Burlington, Vermont
Early 20th-century Postcard Views

HP 206 Researching Historic Structures & Sites • 2012
Historic Preservation ProgramUniversity of Vermont

About the project

Area maps

Previous projects

"Burlington, VT, College St," view east. Published by the Leighton & Valentine Company, New York City. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Vermont.

College Street, Burlington VT, view east. Taken by Samantha Ford on November 11, 2012.

College Street: View East

In the postcard showing the eastern view up College Street many buildings can be seen. One of which is the Howard National Bank building, located on the left side of the postcard. The Howard National Bank was chartered on June 16, 1870. On September 22, 1874, the bank purchased a building on the corner of Church Street and College Street, which was built in 1867 for use as their main branch (1). On April 18, 1902 the Howard Bank opened a new bank building constructed entirely from granite on the same site as the original 1867 building. The new bank cost $40,000.00 to build, and it remains today (2). In 1958 the Howard Bank moved to another location and since then the building has been used for several different businesses. Today, the first floor is a spa while the upper floors are used for office space. The building exterior remains unchanged since 1941, and the inscription above the main entrance is the same as the day it was built: "Howard National Bank 1902."
Across the street from the Howard Bank there are several buildings with brick façades. In the postcard photo, two twin red brick four-story buildings are seen in the center with wide Italianate brackets. These are the location of the Burlington Free Press offices. The building was built around 1833 and the 4th story added in 1905 (3). It is believed that the Italianate façade was added in 1848 when Gardner S. Blodgett owned the building for use as his oven factory and store (4).
The Burlington Free Press moved into this space during the 1920s and is still located there today. The Free Press now inhabits four of the building fronts on this side of the street today, united by a line of Romanesque arches on the first story.
The Classical Revival style building seen to the right of the photo in the recent photo was built in 1891 for the Burlington Trust Company and designed by James W. O'Connor (5). This bank moved from its previous location in dark purple-red sandstone Romanesque revival building next to the Merchants Bank on College Street. Today this building is operated by the Sweetwater's Restaurant, which opened in 1981 (6).
The views of these two photos are significantly different. Church Street was remodeled into a pedestrian-only area and lined with brick. College Street was paved and widened to provide parking that is essential for visitors to utilize the downtown area. Trees and modern street lighting block most of the eastern view up College Street from view. The College Street Congregational Church is still visible up the street in the postcard view as well as the modern one. The unique tri-colored stone of the building makes it stand out as a landmark in the area with its unmistakable 114-foot red slate spire.

1. Charles E. Allen, About Burlington Vermont (Burlington, VT: Hobart J. Shanley & Company, 1905), 123-124.
2. Ibid.
3. David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods Volume II (Burlington, VT: 1990), 32-34.
4. Ibid.
5. Blow, 159-160.
6. Ibid.