38-44 Church Street
The Sherwood Hotel
In the front left corner of this postcard Rowe's Hotel is seen, blocked partially from view by an elm tree. Three different buildings have stood on the northwesterly corner of Church Street and Cherry Street throughout Burlington's history. The structure seen in the above postcard appears on the 1830 Young map, meaning it was built sometime prior to that date. In 1844. Rowe's Hotel took out an ad in The Burlington Union newspaper and gave the address of thirty-five Church Street.(1) Likewise, the name "Rowe's Hote"' is written at the site of this structure on the Sanborn insurance maps through the year 1899. In 1900 the name on the map changes to the "Sherwood Hotel."(2) Then, in 1912, the Sherwood Hotel had the two-story wooden structure demolished and built in its place the tallest building on Church Street.
The renovated Sherwood Hotel appears in a postcard mailed in 1913 (above) showing off the new seven-story façade with four-story flanking wings. The building extends over the sidewalk, forming a colonnade along its front while narrow windows rise up to meet a bold cornice that caps the roof of the new brick hotel.
In 1928, JC Penny's department store moved into a storefront space in the Sherwood building. The building seen in today's view (below) was constructed after a fire burned down the hotel around 1940.(3) Following the fire, a new building was constructed for JC Penny on the same site, where the store remained until moving to the University Mall in the 1980s.(4)
The current two-story brick structure incorporates the height of the site's original building with the exterior material of the second. Most recently the Sherwood building has been home to the Community College of Vermont and Borders Bookstore who moved in after extensive renovations in 1993 (5) until being replaced by City Sports, an athletic apparel store, in 2012.(6) Again, the skeleton of the street grid has remained intact while buildings and their decorations continue to change and evolve.
Church St. looking north from Cherry St.
October 23, 2012, 7:45 a.m.