"Central Slip, Burlington, VT," Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.
This postcard from the early twentieth century shows a view looking northeast from the dock at the foot of College Street. The Follett House would have been seen on College Street just off the right edge of the postcard. J.R. Booth's office building with its hipped-gable roof emerges from the Pioneer Shops on the right of the mid-ground.
"College Street and ECHO Lake Aquarium," taken by Kate Lepore on October 20, 2012.
A photograph of the Burlington waterfront looking east towards College Street. The Follett House is visible at the top of the tree line in the mid-ground. The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center can be seen on the right at the water's edge.
The Follett House is located at the corner of College Street and South Champlain Street, east of the former Lake Champlain Yacht Club House. It is listed as a historic building on the National Register of Historic Places. Its striking Greek revival style architecture and Ionic columns have made this house stand out against Burlington's residential houses for almost two hundred years. The prominence of this house has made it an iconic home of the Burlington waterfront. It has hosted many different owners over the years from businessmen to charitable organizations. Architect Ammi B. Young, worked on the design of the house from 1840 to 1841, for Timothy Follett a prominent figure of Burlington society. (42) Timothy Follett served as a judge, as well as president of the Lake Champlain and Connecticut River Rail Road Corporation, also known as the Rutland Railroad. (43) In 1853, Follett was forced to sell the house due to financial downfall, to Henry R. Campbell. (44) As though to throw salt in the wound of losing such a fine residence, Mr. Campbell was the superintendent of the Central Vermont Railroad, rival to the Rutland Railroad, whose economic losses caused the bankruptcy of Timothy Follett. (45) Mr. Campbell then sold the house to Benjamin Smith Nichols of B.S. Nichols and Co. manufacturers in the Pioneer Shops in 1865. (46)
From 1896 to 1909, the Adams Mission Home was listed as the owner of the Follett House. (47) In anticipation of the Adams Mission Home's new ownership an article was written in the Burlington Weekly Free Press about the formal opening. One reporter describes the Follett House:
The spacious Nichols House, so long a conspicuous feature of lower College Street, affords a real and permanent home to the mission and a work that has heretofore been regarded as more or less of an experiment now takes on the character of an institution. Aside from a sign and an electric light over the entrance the external appearance of the house remains unchanged. (48)
The purpose of the Adams Mission Home was to provide young women seeking employment with a place to stay, eat, and if needed, offer a day nursery for child care during work hours. (49) The Neighborhood House became the next owner of the Follett House from 1910 to 1918. (50) The Neighborhood House was a similar charitable organization to the Adams Mission Home in that they both provided childcare for working women. (51) The only difference between the two organizations is that the Neighborhood House did not offer rooms for living.
Following the Neighborhood House came the Soldiers and Sailors Club which served as a place for soldiers to sleep and eat at low cost. (52) The Soldiers and Sailors Club was short-lived in the Follett House as it only lasted one year there before the Blue Triangle Hospitality House took over. (53) The Blue Triangle House was a charitable organization similar to the Adams Mission Home and Neighborhood House. The organization offered rooms and food to those in need. In 1921, the Young Women's Christian Association joined the Blue Triangle Hospitality House. (54) The Knights of Columbus next occupied the Follett House from 1927 to 1940. (55) The subsequent owners included four different organizations using various parts of the house for their offices. The groups included the Diocesan office, the Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. office, the Parochial School's office, and the Diocesan Cemeteries office, who all occupied the Follett House from 1941-1947. (56)
Succeeding the Catholic offices were the Veterans Foreign Wars Howard Post Auxillary 782 from 1948 to 1977. (57) The house sat vacant for a few years following the Veterans Foreign War Post. (58) Then in the 1980s, the Pomerleau Agency took over the Follett house and in the process, restored it and got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
(42) David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, (Burlington: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), 106-108.
(43) "Obituaries," Vermont Phoenix, (Brattleboro, VT), October 17, 1857.
(44) "Vermont News Items," The Rutland Herald (Rutland, VT), July 21, 1854.
(45) Chester H. Liebs, "United States Department of the Interior National Park Service: National Register of Historic Places Registration Form," Follett House, 63 College, April 5, 1972. http://www.burlingtonvt.gov.
(46) "The Adams Mission Home," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), Dec. 8, 1892, Page 2.
(47) Burlington City Directory, (Burlington, VT: L.P. Waite & Co., 1896, 1909), Pages 55, 321.
(48) "The Adams Mission Home," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), Dec. 8, 1892, Page 2.
(49) "The Adams Mission Home," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), Dec. 8, 1892, Page 2.
(50) Burlington City Directory, (Burlington, VT: L.P. Waite & Co., 1910), Pages 43.
(51) "City News," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), May 18, 1911, Page 5.
(52) "Soldiers' and Sailors' Club is Dedicated," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), June 20, 1918, Page 5.
(53) "Blue Triangle Hospitality House," Burlington Weekly Free Press (Burlington, VT), Oct. 30, 1919, Page 5.
(54) Burlington City Directory, (Massachusetts: H.A. Manning Co., 1921), Page 412.
(55) Burlington City Directory, (Massachusetts: H.A. Manning Co., 1927), Page 351.
(56) Burlington City Directory, (Massachusetts: H.A. Manning Co., 1941), Page 209.
(57) Burlington City Directory, (Massachusetts: H.A. Manning Co., 1948), Page 260.
(58) Burlington City Directory, (Massachusetts: H.A. Manning Co., 1978), Page 428.