433 Main Street
The building at 433 Main Street is currently used to house university students. It is available for rent and can house up to nine separate people at a time. The house itself has an interesting history in relation to the development of apartment living in Burlington and the University of Vermont. It also demonstrates some of the development of the professional class that enabled Burlington to prosper.
The house is estimated to have been built in the first decade of the 20th century; the Burlington city directories lists residents as early as 1909.(1) It is a two-and-a-half story, north-facing building. The lower story is brick and the second story is shingled. According to a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map the house is wood framed.(2) The slate roof is hipped and has two large north-facing gable dormers.
An interesting note about the building is that it is an apartment. It was officially divided around 1920; it was during this year that the Burlington city directories list 437 Main Street as its own, separate address in relation to 433 Main Street.(3) Also, around 1977, 435 Main Street was created; a short-lived address used for a small business that eventually grew into the expansive practice of a famed architect.(4) Today the building is treated as two separate residences; 433 and 437 Main Street.
The Burlington city directories demonstrated that for long periods of time spanning from 1929 to 1972, the building was home to three widows.(5) Some even lived in the separate residences, within the same building, simultaneously.(6) The reason this is interesting is because the concentrated years in which widowed women lived in these buildings were contextual times of hardship in the United States; the early 1920s was post WWI, the 1930s was during the Great Depression, and the 1960s into the 1970s was during the Vietnam War. Hence, this residence, and other split residential homes were vital assets to people affected by adversity. In this case,single women were able to find affordable and companioned living and perhaps better manage their lives. Although there is no concrete evidence that demonstrates these women were widowed as a result of any of the aforementioned events. Regardless, apartments such as this, offered a home environment with familial atmosphere but without the pressures of home ownership.
Apartment living was also appealing to impermanent residents of Burlington, such as people with a role in academia. Higher education in itself harbors an atmosphere of movement and change; it is essentially an intermediary place for people on their way somewhere else. One of the very first residents cited in the Burlington city directories that lived at 433 Main Street was a professor at the University of Vermont in 1909.(7) For decades to follow, a wealth of University of Vermont professors, employees, and students lived at the multiple residences in this building. The 1979 Burlington City Directory listed multiple residents at 433 Main Street and an entire family at 437 Main Street.(8) This demonstrates the nature of the building's evolution regarding student and residential housing and also highlights its role in facilitating the relationships between different categories of people that coexisted in Burlington. Additionally, in 1977, the Beaudins, the family that lived at 437 Main Street, created a separate address, 435 Main Street, in order to accommodate their architecture business. Considering all of the aforementioned, it is the multi-unit design of this building that nurtured the cohabitation of a local family business, the family itself, students attending the university and the dynamic relationships that these groups not only had with each other, but also with the wider community.
Others who occupied the residences were also major contributors to the larger Burlington community. Sample professions of some of the residents according to the Burlington city directory listings include: physicians, bankers, business managers and clerks.(9) These occupants also lived in the apartments in this building during overlapping periods of time, which demonstrates the continued theme of coexistence. These professions are and were considered to be prominent. Especially regarding some of the specific eras during which there is a correlation between profession, war, and this building.
There is an identifiable correspondence between the building's residents and U.S military activity. From 1914 to 1916 Captain Leonard Mygatt lived at 433 Main Street, a member of the tenth and nineteenth New England infantries during World War I.(10) During 1944, 435 Main Street was occupied by Clifton R. Waldron, an engineer for the Bell Aircraft Corporation and 437 Main Street was occupied by Allen F. Ernst who was listed as simply"army major."(11) In 1946, John J. Rush, a production manager at Bell Aircraft Corporation also moved into 435 Main Street.(12)
Along with the other professionals that occupied these residences, the presence of military personnel during periods in which the country was at war demonstrates the importance of this building as a space that made contextual accommodations possible. Bell Aircraft Corporation was a notable organization and major contributing factor to World War II efforts here in Burlington, as demonstrated by ads for its large and prominent factory in the Burlington city directories.(13) The building's structural value is in its allowance for transiency and coexistence which harbored the energy and efforts that allowed professionals to contribute to the city of Burlington and that allowed patriotic men to contribute to the nation.
Another important person that lived at this building is the locally based, but nationally recognized architect, Marcel Beaudin. According to Burlington city directories Beaudin and family moved into 437 Main Street in 1974, he began running his business out of 435 Main Street in 1977.(14) Beaudin has been one of the most influential men in the development of architecture and city planning in not only Burlington, but northern New England. He was educated at the Pratt Institute in New York over fifty years ago and continues to innovate and impress.(15) During the six decades of his contributions, he's built a wide array of buildings that demonstrate the historical evolution and architectural history of New England. His work projects an evident love for sailing and Lake Champlain; a unique quality of Beaudin that has influenced his design and role in the community as an architect and a founding member of such initiatives like the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.(16)
An essay about Beaudin celebrates him, "As architect, planner, and community supporter, Marcel Beaudin has helped to 'define the quality of life'", emphasizing Beaudin's abilities as a modernist and a forward thinking innovator.(17) Beaudin's projects concerning churches, residences, commercial buildings, and educational buildings were ground-breaking in the New England setting, and his notoriety began as early as the late 1950s when The Burlington Free Press recognized him.(18) He was also integral in landmark projects such as the Burlington Boathouse.(19)
Burlington is an eclectic city in both its human composition and its structural build; it is this eclecticism that gives it its very character. Without buildings such as the one at 433 Main Street, the community would not have flourished as it has. From widow to famous architect and every interaction in between, the culture of apartments and their role in the community and the University is accurately represented in this building.
Text and image by Christine Prevolos, 2011
(1)L. P. Wait & Co., Burlington City (Vermont) Directory (Burlington: Free Press Printing Company, 1909), 339.
(2)Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map; Burlington 1942 (New York: Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, 1942), 41.
(3)E. P. Woodbury & Co., Burlington City (Vermont) Directory (Burlington: E. P Woodbury & Co., Inc., 1920), 445.
(4)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Bellows Falls, VT: H.A. Manning Company, 1977), 434.
(5)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company), 1929-1972 (directories from 1962-72 were published in Greenfield, MA by the same company).
(6)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company), 1929-1932.
(7)L. P. Wait & Co., Burlington City (Vermont) Directory (Burlington: Free Press Printing Company, 1909), 339.
(8)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Greenfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company, 1974), 629.
(9)L. P. Wait & Co., Burlington City (Vermont) Directory (Newburgh, NY: L.P Wait & Co, 1913), 296.
(10) “The United Service,: Army. Navy”, The New York Times, August 9, 1903. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40911F83C5D11738DDDA00894D0405B838CF1D3 (accessed October 25, 2011).
(11)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company, 1944), 225.
(12)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company, 1946), 235.
(13)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company, 1944), 11.
(14)H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Greenfield, MA: H.A. Manning Company, 1974), 629. / H. A. Manning Company, Manning’s Burlington and Winooski (Vermont) Directory (Bellows Falls, VT: H.A. Manning Company, 1977), 434.
(15)Jessica Dyer, Decades of Design: Marcel Beaudin / curated [and edited] by Jessica Dyer; essay by Bill Lipke; photography by Gary Hall (Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts, 2005), 48.
(18(Dyer, 49.(19)Dyer, 3.