University Green Area Heritage Study

Historic Burlington Research Project - HP 206


Howard House

421 Main Street

Across the street from the Nabb-Jacobs House is the cozy Howard House. Located at the southeast corner of Main and Summit Streets, this house is reflects the colonial revival style. It has a symmetrical, three-bay north-facing fa├žade with a central entranceway. The structure is brick-veneered and has a side-gabled slate roof and two end chimneys. The entrance has a porch with the doorway flanked by sidelights and panels, and topped by a wide fanlight.

The house is first shown on the 1912 Sanborn Map.(1) In the previous decades the vacant lot was owned by the Wheeler family. According to local maps, James R. Wheeler owned the property in the 1890s.(2) Mr. Wheeler was one of ten children of John Wheeler. J.R. was a professor of Greek and Latin at Harvard University in 1888-1889 and then taught at the University of Vermont from 1889 to 1895. He then held a position at Columbia University for the next twenty-three years.(3)

 The house was built in 1912 for a local lawyer, Harry S. Howard.(4) According to the local directories, he lived in the house for two years.(5) From 1914 to 1920, a retired worker, Benjamin Lincoln Benedict occupied the house.(6) Then from 1921 to 1925, Shirley Gale resided there. She was a manager of Shepard and Morse Lumber Company whose offices were located at 14 College Street.(7) Afterwards, Harry Howard returned to live there. With over a decade of practicing general insurance and real estate law, Howard had become a prominent lawyer in Burlington. His office was located on Main Street in the Strong Theatre Building. A motto for his practice was “The Strong Agency in the Strong.”(8)

Harry Howard lived at that residence until his death in 1956.(9) A family member of Harry, a Mrs. Harriet Howard, an instructor at the University of Vermont, lived there until 1960.(10) Sue Emma Howard, Harry’s widow, briefly lived there in 1961 and also rented a part of the house out to Thomas Cartwell.(11) Since the early 1960s it has been under private ownership that is rented out for student housing. It is a great example of the historic utilization of land around the Historic Green for residential use.

Howard House, 2011. Photo by Andrew Evick

Text by Andrew Evick


(1) Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map; Burlington 1912 ( New York: Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, 1912).

(2) Map of the City of Burlington Vermont From Official Records, Private plans and Actual Surveys (G.M. Hopkins, C.E.: Philadelphia, PA, 1890).

(3)David Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods. (Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), 118.

(4) Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Map; Burlington 1912 ( New York: Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, 1912).

(5) Burlington city directory. (Springfield, MA: H.A. Manning Co., 1914).

(6) Ibid, 1920.

(7) Ibid, 1925.

(8) Ibid, 1926.

(9) Ibid, 1957.

(10) Ibid, 1960.

(11) Ibid, 1961.