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

"College Street, Burlington VT," view east. Published by the Valentine & Sons Publishing Company, New York and Boston. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Vermont.

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

College Street: View West

This view looks down College Street, towards Lake Champlain in the west. It borders City Hall Park and the buildings across the street from the park are the main focus of the photo. One of these buildings is the Merchants Bank, which was chartered on November 10, 1849. The Merchants Bank was one of the leading banks in Burlington during the 19th century (1). It was first located on Battery Street but moved in 1857 to a building on College Street. The first floor rooms were enlarged in 1868 to provide more office space for the popular bank. In 1895 a $60,000.00 renovation designed by Sydney Greene of Burlington was completed (2). The renovation changed the look and style of the building completely. The second story was completed in granite from nearby Barre, Vermont. The façade is described as the only example of Sullivanesque architecture in the state (3). This building was used as a primary branch until the 1970s when they moved into the Chittenden Trust Company building on Church Street (4).
The other buildings in this view from left to right are; Burlington Savings Bank, T. S. Peck Insurance Company, B. Turk & Brothers Clothing Company, Burlington Trust Company, Merchants Bank, Park Drug Store and the Abraham's Block on Church Street. Today, this streetscape is slightly different from how it looked when the postcard was postmarked in 1912. The Burlington Savings Bank building facing the lake is currently used by Citizens Bank and has changed little since its construction in 1909. The spire at the front entrance can be seen rising over the rooftops just above the Turk's sign. The building block housing T. S. Peck Insurance Company and B. Turk & Brothers Clothing Company is now occupied by a modern building with offices for the Discover Jazz Festival. The original gable roofed front elevation of the Merchants Bank still stands, with an addition that caused the demolition of the Park Drug Store building. The drive-through portion of the building was added in 1960, according to the Burlington city directories. The Abraham's block on Church Street is seen on the right edge of the postcard is now occupied by Leunig's Restaurant.
Today the view of Church Street is much different from how it appears in the 1914 postcard. The entire street has been blocked off for use as pedestrian access only. The street was paved in a laid brick pattern to define the pedestrian areas versus vehicle access. Leunig's has two awnings in almost exactly the same place as those on the old Abraham's Block building, but the rest that appear down the street in the postcard have disappeared.

1. Charles E. Allen, About Burlington Vermont (Burlington, VT: Hobart J. Shanley & Company, 1905), 122-123.
2. Ibid.
3. National Register of Historic Places, Merchants Bank, Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont.
4. David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods Volume II (Burlington, VT: 1990), 37-39.