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 Mount Mansfield from Burlington, postcard, post date Sept. 17, 1920. Photo by Jessica Goerold, 2012.
View of Mount Mansfield from Burlington, postcard, post date May 1, 1906. Photo by Jessica Goerold, 2012.

These two postcards feature photographs that were taken from the tower of the Old Mill building on the UVM campus looking west towards Mount Mansfield and the Green Mountains. In the foreground are Converse Hall (built in 1895) and the original Mary Fletcher Hospital buildings. When Converse was built, only a field lay between it and the rest of the university. Over time, it evolved into a landscaped green with walkways (as seen in the postcards above) and eventually became filled in with various buildings. The current photographs taken from the same location feature not only Converse Hall and the expanded Fletcher Allen Health Care Complex, but also the roofs of the Cook Physical Sciences Building in the foreground and the dormitories: Chittenden, Buckham and Wills Halls.

In the background we see Mount Mansfield. It's part of a long ridge of mountains that make up the 37,242 acre Mount Mansfield State Park.(1) This ridge represents the profile of a human face, with a forehead, nose and chin.(2) The chin is the highest point in Vermont at 4,393 feet.(3) The summit is owned and maintained by the University of Vermont environmental studies program, but is open for public use and research purposes.(4) The mountain ridgeline is effectively unchanged from the post card to the present, although the landscape in the foreground has been altered dramatically.

(1) Charles W. Johnson, The Nature of Vermont (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1998), 257.
(2) Johnson, 258.
(3) Elizabeth H. Thompson and Eric R. Sorenson, Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont (Hanover: University Press of New England, 2005), 37.
(4) "Study Sites: Mount Mansfield," Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, http://www.uvm.edu/vmc/about/mtmansfield.php.

Text by Jessica Goerold, 2012