University Green Area Heritage Study

Historic Burlington Research Project - HP 206


41-43 South Prospect Street

Nicholson House

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  The structure located at 41 South Prospect Street was built in the Federal style by  Dr. John Perrigo in 1810. [1] Perrigo was a prominent doctor in the region and the Secretary of Chittenden County Medical Society in 1812. [2] The house first appears on a circa 1816 map of Burlington by John Johnson as a single, rectangular block facing the University Green (map on left, courtesy of University of Vermont Special Collections Library). [3] University of Vermont Professor James Dean, AppleMark
who graduated from Dartmouth College class of 1800, is the next known occupant. Professor Dean lived at the residence for a number of years while he taught math, physics and astronomy from 1809-1814. He later returned to the university 1822 for another twelve years, during which he served briefly as interim President of the University. [4] Professor Henry Chaney who taught chemistry and physics at the University of Vermont from 1837 to 1849 also resided at 41 South Prospect Street following Dean. [5]

             In the mid 19th century the house was under the ownership of engineer Faniel C. Linsley. As an engineer for the Central Vermont Railroad company, Linsley is known for his design of an egg-shaped arched railroad tunnel. [6]

            Mrs. Lucy Ann Abbot resided in the home during the 1870s. [7] The estate was then taken over by William H. Hart who was President of Vermont Life Insurance Company. [8] After relocating to Portland, Maine, William H. Hart sold the home in 1893 to Mr. Albert Richardson. [9] Richardson lived on the south end of Williams Street and purchased the home at 41 South Prospect Street for use as an income property. [10] He converted the property into a duplex and gave it the elaborate Victorian detail evident today. Richardson was also responsible for drastically “updating” the facade by adding two window bays, a two-story front porch with elaborate detail, decorative pediments that adorn the window bays, and a rear, gable roof addition to the house as well. These additions transformed 41 South Prospect Street into a two family home with NO NAME:P1020069.jpg the second residence being 43 South Prospect Street. [11]   One of the most interesting details added is the basket-shaped balcony found in the gable of the western elevation, from which you can view Lake Champlain (detail seen on left).

The University of Vermont acquired the property in 1913 and over the years made additional alterations to the building. For example aluminum siding was added to most of the building in 1974, which still covers its wave pattern shingles and scallops today. [12]

            A number of different tenants occupied this two-family home since the University’s acquisition. In 1926 University of Vermont Professor Arthur B. Myrick lived at 43 South Prospect Street. [14] Myrick taught Romance languages and literature during the 1920s. [15]   The 1932 city directories show Assistant Professor Rozelle P. Johnson of the University of Vermont living at 41 South Prospect Street. [16] By 1939, the directories show that the 43 So. Prospect Street annex was occupied by the University of Vermont to be used as an office space as well as continue to provide student housing. [17] In 1961 it became the University of Vermont Christian Center. [18] During the 1970s, 41-43 South Prospect Street was home to the University of Vermont Math Department. [19] In the 1980s it was turned over to the office for the Dean of Students. [20] Today the second floor of the building is still home to the University of Vermont Dean of Students, while the Campus and Student Life office occupies the first floor.

  Text and photos by Lisa Crompton


[1] J. F. Hills University of Vermont Buildings 1800-1847. (Burlington: J. F. Hills papers special collections at University of Vermont Library), 92.

[2] Abbey M. Hemenway, The Vermont Historical Gazetteer vol. 1 (Burlington: Miss. A.M. Hemenway, 1867), 629.

[3] Map of Land in Burlington c.1816. (John Johnson Collection, Special Collection at University of Vermont Library.

[4] Daniels,The University of Vermont: The First Two Hundred Years, 388.

32 Daniels,The University of Vermont: The First Two Hundred Years, 388.

[6] Peter Carlough, Bygone Burlington: A Bicentennial Barrage of Battles, Boats, Buildings and Beings. Q(Burlington: Queen City Printers, Inc., 1976), 26-27.

[7] Carlisle, Look Around Burlington. Historical Society of Vermont (Burlington: Burlington Free Press, 1972), 2-3.

[8] Burlington City Directory: 1886-87 (Burlington: Burlington Free Press Association,1887), 103 and advertisements.

[9] Burlington City Directory : 1893, (Burlington: L.P. Waite and Co.,1893), 145.

[10] Burlington City Directory:1894, (Burlington: L.P Waite and Co., 1893), 216.

[11] Blow, Historic Guide To Burlington Neighborhoods, 169.

[12] Blow, Historic Guide To Burlington Neighborhoods, 169.

[14] Manning’s Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield: H.A. Manning Co.,1926), 398.

[15] Daniels,The University of Vermont: The First Two Hundred Years, 262.

[16] Manning’s Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory: Vol. XLIII. (Springfield: H.A. Manning Co.,1932), 365.

[17] Manning’s Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory: 1939 (Springfield: H.A. Manning Co., 1926.)

[18] Manning’s Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory: 1961 (Springfield: H.A. Manning Co.,1961), 570.

[19] Carlisle, Look Around Burlington. 2.

[20] Burlington City Directory: 1984 (Bellows Falls: H.A. Manning Co.), 471.