Burlington, Vermont
Early 20th-century Postcard Views

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

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View of Lake Champlain from Burlington, postcard, The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Manufacturers, Portland, ME, U.S.A. Printed in Frankfurt o/Main Germany No. 3268, date unknown.

Photo by Jessica Goerold, 2012.

This postcard shows a lovely view of Lake Champlain looking west-south-west from the tower of the Old Mill building on the UVM campus. In the foreground, one can see a tree-filled residential area of Burlington. The roofs of Wheeler House and the Pierce-Spaulding House (both located on South Prospect Street) are visible through the foliage, as well as a few other residential structures.

Wheeler House was built for the Reverend John Wheeler in 1842 by the architect Ammi B. Young, who also designed the Vermont State House and was known for his Greek Revival designs. The house remained in the Wheeler family until 1943, when it was donated to the university. It was turned into an infirmary and functioned as such until 1975, when it became the home of the History and Historic Preservation programs.(1) It is a contributing structure to the University Green Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 1975.(2)

Lake Champlain is the body of water visible beyond Burlington. It is the sixth largest freshwater body of water in the United States, with only the Great Lakes ahead of it.(3) It is 120 miles long, extending from Quebec at its northernmost point down into New York State and Vermont with close to 600 miles of shoreline.(4) Politically, the lake is shared by Vermont, New York, and Quebec, Canada.

At the left of the photo, a thin strip of land juts out into the lake. This is Shelburne Point. It separates Shelburne Bay from the main part of Lake Champlain.(5) In the center of the lake, one can see five islands. The largest is called Juniper Island.(6) It is home to a conical cast iron lighthouse, established in 1826, which is currently not operational (and is not seen in the photo).(7) The other four make up a formation of small islands called The Four Brothers.(8) These biologically important islands are officially located in New York State and are owned and maintained as wildlife habitats jointly by the Lake Champlain Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy.(9)

The Adirondack Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop. The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan was created by the Adirondack Park Agency and the Department of Environmental Conservation to regulate the use of the state-owned land within the park.(10) The Adirondack Park covers about 6 million acres of mixed use, public and private land, approximately 43% of which is owned by the State of New York.(11)

(1) "Wheeler House", University of Vermont Campus Treasures Project, http://www.uvm.edu/campus/wheeler/wheelerhistory.html.
(2) National Register of Historic Places, University Green Historic District, Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont, National Register.
(3) "Natural History," Lake Champlain Committee, accessed October 27, 2012, http://www.lakechamplaincommittee.org/learn/natural-history-lake-champlain/.
(4) Charles W. Johnson, The Nature of Vermont (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1998), 278.
(5) S. R. Stoddard, Map of Lake Champlain. Map. Glens Falls, NY: S. R. Stoddard, 1892. From University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections.
(6) Stoddard.
(7) "Historic Light Station Information & Photography: Vermont," United States Coast Guard Historian's Office, U. S. Department of Homeland Security, www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHVT.asp
(8) Stoddard.
(9) "Properties Conserved by the Lake Champlain Land Trust in New York and Vermont," The Lake Champlain Land Trust, accessed October 27, 2012, http://www.lclt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=25.
(10) "More About the Adirondack Park," The Adirondack Park Agency, http://apa.ny.gov/About_Park/more_park.html.
(11) "The Adirondack Park," The Adirondack Park Agency, accessed October 31, 2012, http://apa.ny.gov/About_Park/index.html.