 2006

The caption on this photo reads: “December 3, 1936, View of lower church Street after the snow had been removed aster the 13’’ storm of the night before.”

This photograph was taken the same day as the first photo in this sequence.  Though further south, and evidently later in the day, the pair demonstrates the determination of the Street Department to clear away the snow in order to render the main arteries of the business district passable once again.  Most of the snow removal work in this area was performed by hand, and in response to this massive movement of snow, the Board of Street Commissioners was permitted to purchase a combination snowplow to be delivered on October 1, 1937. (See photo one for further information.)(1)

The partial building seen in the left-hand corner of the photograph is Burlington’s City Hall, built in the colonial revival style in 1928, at 148 ½ Church Street.  According to the 1942 Sanborn insurance map, City Hall was erected of fireproof construction with a steel frame, metal lath, brick curtain wall, plaster ceiling, and concrete floor.(2) 

The next building on the left is the Ethan Allen Engine Co. No. 4, built in 1889 at 133 Church Street to house Burlington’s volunteer fire department.  The tower, not visible from this viewpoint, served the dual purpose of sounding bells to alert firemen of an emergency and for hanging fire hoses to dry.  In 1895 the city voted to begin a paid fire department to replace its volunteer force, and in 1896 the members of the Ethan Allen Engine Company formed a social organization called the Ethan Allen Club.  The organization survived for more than a century, although it removed from the fire station to College Street, and became one of Burlington’s most exclusive social organizations.(3)   

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

(2) Insurance Map (1942).

(3) J. Ned Shannon. Nedly’s Small City Guide to Burlington Vermont (Burlington: Small Cities Publishing), 72-73.

City Hall still stands and performs its original function as the center point of city government.  The Ethan Allen Engine Co. No. 4 still stands, although the Burlington Fire Department has long since outgrown this small edifice.  The 1942 Sanborn map cites the building as the site of the Police Headquarters(4), and it is currently used for a variety of purposes including an adult education center, and municipal offices.(5)

(4) Insurance Map (1942).

(5) Shannon, 72-73.

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