University Green Area Heritage Study

Historic Burlington Research Project - HP 206


UVM Boulder

UVM Boulder

Image 1: UVM Boulder looking east. Photo by Rachel J. Peterson

The UVM Boulder is a nearly perfect sphere of granite and is currently located outside of the Old Mill.  It was found during construction of the Vermont Central Railroad in 1847.(1)  A blasting revealed a pit with two such boulders.  This one was gifted to the University as a ‘curiosity’.(2) It sits on a stone base engraved with the words “The UVM Boulder” on the face and “Erected by the Boulder Society, 1908” on the top encircling the boulder.(3) 

A plaque is also embedded into the ground in front of the boulder.  It reads: “Discovered in 1847, this naturally formed boulder was brought to UVM and came to epitomize the mission of the university…to transform the unversed into the well-rounded.  The UVM Boulder Society, established in 1905, is the oldest senior men’s honor society in the country and strives to uphold the mission of the university.  This plaque is a gift from the UVM Boulder Class of 1992.”(4) This sentiment was echoed by UVM President Matthew Buckham who thought of the boulder as a simile for the formative impact and fine-tuning of university.(5)

The boulder was originally cemented to its base, but it had to be removed several times to clean it from vandalism – often by rival schools painting it their colors.(6)  It is now bolted into place. 

Photo by Rachel J. Peterson


Image 2: UVM Boulder Plaque - at base of boulder. Photo by Rachel J. Peterson

(1)“Art and Architecture at UVM,” University of Vermont,, accessed 5 October, 2011.
(3)Engraving on UVM Boulder. University Place, Burlington, VT.
(4)Plaque at Base of UVM Boulder. University Place, Burlington, VT.
(5)David Blow. Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods. (Burlington, VT: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), 179-80.