From Cereal to Can Openers: Historic Industries
along Pine Street
By Karyn Norwood
On the stretch of Pine Street between Kilburn and Locust Street from
the 1850s to the early 1970s, there were numerous industries, many of them with much of their original buildings extant and in use today. The lumber industry overtook this area of Pine Street from the mid-nineteenth century to the early 1920s. In the early twentieth century, a range of factories and businesses popped up along this stretch of Pine Street, producing a miscellany of products including cotton cloth, brush fibers, maple syrup, kitchen utensils, and cereal. By the 1970s, many of these once burgeoning factories dwindled for various reasons, and most of these edifices faced vacancy at some point. Starting in late 1970s and early 1980s, though, a shift began toward repurposing, reusing, and revitalizing historic industry buildings along the waterfront. Today, the
Pine Street factories of the past are host to a whole new vibrant assortment of local businesses and artistic enterprises.
1849: The Rutland Railroad's depot is constructed along the waterfront in Burlington; a drawbridge, which later is the entrance to a canal, is also built to ease railroad crossings. 1856: Lawrence Barnes starts the first lumber company on Pine Street in Burlington. 1858: Joel H. and Stephen Gates, brothers, and Cheney Kilburn form a partnership to produce cottage furniture pieces at the Pioneer Shops on Lakeside Avenue in Burlington. 1869: A canal basin is completed between the waterfront and Pine Street in Burlington. 1869: Shepard & Davis Company, a lumber company, which later becomes the Shepard & Morse Company, builds its principle lumber yards to the right and south of the canal basin in Burlington. 1869: Joel and Cheney Kilburn expand their cottage furniture company with a new factory, the Kilburn and Gates Mill, which is built on today's Kilburn Street between Pine and Saint Paul Street in Burlington. 1873: The E.B. & A.C. Whiting Tampico Dressing Company, which dresses brush fibers, begins business on the corner of Cherry and Pine Street in Burlington. 1874: Mathews & Hickok, manufacturers of packing boxes and clothboards, begin operations at the foot of Pine Street in Burlington. 1874: Bronsons, Weston, Dunham & Co., a lumber company, forms; its principle lumber yards are to the south of the canal basin on Pine Street. 1877: In this year, the Kilburn and Gates Mill becomes a print-cloth factory by the name of Joel H. Gates & Company Cotton Weaving Mill. 1878: Skillings, Whitneys & Barnes Lumber Co. forms; its principle lumber yards surround the canal basin in Burlington. 1890: The Welch Brothers Maple Company begins a business of packaging maple sugar and syrup on Church Street. 1891: E.B. and A.C. Whiting Tampico Dressing Company builds an new factory for dressing fibers on the northeast corner of Pine Street and Howard Street in Burlington. 1893: A new drawbridge at the entrance of the canal basin is built. 1894: Mathews & Hickok's planing mill burns down by at least 1894. The company is renamed to Horatio Hickok Co. and a new planing mill is built on the foot of Pine and Howard Street in Burlington. 1896: The Kilburn and Gates Mill becomes the Burlington Cotton Mill, still producing print-cloths. 1896: In this year, Welch Brothers Maple Sugar Company builds a new factory building to package sugar and syrup on the corner of Battery and Cherry Street. 1896: Citizens Coal Company, purveyors of coal, begin selling coal on 164 Bank Street in Burlington. 1897: Skillings, Whitneys & Barnes Lumber Co. bought out by Robinson-Edwards Lumber Company. 1899: William J. Van Patten creates the Malted Cereal Company, which produces malt cereal. 1900: The Malted Cereal Company factory, located at 431 Pine Street, still extant today, is built to house malt cereal production. 1900: By this year, Citizens Coal Company purchased land between the canal basin and Pine Street, where they built a weigh station, coal shed, and wagon shed. 1902: A fire burns the E.B. and A.C. Whiting Tampico Dressing Company to the ground; they rebuild a new factory, still extant today, where the old factory burned on the northeast corner of Pine and Howard Street. The company is renamed the E.B. and A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Co. 1903: Citizens Coal Company moves its main office to 105 Church Street. 1907: The Kilburn and Gates Mill is renamed the Chace Mills and still produce print-cloths. 1908: Burlington Gas Works, a coal gasification plant, begins operations to the southeast of the canal basin; they dump excess coal tar, cyanide, and fuel oils into the basin. 1909: A small glove manufacturing business, Meunier Bros, begins operations on 1 Pine Place in Burlington. 1915: The E.B. and A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Co. greatly expand their factory buildings by this year on the northeast corner of Howard and Pine Street. 1917: Frank L. Austin, local architect, designs a new factory building for the Welch Brothers Maple Company at 7 Marble Avenue in Burlington. 1917: By this year, Meunier Bros, glove manufacturers, are out of business on 1 Pine Place. 1919: A new drawbridge, still extant today, is built at the entrance of the canal basin to replace a smaller 1893 drawbridge. 1927: The Welch Brothers Maple Sugar Company, located on 7 Marble Avenue, is bought out by the Vermont Maple Sugar Company. 1928: Robinson-Edwards Lumber Company out of business by this year; T.A. Haigh Lumber Corp. and W.C. Edwards & Co. begin operations in this location as lumber dealers. 1928: The Chace Mills close on Pine Street and the Edlund Company, producers of can openers, commence production in the Kilburn and Gates Mill. 1928: Penick & Ford, Ltd., a national company, buys out the Vermont Maple Sugar Company and opens up its Vermont Maid Division at 7 Marble Ave, where they begin producing Vermont Maid maple syrup. 1932: Horatio Hickok Lumber Co. is out of business by this year. 1935: The Malted Cereal Company changes its company name and cereal to Maltex. 1936: The Lane Press, Inc., a printing production company, begins operations in the Kilburn and Gates Mill. 1941: The Queen City Tulatex Corporation, a car seat padding manufacturer, founded by Thomas Unsworth, manager of E.B. & A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre co., begins in a new factory building on 453 Pine Street in Burlington. 1948: W.C. Edwards & Co., a lumber retail company, is out of business on Pine Street. 1950: The Maltex Company invests its most well-known and popular hot cereal with maple flavoring: Maypo. 1956: The Queen City Tulatex Corporation, car seat manufacturers on 453 Pine Street, is sold to John A. Moreland, who renames it the Tulatex Corporation in 1958. 1959: The Maltex Company, malt cereal producers, adds a long, steel, L-shaped addition to its factory on Pine Street, still extant today. 1961: The Tulatex Company, manufacturers of furniture, car seat, and mattress fiber padding, is out of business on 453 Pine Street. 1962: E.B. and A.C. Whiting Co. is sold; the company moves out of its factory buildings on the northeast corner of Pine and Howard Street. A new factory, where plastic fibers are produced, is built on the southeast corner of Pine and Howard Street. 1966: Burlington Gas Works closes down. 1968: Penick & Ford, producers of Vermont Maid maple syrup, are bought out by R.J. Reynolds, a national tobacco company, who continue to produce the syrup at the factory on Marble Avenue. 1969: The Maltex Company and its cereal productions on Pine Street are closed down abruptly by the Standard Milling Company, who bought the company only a few years before. 1970: Edlund Company, a kitchen utensil manufacturer, moves its offices and most of its production out of the Kilburn and Gates Mill. 1974: The Tulatex Corporation factory building on 453 Pine Street (today 500 Pine Street) is renovated for the Jackson Terrace Apartments, which remain there today. 1975: By at least this year, the Howard Space Partnership, L.L.C., purchases all the old brush fiber factory buildings on the northeast corner of Pine and Howard Street. They rename the buildings as the Howard Space Center, and begin renting out the spaces to artists and small businesses. 1976: The Pepsi Cola Company purchases the old maple syrup factory on Marble Avenue from R.J. Reynolds and uses it as a storage building. 1978: Citizens Coal Company is renamed to Citizens Oil Company and no longer sells coal, only oil, oil burners, and swimming pool chemicals. 1983: The Howard Space Partnership, L.L.P., takes over the old maple sugar factory on Marble Avenue and renovates it for small businesses. 1983: Rick Davis purchases the Maltex Building with plans to renovate the space extensively for small businesses. 1988: The Lane Press sells the Kilburn and Gates Mill to a developer, who renovates the factory for small businesses. 2006: Dealer.com purchases and extensively renovates the old E.B. and A.C. Whiting Co. plastics division factory on the southeast corner of Pine and Howard Street.
While there is not a single extant building as a visible reminder of the immense lumber industry that in part took place on the section of Pine Street between approximately Kilburn and Locust Street, the history of the industry here is vital for understanding how so many of the extant buildings in the area, and generally, how Burlington as a major city, came into being. Burlington's lumber industry took flight in the late 1850s, with due credit to Lawrence Barnes, a wealthy entrepreneur, who initially embarked upon transforming the Burlington waterfront. Coupled with the construction of the Rutland Railroad in 1849 stretching along the waterfront, Barnes set out to develop the land in this area for lumber. Barnes began a lumber company on the waterfront in 1856, where he received sawn Canadian lumber by boat and shipped it by rail to points across New England. Furthering the growth of his company and inspiring a whole retinue of other lumber yards and planing mills, Barnes realized that by planing the wood before shipment, he could save a great deal of money.1
Another innovation that contributed to the massive growth of the lumber industry in Burlington was also a creation of Barnes. In the late 1860s, Barnes laid out plans to create a canal basin to ease the transportation of lumber, targeting a cove "which has been a mere frog pond in the summer and skating ground in winter" to be "converted into a spacious basin, with an extensive pier, canals, and grounds to be occupied by new mills, spacious lumber yards."2 The basin was completed by 1869, and was square in shape with a long canal stretching to the north from its northeastern corner and a shorter canal stretching to the south from its southwestern corner (Fig. 1, 2). A drawbridge, built in 1849, for railroad crossings, was at the entrance of the canal. 3 By 1885, two long piers in the shape of ells extended out into Lake Champlain, enclosing the passageway into the basin.4
On this particular section of Pine Street, several of the important lumber companies began operating. By the 1870s, the area of land between Pine Street and the waterfront was a stretch of lumber yards and planing mills (see Figure 1). Stacks and stacks of lumber were piled up in this area; reportedly lumber piles were so high, they had to designate passages between them by street names. Most of this area of the waterfront was dominated by Barnes' own lumber company through the 1890s. It was incorporated in 1878 as the Skillings, Whitneys & Barnes Company. By 1896 the partnership operated across several New England states and had a total capital of $1 million dollars.5 Another large business company emerged in the late 1860s: this was the Shepard & Davis Company, who built their principle yards to the right and south of the canal basin in 1869.6 By 1878, the company reorganized to become Shepard & Morse, with yards and planing mills to the north and a good portion of their yards to encasing the canal basin by 1885.7 Across from Howard Street, in 1874, the Mathews & Hickok Company had a planing mill, where they manufactured boxes and clothboard out of wood.8 By the 1880s, there were four major lumber companies in the area between Kilburn and Pine, going from north to south along the canal basin: Skillings, Whitney & Barnes, Shepard & Morse, Mathews & Hickok Co., and the Bronson, Weston, and Dunham Company (Fig. 2).9
The 1890s saw the emergence of the decline of the lumber industry in the area. This was due mostly to an increased tax on Canadian lumber, which burdened companies to such an extent that profits dwindled.10 By 1900, the lumber industry was still producing prodigious amounts of lumber, however; in this particular area there was six to eight million feet of lumber stacked.11 Barnes's company of Skillings, Whitneys & Barnes was eventually bought out by the Robinson-Edwards company in 1897; Daniel Robinson, who was the manager of Skillings, Whitney & Barnes's lumber front in Burlington, was the president.12 To the south of the basin, in the 1890s the Horatio Hickok Company, functioning as a planing mill and lumber yard, emerged out of the ruins of the Mathews & Hickok Company, which burned down before 1894. Both the Robinson-Edwards and Horatio Hickok lumber yards lasted until the 1920s, before eventually closing down their operations for good.13
The lumber barons of Burlington were immensely successful and wealthy from the lumber business for decades; however, it is vital to point out that, as with some many highly profitable industries in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it came at a cost for others. For instance, child labor was all too common, and the lumber industry in Burlington certainly hired young children to work at the yards. Below, a photograph taken by Lewis Hines in September of 1910 at the Horatio Hickok Company shows several young boys, one of them certainly under the age of ten, lifting planed lumber at the mill on Pine Street (Fig. 3).
T.A. Haigh's lumber company, by 1928, had emerged the land where the Robinson-Edwards Company's planing mill and yards were located.14 This company was a retail dealer in lumber and building materials. By the late 1940s, it was the only lumber-related business remaining in the area.15 Here they continued their retail business until 1980 when a fire struck and burned down most of the company's buildings, including the last historic planing mill of the Robinson-Edwards Company. Haigh rebuilt in 1985, only to face yet another fire in 1987 that destroyed a lumber shed, which may have very well been the last remaining structure from the days of the Robinson-Edwards Lumber Company.16 A year later the entire complex was mostly demolished due to unsafe conditions. The company appears to stopped operations at this location after this point. Curtis Lumber moved into a new building with new lumber sheds in the 1990s; they remain there today.17
The canal basin, known today as the Pine Street Barge Canal, is a toxic waste dump where various cleanups have been proposed since the early 1980s. Up to the 1970s, it was still used as a boat basin.18 In 1908, the Burlington Gas Works, a coal gasification plant that turned coal into gas was built to the southeast of the canal, where they dumped excess coal tar, cyanide, and fuel oils until they closed in 1966. Most recently, in the early 1990s the EPA evaluated the site and offered a $50 million plan to create a thirteen acre, twenty-five foot high landfill that would contain the contamination.19 While that plan never materialized, mostly due to high costs and concerns for further damaging the wetlands, the EPA did take steps to insure the toxic area would be contained. Interestingly, in an archaeological survey that was conducted for the superfund project five sunken canal boats that carried shipments in and out of Burlington were discovered in the basin-where they still remain today. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has a collection of numerous artifacts from the boats.20 A drawbridge at the entrance of the canal was built by the Strauss Bascule Bridge company of Chicago in 1919 as a replacement of a 1893 replacement of the original one, which still stands today alongside the bikepath.21 Today, only the canal basin and its drawbridge serve as a visible reminder of Burlington's once most prominent industry.
Notes (Canal Basin & Lumber Yards)
1. Burlington City Directory (Burlington: L.P. Waite & Co., 1896), 1896, 55, 110; Ibid., 1903, 45. Arthur Hull, Coal Men of America: A Biographical and Historical Review of the World's Greatest Industry (Chicago: The Retail Coalman), 232. 2. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29. 3.Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34. 4. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29; Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Buildings Survey (Montpelier, VT: Department of Historic Preservation, 1977); accessed at http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Content.aspx?id=2565; City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 5. Insurance Maps of Burlington (New York: Sanborn Map Co., Oct. 1912), Sheet 29; Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Structures Survey. 6. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29. 7. Ibid. 8. Burlington City Directory, 1913, 76. 9. Ibid., 1903, 45. 10. "Church Street," Burlington Weekly Free Press, December 9, 1915, 13; "Clean Coal," Sourcewatch, accessed October 25, 2013, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Clean_Coal#Early_20th_century:_.22clean_coal.22_meant_.22smokeless_coal.22. 11. Industrial Advertising Company of America, Illustrated Burlington (Kinderhook, NY: Industrial Advertising Company of America, 1906), 12. 12. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36; Jane Williamson, "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form," last updated on August, 23, 2010; accessed at http://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accd/files/Documents/strongcommunities/historic/nr_nominations/Burlington_Pine_Street_HD/Pine%20Street%20HD_final.pdf. 13. Burlington City Directory, 1907, 45. 14. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36. 15. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1928), 430; Ibid., 1946, 65. 16. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36. 17. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1948, 65; Ibid., 1951, 338. 18. Historic Sites and Structures Survey. 19. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1978, 235. 20. Ibid., 423; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942-1960), Sheet 36. 21. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 22. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1983, 159, 460. 23. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 24."Ribbecke Glass," Ribecke Studios, http://www.ribbeckeglass.com.
The Kilburn and Gates Mill, a landmark factory building, located presently on Kilburn Street, was constructed in the year of 1869 to house a cottage furniture company, the Kilburn and Gates Cottage Furniture Manufactory, formed through the partnership of Joel H. Gates and Cheney Kilburn. Established in 1858, Kilburn and Gates already had a successful furniture enterprise out of Philadelphia, where Kilburn resided and managed. Gates acted as the manager over the Burlington endeavor.1 Both came to the business with experience in the furniture industry; Joel and his brother had a furniture company in Brattleboro and then in Burlington. The company had been situated previously in the Pioneer Shops on Lake Street, where a hundred employees shaped unpainted furniture that was then shipped to the Philadelphia factory for finishing; however, Kilburn and Gates were looking to enlarge their business in Burlington, and the building completed by December of 1869 certainly did that. The architect of the mill was Burlington resident E.C. Ryer, and Mr. Townshed and Mr. Hill were the builders.2
With the purchase of eight acres on the waterfront in a lumber industry-dominate location, Kilburn and Gates set about constructing a building that would stretch the distance between Shelburne Road, which later became St. Paul Street, and Pine Street. A large brick steam engine room with a 115-foot brick chimney, still extant today, was built at the rear on St. Paul Street. The first floor of this room had an engine and boilers of 100 horsepower, and the second floor had a machine shop where machines were repaired and a dry shop where the lumber was dried before using.3 The 360-by-50 foot two-story wooden mill attached to the engine room. The lower story was designated for heavier machinery where sawing and planing of the lumber was done; and the second story was where much of the lathework was done, including the mouldings, grooving, and smoothing of the pieces. The factory completed the initial work of preparing and shaping basswood pieces for cottage furniture, which would thereafter be shipped to the Philadelphia factory where the final touches, such as painting, were completed.4 Across from the southern elevation near Pine Street, they built a three-story brick warehouse for furniture-connected by a sloped device to move furniture from the mill to the warehouse (Fig. 2). A small office building was constructed near the western end of the building between the mill and the warehouse. Farther south, they built a long lumber shed and stable. To the north, on Shelburne, the company built several dwellings for mill workers. To the west, across Pine Street, Kilburn and Gates had a lumber yard and 300 feet of wharf access.5 Coupled with the proximity of the railroad, the factory had an ideal location for shipping cottage furniture, such as both by rail and by boat.
The early success of the furniture company however proved unsustainable, and by least 1877, Kilburn & Gates Cottage Furniture was no more.6 Joel Gates turned to the cotton industry, and the mill became a print-cloth factory by the name of Joel H. Gates & Company Cotton Weaving Mill. The mill on Kilburn therefore became a location for the weaving and finishing of print cloths, which was spun at the Chace Mills on the Winooski River in Burlington.7 Weaving was done on both the first and second floors of the mill.8 Workers were highly skilled, many of them capable of operating six to ten looms at once. Mill life was difficult, though, as one might expect, with many of the workers going ten hours a day for fifteen cents; at least in one instance there was a strike of mill workers who requested a meager three cent raise, which Gates & Co. deemed impossible due to cotton prices.9 By 1888, a stock company had been organized to keep the factory going, and Joel Gates was elected as the president. Still going reportedly strong, the company had over 300 people employed at the mill producing an estimated 30,000 yards of print fabric, with many of them living in dwellings near the mill.10 In 1896, the name of the mill changed to the Burlington Cotton Mill, with Gates still presiding, unsurprisingly, as the president.11 By 1906, however, Gates sold his rights to the company to the Chace Mills and went on to the Howard National Bank in Burlington, where he held the office of president until he died in 1909.12 In the year of 1907, the Burlington Cotton Mill's name changed to Chace Mills, No. 3, Cotton Mill; however, the mill's industry of weaving cotton continued. Cloth storage was on the first floor, and weaving on the second floor of the mill initially; by the early 1910s, storage of cloth was in the basement, and weaving was on both the first and second floors.13 In 1928, the Chace Mills closed down its operations at the mill, and the Edlund Company moved in.14
"Probably no single industry has so aided housewives as the preparation and packing of foods in sanitary cans," said Walter Edlund of the Edlund Company in an article for the Burlington Magazine in 1931.15 Edlund Co. was a can opener manufacturing company that was founded by Henry J., Oscar O., and Water W. Edlund.16 With the invention of canned foods came the need for can openers, and Henry J. Edlund was granted a patent in 1925 for a new can opener designed originally for hotels and restaurants. At first located on Pearl Street with only a few employees, they expanded to a building on Battery and Pearl and eventually shifted again to the Kilburn and Gates Mill, where they occupied a third of the building, with the remainder vacant. In 1928, Edlund advertised themselves as: "Manufacturers of Can Openers: for households, hotels, restaurants, institutions, etc."17 By 1931, they had seventy-five employees and offered five sizes of can openers, ranging in price from $10 to 75 cents for both domestic and business entities.18 In the 1940s, the Edlund Company expanded their business to the manufacturing of a variety of "modern" kitchen utensils, including: can openers, jar openers, egg beaters, bottle openers, knife sharpeners (Fig. 3, 4). 19
By 1936, Edlund Co. shared the mill space with the Lane Press, Inc.20 The Lane Press, which did printing jobs for the area, originated in Burlington on Main Street in 1913. In 1936 the company moved into the mill; the president and treasurer of the company at the time was Benjamin Lane, and his wife, Ruth was the secretary.21 In 1938, a third entity migrated into the mill: the US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service.22 According to the Sanborn Map of 1942, Edlund Co. occupied half of the building, nearest to Pine Street, while the Agriculture Soil Conservation Service assumed the length of the mill nearest to St. Paul Street, with some small portion designated to the Lane Press.23
By 1949, the US Department of Soil had moved out, and the Lane Printing Press expanded and took over its space.24 In 1952, the Queen City Printers, specializing in letterpress printing, moved into the building, only to move out a few years later.25 By 1960, Edlund Co. had moved their office out of the factory to Home Ave, and by at least 1970, they had moved their office and most of their production to their present-day location on 159 Industrial Parkway.26 According to the Sanborn Map of 1978, though, they may have been still producing utensils at the factory.27 Certainly, though, before the early 1980s, Edlund had moved its production out entirely and the Lane Press remained the only business in the building until the mid-1980s. The Lane Press made several additions while in ownership of the building - by 1978 the first of a few metal ells were added to the building's southern elevation in the form of a long rectangular construction, starting at a third of the way from the western elevation.28
The Lane Press sold the building for a price of $1.8 million to John Graham Goldsmith in 1988, who commenced plans immediately to renovate the building for offices and retail businesses. The renovations consisted of partitioning interior spaces, replacing the white shingled exterior with red clapboard and painting the flying buttresses on the northern elevation that the Lane Press had added to support the building.29 Goldsmith envisioned the building to be a center for small businesses and revitalization, and the mill today is very much the space that Goldsmith intended it to be.30 The building today retains much of the original features, including the chimney, the boiler room, and the wood-framed principle mill building (Fig. 1 and Fig. 5). Today's mill houses a plethora of businesses, including the U.S. Postal Service in the southern most addition to the building, a creative group by the name of Stride where the boiler room was, and in the main section of the mill: Cafeli's deli, artists, Spike Advertising, a law firm, and a doctor's office.
Notes (Kilburn and Gates)
1."The Pioneer Shops," Burlington Weekly Free Press, April 9, 1869, 1; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 2. "Kilburn and Gates' Furniture Factory," Burlington Weekly Free Press, December 8, 1871, 3; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Burlington City Directory and Business Advertiser (Burlington: Free Press Association, 1877-78), 1877-78, 51. 7."Obituary: Joel H. Gates," Burlington Weekly Free Press, September 9, 1909, 5; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 8. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map and Publishing Co., 1889), Sheet 19. 9. "Strike at the Cotton Mill," Burlington Weekly Free Press, March 5, 1886, 5; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 10. Burlington Board of Trade, Burlington Vermont as a manufacturing, business, and commercial center (Glen Falls, NY: Chas. H. Possons, 1889), 44. 11. Burlington City Directory (Burlington: L.P. Waite & Co., 1896), 1896, 55. 12. "Obituary: Joel H. Gates," Burlington Weekly Free Press, September 2, 1909, 5; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 13. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., Oct. 1912), Sheet 25. 14. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1928), 400. 15. W.W. Edlund, "Cans Open Easier," Burlington Community Service Magazine, Vol. 1, 1931-1932 (Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Chamber of Commerce), August 1931, 6. 16. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1927, 115. 17. Ibid., 1928, 556. 18. Edlund, "Cans Open Easier," August 1931, 6. 19. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1940, 251, 411. 20. Ibid., 1936, 202. 21. Ibid., 1936, 109. 22. Ibid., 1938, 205. 23. Insurance Maps of Burlington (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 10. 24. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 271; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942-1960), Sheet 10. 25. Ibid., 1956, 357, 184. 26. Ibid., 1960, 351; Ibid., 1970, 359; Edlund Co, accessed October 24, 2013, http://www.edlundco.com. 27. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1960, 351; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1978), Sheet 10. 28. Ibid. 29. Rosalyn Graham, "Pine Street Landmark gets new life," Vermont Business, March 1988, 64. 30. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 7-45 Pine St," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/.
This building was one of the first dwellings on Pine Street between Kilburn and Locust Street. It was constructed around 1900 as a residence on the corner of today's Pine Place and Pine Street. Built of wood, this three-story Queen Anne style house with a gambrel roof has been an apartment building for much of its existence. It was originally built by Augustin Meunier, a city employee, where he and his wife and some of his children lived.1 As early as 1903, Augustin operated a small grocery store, likely on the first floor, and used the upper floors as living space.2 Augustin died in 1908, and by 1909, Arthur, Fred, Louis, and Emanuel, the sons of Augustin, opened a glove manufacturing business by the name of Meunier Brothers, which operated out of the building. Josephine Meunier, the widow of Augustin, continued to reside there with them.3 This likely remained a small enterprise on the first floor, with the second and third floors being designated for living. A storage shed located behind the building, no longer there today, could possibly have been used for storing manufactured goods or supplies while the business was operating.4
There is no evidence remaining of the company's manufacturing specifics, and by the 1915 city directory, it appears the small family business was a failing enterprise, as several of the principle founders were listed as having additional jobs--Arthur had become a clerk, and Emanuel an employee of the post office.5 By at least 1917, the glove factory was no more.6 According to the city directories, various members of the Meunier family occupied the building into the late 1930's.7 From the 1940s to the present, the building has remained an apartment building.
Notes (1 Pine Place)
1. Burlington City Directory (Burlington: L.P. Waite & Co., 1901), 1901, 174. 2. Ibid., 1905, 329; Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Buildings Survey (Montpelier, VT: Department of Historic Preservation, 1977); accessed at http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Content.aspx?id=2565. 3. Ibid.; Burlington City Directory, 1911, 225. 4. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., Oct. 1912), Sheet 25; Ibid., 1919, Sheet 19. 5. Burlington City Directory, 1915, 185. 6. Burlington City Directory, 1917, 203. 7. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co.), 1917-1940.
Three buildings at the address of 377 Pine Street still remain from the turn of the twentieth century-all constructed by the Citizens Coal Company, purveyors of coal to the surrounding community. At this point, coal was the premier source of energy, and thus, was a lucrative and necessary industry. One of the first and one of the very last remaining in Burlington, Citizens Coal Company began its life on 164 Bank Street around 1896, with B.S. Jones as the president and Ernest Brodie as both the manager and the treasurer.1 Brodie, born in Montreal in 1865, was the long-time manager, treasurer, and eventually president of the company, until the mid-1940s.2
By the time of their initiation as a company, Citizens Coal Company purchased the land upon which the buildings stand today. The company's land was situated to the south of two other coal company's coal yards: Gay & Hendersons and E.S. Adsit, and had direct railroad and canal access, which eased the transportation of coal (Fig. 3).3 Between 1896 and 1900, the wooden, seven-by-two bay building with a raised false front standing today was constructed as weigh station.4 Originally, the weigh station had an office on the northern elevation, and first floor opening on the southern elevation, through which wagons could be weighed before delivering coal in the community.5 To the south, a wooden one-story wagon shed, still extant, was constructed -originally, there were seven bays for wagons (see Fig. 4).6 As well, at this time, a large coal shed, no longer standing, was constructed between the canal and the weigh station; a rail track ran the length of the shed, so coal could be deposited quickly. The coal shed was also positioned closely to the canal basin, so coal could be unloaded by boat to the shed for delivery.7 By 1901, employees of the Citizens Coal Company began to reside in a second story apartment above the weigh station and office, likely serving as both the weigh station attendant and also a monitor of the property.8
Citizens Coal had a downtown office on 105 Church Street by 1903, where townspeople could order and purchase coal for their households (Fig. 2).9 Early on, Citizens Coal advertised as a clean coal company; this is not, however, what we today think of as clean coal-it merely meant that the coal, made of anthracite and bituminous, was smokeless, and thus viewed as better for home heating and cooking.10 Likely, orders were sent down to the coal yard, where wagons were filled with coal from the coal shed and then weighed at the weigh station and sent out to homes around Burlington.
In 1906, Citizens Coal Company had recently completed a coal pocket capable of holding 5,000 tons of coal in their yard; they also had twelve men employed and five wagons, who were reportedly "kept busy making deliveries."11 Additionally, between 1906 and 1910, a two-story horse stable and barn with a gabled roof, still standing today, was likely constructed; interestingly, though, it does not appear on the Burlington Sanborn Maps until 1942 (Fig. 5).12 By 1907, the company boasted a capital of $30,000 and was an established coal provider in the area.13
For the next thirty years, Citizens Coal Company continued on an apparently solid business; they never enlarged their buildings greatly beyond their initial developments, but they did outlast all the other coal providers in the area on Pine Street by the 1940s.14 In 1928, Leo Charbonneau, beginning what would be a life-long position at Citizens Coal Company, and his wife Emma started living in the apartment above the weigh station. He commenced his job as the weigh-master, and by 1946, was the superintendent of the yard.15 As a sign of the changing times, in the 1940s, the company expanded its repertoire to include fuel oil and coke. The wagon shed was used for trucks and also to store coal, and the barn was used a storage shed.16
Change finally came to the company in the mid-twentieth century. In the mid-1940s Brodie retired, and George Jarrett took the company over. He renamed the business as the Citizens Coal and Oil Company in 1951, and the company began selling oil burners as well as coal and fuel oil.17 Around the mid-1950s the weigh station was boarded up and made into an office space.18 Leo retired in the early 1970s from his post as superintendent, and lived in the second story apartment until his death in 1975.19 By 1978, the company's name changed yet again to Citizens Oil Company, and, the company that started out as a coal company eighty years before no longer sold coal.20 Instead, they sold primarily oil, oil burners, and swimming pool chemicals. The coal shed was replaced with metal-domed shed that stands there today.21 By the mid-1980s, there were two companies at 377 Pine; Citizens Distributors was selling swimming pools, and Citizens Oil Company was still selling oil, and, swimming supplies.22 These two organizations continued to exist until the mid-1990s, when permits for renovations for new developments were issued.23
Today, the property is still owned by the Jarrett family under the name of Citizens Oil Co. Properties, L.L.C., and is used as a rental property for various small businesses. The Barge Canal Antiques and Myers Bagel are located the 1978 warehouse and the wagon shed and barn are used for tenant storage. The weigh station is home to Lawrence Ribbecke Studios Architectural Stained Glass, which has been renting the space since the late 1990s and the second story is still used as an apartment.24
Notes (Citizens Coal Company)
1. Burlington City Directory (Burlington: L.P. Waite & Co., 1896), 1896, 55, 110; Ibid., 1903, 45. Arthur Hull, Coal Men of America: A Biographical and Historical Review of the World's Greatest Industry (Chicago: The Retail Coalman), 232. 2. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29. 3.Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34. 4. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29; Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Buildings Survey (Montpelier, VT: Department of Historic Preservation, 1977); accessed at http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Content.aspx?id=2565; City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 5. Insurance Maps of Burlington (New York: Sanborn Map Co., Oct. 1912), Sheet 29; Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Historic Sites and Structures Survey. 6. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Jan. 1900), Sheet 29. 7. Ibid. 8. Burlington City Directory, 1913, 76. 9. Ibid., 1903, 45. 10. "Church Street," Burlington Weekly Free Press, December 9, 1915, 13; "Clean Coal," Sourcewatch, accessed October 25, 2013, http://www.sourcewatch.org/ 11. Industrial Advertising Company of America, Illustrated Burlington (Kinderhook, NY: Industrial Advertising Company of America, 1906), 12. 12. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36; Jane Williamson, "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form," last updated on August, 23, 2010; accessed at http://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accd/files/Documents/ strongcommunities/historic/nr_nominations/ Burlington_Pine_Street_HD/ Pine%20Street%20HD_final.pdf. 13. Burlington City Directory, 1907, 45. 14. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36. 15. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1928), 430; Ibid., 1946, 65. 16. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 36. 17. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1948, 65; Ibid., 1951, 338. 18. Historic Sites and Structures Survey. 19. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1978, 235. 20. Ibid., 423; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942-1960), Sheet 36. 21. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 22. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1983, 159, 460. 23. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 377 Pine Street," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/. 24."Ribbecke Glass," Ribecke Studios, http://www.ribbeckeglass.com.
The Welch Brothers Maple Company: 400 Pine Street (7 Marble Avenue)
Frank L. Austin, of Burlington, was the architect of this unique brick factory located on 7 Marble Avenue, today 400 Pine
Street, in 1917 for the Welch Brothers Maple Company. Brothers Llewellyn and Charles Welch and Harry Miller, first came to
Vermont in the year of 1890 to start a business in the packaging of maple sugar and syrup; they were one of a few early
businesses that aimed to industrialize one of Vermont's premier and beloved delicacies: the syrup and sugar made from the sap of
maple trees.1 Initially, they established a business and factory on Church Street, and placed ads in newspapers across Vermont
requesting large quantities upwards of 10,000 gallons of maple syrup from farmers.2
In the early 1890s, they built a factory on
the corner of Battery and Cherry Street, where they maintained a lucrative and growing business with a capital of $25,000 by
1896, in preparing maple syrup for distribution locally and beyond.3 By the early 1900s, business was booming, and capital for
the company had doubled to $50,000.4 After the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, Welch Bros. began
experimenting with diluting maple syrup with sugar-producing products such as the "Mayflower" breakfast maple and sugar
syrup, and the famous "Vermont Maid" cane sugar and maple syrup blend.5 With the increased liberties from the act, however,
there were also tighter testing regulations, and interestingly, there are numerous reports of the syrups not passing tests for having
the amount of maple syrup they claimed to have bottled.6
The new syrups were so successful that by the late 1910s, Welch Bros. was ready to expand past its factory on Battery Street,
and met with Frank Austin in the summer of 1917 to discuss plans.7 The project commenced immediately to build a three-
story brick factory with a boiler house and storehouses attached to it. The factory, specifically constructed for the packing and
shipping of maple syrup and sugar, had a unique special sliding platform built on a southern ell of the building where railroad
tracks ran to expedite shipping (Fig. 3).8
The main block of the building, which was distinctly characterized by a stepped
parapet wall on the northern elevation, had an office and storage and packing on the southern elevation; the secondary ells of the
building were also designated for storage and distribution.9 In the 1920s, twenty people were employed by the company-here,
they received sap in fifty-five gallon barrels from around the state, which would then be boiled down to syrup or sugar. Finally, it
was later made into cakes of maple sugar or bottled in syrup containers and packed for shipping across the country.10 By
1926, Welch Bros. added an additional brick storage ell to the southeastern elevation of the building and a small wooden room
with windows on the third floor still extant today.11 The Welch Brothers' office and factory remained at 7 Marble Ave until
1927, when the newly-formed Vermont Maple Sugar Company assumed ownership of the building.12 They were only in the
building for two years when Penick & Ford, Ltd. bought the building in 1928.13
Penick & Ford was a large company that originated in Louisiana in 1919 to sell syrup and molasses, and they established their
Vermont Maid Division at 7 Marble Ave in 1928.14 Here, the manufacturing of Vermont Maid Syrup commenced with vigor.
15 The factory was rearranged to now both manufacture and bottle the syrup: the primary block of the building was for canning
and bottling, and two additional ells were added to the southern elevation as finished product warehouses between 1940 and
1960.16 Louis McAllister, a local photographer, photographed the interior of the factory at the height of its operations in the
1940s, offering a rare glimpse of the equipment and the production line of the syrups. The factory and its machinery were
powered by a strong Cooper Bessemer engine located in the boiler room of the building. In McAllister's photos, the process of
how the syrup was labeled, bottled, boxed, and ultimately shipped from the factory is viewable (Fig. 3, 4). The company used a
combination of conveyor belts and bottling and labeling machines, and employees boxed goods and monitored the machinery.
Production was high at the company, and the Rutland Railroad Company in 1955 estimated they were shipping out 1,000
carloads of syrup a year.17 Reportedly by 1931, Penick & Ford was the third largest producer of corn products in the
country.18 Harry Miller, one of the original founders, was the manager of the factory until 1950.19 Penick & Ford's Division
of Vermont Maid operated here smoothly until 1968.
Penick & Ford in its entirety was bought out by R.J. Reynolds, a national tobacco company that wanted to expand into the food
industry, and in 1968 the company's name changed to R.J. Reynolds, Inc. It appears that they continued to produce Vermont
Maid syrup at this factory until 1976, when Pepsi Cola took over the building and used it for storage purposes.21 On a sidenote, Reynolds was bought out by Nabisco, who later sold their rights to Vermont Maid to B&G. B&G still produce Vermont
Maid today, which is now primarily made of corn syrup.22
By the early 1980s, the Howard Space Partnership, L.L.P. owned the building. The partnership aimed to revitalize the old
factory into a rentable space for small businesses. A laundry mat was in the main building for some years until 2003 when the
Great Harvest Bread Company moved in.23 In 1996, the Burlington Furniture Store moved into the southern ells; interestingly,
they still use the side of the building where the trains used to stop by for syrup for trucks to deliver furniture. Today, Battery
Street Jeans, a thrift store, is in the first floor of the main building, with its entrance on Marble Ave. The old maple factory's
façade remains unchanged since its construction.
Notes (Maple Company)
1. The Cary Maple Sugar Company out of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was another company that prepared syrup for shipping. See "Maple Sugar Makers," in the Middlebury Register, from March 22, 1918, on page 5. David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, (Burlington, VT: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), Vol. 1, 91.
2. "Wanted: Maple Syrup," Middlebury Register, August 15, 1890, 1; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.
5. Historic New England, "Advertisement for Mayflower Syrup a maple and sugar syrup, produced by Welch Brothers Maple Company, Burlington, Vermont, 1922," accessed at http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/collection-
object/capobject?refd=EP001.12.TMP.014; Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Vol. 1, 91.
6. Office of the Dairy and Food Commissioner, Annual Report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of the State of Michigan (1909), accessed
October 10, 2013, http://books.google.com/books?id=UoQ5AQAAMAAJ.
7. "Contract for Factory," Burlington Weekly Free Press, August 23, 1917, 5; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.
8. Ibid.; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., May 1919), Sheet 19.
10. Burlington, Vermont: a brief sketch of its history, educational facilities and industrial life / by the pupils of the second year English classes, Burlington Junior High School, 1920-1921 (Burlington, Vermont: 1921), 56.
11. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., April 1926), Sheet 24.
E.B. & A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Factory: 400/444 Pine Street
Walk down Pine Street today and undoubtedly one will observe the massive, oddly-shaped main factory building constructed for the E.B. and A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Company in 1902, of which the exterior remains largely unchanged since its initial construction. The company's roots started in the year of 1871 with the inception of the Burlington Brush Company, founded by George Willett. The industry was new to the area and involved the making of brushes. The business piqued the initial interest of Enoch Bangs Whiting, a resident of St. Albans previously employed in the newspaper and book industry; he decided to invest in the company in the year of 1872.1 The company failed shortly thereafter, and Enoch, rather than see total loss of his four thousand dollars, opted to continue the company's efforts in the brush industry. Enoch enlisted the help of his son Alfred, and turned to the development of new machinery that would better advance the dressing of brush fibers. They established the E.B. & A.C. Whiting Tampico Dressing Company in 1873. Originally, they housed their operations in the old brush fiber company's factory on the corner of Cherry and Pine.2 Tampico bristles were from a thick fibrous plant imported from Mexico; traditionally, they had been hand-painted or "dressed" with vegetable or mineral colors.3 Enoch and Alfred set out revolutionize the process with new machinery. After thousands of wearying experiments, Enoch had several patents for brush-dressing machinery by the late 1870s, some of which finally had great success overseas as well as in the United States, and the company henceforth began to grow, both financially and physically.4
The business was the first in the country of its kind: before, brush makers had dressed their own fibers in a laborious hand-made approach, but Enoch's innovative machinery expedited and eased the process. Convinced, brush makers beginning sending their brush fibers to be dressed at the factory.5 In the year of 1891, the company decided to enlarge and built a new factory at the northeast corner of Pine Street and Howard Street.6 Enoch died in 1898 and Alfred assumed full-control of the company.7 In reportedly the "first fire of consequence in 1902," fire struck the growing company hard one chilly January evening, destroying everything in a "spectacular display." Damages were estimated at $40,000.8 In that same year, a new factory was constructed quickly where the old one had once stood. The company was renamed to the E.B. & A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Co., and its new home by late 1902 consisted of a wood-frame building with iron sheathing.9 The building had a machine room in the main block, with an attached storage and dry room to the east and a dye house and sheds to the north. Topping the building was an off-center square office block that still remains today. A square storage shed for fibers, still standing, was built to the east of the main block.10
By the mid-1910s the company had greatly enlarged its facilities (Fig. 3). The main building now was principally designated to cutting and combing of fibers to the west, and packing and shipping to the east. A brick combing and dye house was attached to the main building-the distinctive pass between shipping and combing is still there today. A rectangular brick storage house with four rooms was built to the north of the main factory. To the east, a long brick storage house was constructed to house different kinds of fibers. A brick combing house was built to the northeast of the main building. As with other Pine Street industries, the proximity to the railroad was utilized for deliveries and shipments. A rail spur coming from the north stopped at the eastern side of the main building.11
The company was now importing and brush fibers and dressing them; fibers included tampico, rice root, patent fiber, palymetto fiber, palmyra fiber, and cocoa fiber. Whiting Co. would sell and send the dressed fibers to companies that were producing brooms and paint and scrub brush handles.12 All of these developments enhanced production, and by the early 1920s the company reportedly had forty employees and over a thousand brush fiber formulas.13 At the height of a burgeoning business, Alfred sold his interest in the company and retired to Florida. Thus began the era of Thomas Unsworth as president, manager, and treasurer of the E.B. & A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Co.14
Unsworth steered the company with success for the next thirty years. Under his ownership, the company advertised as importers and manufacturers of horse hair and brush fibers.15 By at least 1942, a need to expand storage capabilities resulted in the purchasing and repurposing of the old Horatio Hickok Lumber planing mill building to the south of the Maltex Company on Pine Street and a storage building on the southeast corner of Pine Street.16 In addition to expansions of the Fibre Co., Unsworth also took advantage of his knowledge in the fiber industry and began a car seat manufacturing company, the Queen City Tulatex Corporation, to the south on Pine Street, which he jointly managed until his death in 1950. His son, Raymond, took over both companies.17 The Fibre Co. began to sell both natural and synthetic, or plastic, brush fibers (Fig. 7).18 Enlargements continued, evidencing a steady growth in the company's production. A large, rectangular metal building adjoined the combing and dying house for storage purposes. The storage room to the north of the main building became a patent fiber machine shop, and an enlarged shipping department of metal was added to the eastern elevation of the main building.19 Unfortunately, exact documentation as to the precise process of how the fiber company cut, dressed, and combed the brush fibers has been difficult to come across.
In early 1960s, the company had their main office and plant at the original factory location, but also now had a plastics division across the street.20 The company at this point was making gutterbrooms and a variety of plastic brushes for industrial and domestic use.21 By 1962, Unsworth had sold the property and the company moved across the street where a large new iron-clad structured was constructed as the new center for the plastics division.22 E.B. and A.C. Whiting Co. continued to produce and distribute plastic fibers until the early 2000s, when they were purchased by Specialty Filaments.23
As with many of the old industry buildings on Pine Street, all of the E.B. & A.C. Whiting Company buildings have been revitalized and repurposed for new uses. The older main factory buildings remained dormant for several years, until the 1970s when Raymond Unsworth bought back the buildings on the northeast corner of Pine, renaming it the Howard Space Center, and began leasing it out to small businesses-creating the "first industrial incubator" in the area.24 Since then, the buildings have been owned by the Howard Space Partnership, L.L.C., a partnership formed by Unsworth's children, Steve and Karen. To this date, the buildings have retained much of their original characteristics, and are used by a medley of artists and small businesses. The factory and offices built in the 1960s by the Whiting Co. on the northeast corner are also still extant. Lake Champlain Chocolates rented the building in the mid-2000s, until Specialty Filaments sold it. Dealer.com purchased and renovated the old plastics division building extensively in 2006, and their company's offices are still there today (Fig. 8).25 The story of these buildings, which were originally constructed to house a new, pioneering company at the turn of the twentieth century, has come full circle a century later, with local businesses working innovatively in those same buildings.
1. Enoch Bangs Whiting, Writings on his life, Vermont Manuscript Files, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 2. Ibid. 3. "Vegetable Fibers," Congressional Serial Set (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1884), 178-182; accessed at http://books.google.com/books?id=YKUZAAAAYAAJ. 4. Ibid. 5. "Brush Factory Burned," Burlington Weekly Free Press, January 16, 1902, 8; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 6. "Factory Removal," Burlington Weekly Free Press, March 13, 1891, 3; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 7. A.C. Whiting, Writings on his life, Vermont Manuscript Files, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 8. "Brush Factory Burned," Burlington Weekly Free Press, January 16, 1902, 8; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 9. Ibid.; Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34. 10. Ibid. 11. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., May 1919), Sheet 25. 12. Brooms, Brushes and Handles (Trade Press Publishing Company, 1913), 43; accessed at http://books.google.com/books?id=yqY6AQAAMAAJ. 13. Burlington, Vermont: a brief sketch of its history, educational facilities and industrial life / by the pupils of the second year English classes, Burlington Junior High School, 1920-1921 (Burlington, Vermont: 1921), 52. 14. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1920), 403; Ibid., 1928, 556. 15. Ibid., 1944, 423. 16. Insurance Maps of Burlington (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 37. 17. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1954), 278. 18. Ibid., 1958, 597. 19. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942, 1960), Sheet 37. 20. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1962, 138; Ibid., 1963-64, 663; Ibid., 1964-65, 730; Peirson Ostrow, "Appraisal Report for E.B. & A.C. Whiting Co. Industrial plant maps and pictures of properties," Vermont Manuscript Files, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 21. James Detore Photograph Collection, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 22. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1962, 138; Ibid., 1963-64, 663; Ibid., 1964-65, 730; Peirson Ostrow, "Appraisal Report for E.B. & A.C. Whiting Co. Industrial plant maps and pictures of properties," Vermont Manuscript Files, Special Collections, University of Vermont; Insurance Maps of Burlington (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1978), Sheet 78. 23. Virginia Simmon, "Rent Control," Business People Vermont, October 10, 2009; accessed at http://www.vermontguides.com/2009/10-oct/unsworth.html. 24. Ibid. 25. City of Burlington, "Property Activity Summary Report: 400 Pine St," http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/; Ibid., 444 Pine St.
The Maltex Building is a distinguished brick edifice on Pine Street in Burlington, constructed in 1900 to house the Malted Cereal Company. The Malted Cereal Company was the creation of a notable Burlington citizen, William J. Van Patten, in the year of 1899. It was funded largely by the Wells Richardson Company, a lucrative wholesale drug company in Burlington where Van Patten started out as a druggist.1 A few years before, Van Patten met a chemist, Dr. William Boynton, who had recently developed a process to malt wheat to make a breakfast cereal. Intrigued by the notion of malted cereal for breakfast, Van Patten collaborated with the chemist to initiate the business. The company constructed the factory across from the northeast corner of the Howard and Pine Street. While the factory was being built, they occupied an older mill building on to south on Pine Street, which was subsequently destroyed.2 The first and third floors of the building on the southern side were designated for storage and the second floor for packing (Fig. 3). The northern side of the building was for milling and the basement floor for malting. To the western side of the building was the boiler room. An ell for the oven where the wheat was toasted was just to the south of the boiler room.3 Finally, a railroad stop was built in front of the building to ease the delivery of wheat and the shipment of cereal, eventually to across the country.4
The Malted Cereal Company took off almost instantaneously, no doubt in part due to the president's fame. Van Patten, who lived on 380 Pearl Street in Burlington, was a politician and businessman known for being a generous and compassionate benefactor in the city. Notably, he was the mayor of Burlington in the 1880s and a state senator in 1907, in addition to holding various presidencies of companies and social organizations in the city.5 Further enhancing the company's rapid growth, the company had an adept modern advertising strategy that centered around the image of a little girl wearing a bonnet eating a bowl of cereal: she became the face of the company (Fig. 4).6 As well, they placed ads in newspapers across Vermont and New England, emphasizing the quality of the food: "It's a food, not a fad," and even offered special deals.7 For example, one ad campaign the company ran in 1903 offered a free carbon picture of the "little Dutch girl" if consumers merely clipped the coupon and mailed it back to the company.8 The company also had one more key component to its early success: the treatment of its workers. Reportedly, the company treated its employees very well; employees had the opportunity to enjoy low cost hot lunches, and there is at least one instance of when workers were treated to a cruise trip and party afterwards complete with food and a bonfire, courtesy of Van Patten.9
The era of Van Patten's presidency of the Malted Cereal Company ended on some sad notes, however. Charles Van Patten, the son of Van Patten, who by then was the manager and treasurer of the entire company, committed suicide at age 39 in the basement of the factory one weekday morning in April of 1917-his death devastated Van Patten and company employees.10 Van Patten himself died unexpectedly a few years later in February of 1920, and entire city of Burlington mourned. Van Patten's family sold their shares in the company a month later to F.H. Shepardson and his son, F.W. Shepardson, of Richmond, Vermont.11 When sold, the factory was capable of producing up to 300 cases per day of cereal, in addition to beginning to produce Maltex flour, and had a capital of $250,000.12
"Tastes Good-Is Good," was one of the many slogans used by the Maltex company under the Shepardson father-son duo.13 The Malted Cereal Company aimed to become a modern, yet familial company. The factory on Pine Street in the 1930s was reportedly the only cereal factory in New England. Due to research conclusions that the name of the company should be shortened for advertising purposes, the Malted Cereal Company changed the name of its cereal to Maltex Cereal, and in 1935 the company name followed suit.14 The factory and its operations were described in some depth by F.W. Shepardson in 1931: "The factory on Pine Street is heavily constructed and speaks well for the workmanship of its builders. The inside walls and ceilings are painted in white enamel. The machinery is modern and some of it is almost human in its operation."15 In the 1930s, they started another ambitious advertising campaign involving twenty-eight newspapers and a radio program on the eastern seaboard.16 With advertising success, in 1934, as the business continued to grow, the company added a three-story addition to the building, designed by Frank Lyman (Fig. 1).17 The earlier commitment to its workers continued, with F.W. Shepardson at the height of World War II initiating an employee profit-sharing program, where employees were paid a certain percentage of company profits.18 In 1950, the company invented Maypo, a hot oat cereal with maple flavoring, just before Shepardson sold the company to a Connecticut food and beverage company Heublein.
Under the leadership of the Heublein Company, the factory expanded the company's offerings in cereal quite a bit. Maypo became a huge hit and it was heavily advertised. In 1956, following in the tradition of innovative ad campaigns, Maltex developed a particularly distinct character that hit television screens: Marky Maypo, a tiny child who would beg persistently, arguably annoyingly, for his Maypo cereal. The company also rolled out other variations of the cereal, such as Instant Maypo and Maypl, a hot oat cereal with maple flavoring, over the next sixteen years (Fig. 6). By 1958, the company employed fifty-one people, and made cereal at the factory in a series of steps: first, the wheat was shipped from the Midwest and run through steel rollers; next, the kernels were toasted and the barley was exposed to heat and water until the seeds sprouted; finally, the two ingredients were mixed, pre-cooked, sterilized and then packaged.19 Also, in 1959, the company built a long, steel, L-shaped addition that was raised up on steel beams to the building's northern elevation, which was used for storage (Fig. 1).20 The company made an effort to be part of the community, as well as being a national producer of cereal, and yearly students and visitors were welcomed to tour the facility.21
The Standard Milling Company bought the factory in the early 1960s-it was another national company and for the next several years they continued to produce Maypo and Maltex cereals at the factory for a national audience. On May 9, 1969, the vice president of whole company came in from Missouri and gathered the twenty-six employees of the factory around him, and abruptly told them the factory was closing that very day. The company's executives cited economic reasons and stated they were moving production of the cereal to their factories in Pennsylvania.22 After seventy years, the Maltex Company closed its doors and stopped its operations quickly and swiftly forever. Maypo can, however, still be found in grocery stores today. A few years later in 1973, Green Mountain Industries purchased the building and operated a wood-working company until 1981.23
"We are hatching businesses here," said Rick Davis in 1983, referring to his recent purchase and plans for the Maltex Building. He bought an empty Maltex Building from the Vermont Development Credit Union with an intent to innovate and repurpose the building as an incubator for small businesses. Davis acquired a large Urban Development Action Grant, along with a large bond, to conduct renovations. The renovations consisted of gutting the building, cleaning the pine floors, partitioning rental spaces, and updating utilities.24 1985, Davis had the boiler room's roof removed and the exterior brick walls remained to form a space for a small statue of a local shipwright, Fred Barrett, who worked nearby on the waterfront for sixty years-demonstrating, in the eyes of Davis, hard work and determination.25 Mostly recently, the L-shaped addition underwent a renovation by TruexCullins, a local architecture company, where metal and wood panels were put up to replace old exterior pink walls, and the interior was renovated into five office spaces (Fig. 2).26 Today, the Maltex Building is still owned by Rick Davis and the Maltex Partnership, and houses a variety of businesses inside, such as Draker Laboratories, the Wellness Collective, and Vermont Solar Engineering. Outside, the railroad tracks still remain as a reminder of the building's earlier history.
1. "Another New Industry," Burlington Weekly Free Press, May 5, 1899, 4; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, (Burlington, VT: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1991), Vol. 1, 90. 2. Ibid. 3. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., March 1906), Sheet 34. 4. Ibid. 5. Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Blow, 59-60. 6. "For 50 Years Maltex Has Added Flavor to New England Breakfasts," New England Grocery and Market Magazine clipping, Malted Cereal Company, Reference Files, Special Collections, University of Vermont. 7. "Beautiful Photograph Free," Middlebury Register, April 17, 1903, 11 ; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 8. Ibid. 9. "Complimentary Boat Trip," Burlington Weekly Free Press, July 17, 1902, 8; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 10. "Dies by his own hand," Burlington Weekly Free Press, April 12, 1917, 12; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 11. "William J Van Patten dies in New York," Burlington Free Press and Times, February, 19, 1920, 9; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 12. "Richmond Men Buy Burlington Industry," Burlington Free Press and Times, March 25, 1920, 9; accessed at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 13. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1944), 1944, 426. 14. F.W. Shepardson, "New England's Only Breakfast Cereal," Burlington Community Service Magazine, Vol. 1, 1931-1932 (Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Chamber of Commerce), August 1931, 7. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Blow, 90. 18. "Profit Sharing plan for employees of the Maltex Company," Malted Cereal Company Collection, Special Collections, University of Vermont, Box 1. 19. "Where Vermonters Work," Burlington Free Press, November 13, 1957, 4c. 20. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1978), Sheet 37. 21. "Where Vermonters Work," Burlington Free Press, November 13, 1957, 4c. 22. "Maltex Plant To Close After 70 Years," Burlington Free Press, May 10, 1969. 23. Manning's Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory, 1970-1980; Blow, 90. 24. "Renovated Maltex Building: An 'Incubator' of Businesses," Burlington Free Press, May 14, 1985, 4c. 25. Amy Lily, "Maltex Makeover," Seven Days, September 8, 2010; accessed at http://www.7dvt.com/2010maltex-building. 26. Ibid.
Queen City Tulatex Corporation: 500 Pine Street (453 Pine Street)
This unadorned brick factory building was built to house the manufacturing operations of the Queen City Tulatex Corporation, a car seat padding manufacturer, on 453 Pine Street in 1941. No doubt wishing to capitalize on the burgeoning car manufacturing business using his experience in fibers, the industrious Thomas Unsworth, then the current president of E.B. & A.C. Whiting Brush Fibre Company, founded the business and had the factory built just south of the Whiting Company's storage buildings on Pine Street, below Howard Street.1 The main building was constructed long and narrow, stretched out along the eastern side of Pine Street, with a brick exterior and an interior of wooden walls, concrete floors, and steel posts and beams. Here, to the north, in a one-story section, fibers were steamed and melded in ovens; in the southern two-story portion of the factory, fibers were picked, shaped, and pressed. Attached to this on the southern elevation, in the center, were a series of small rooms, one for collecting dust fibers and another was the boiler room, where the company derived its power. Just south of the main building, connected by a short passageway, was an iron-clad, two-story wooden storage building for the car seat pads.2 The car seat pads produced at the factory were made out of tula istle, a hard plant fiber imported from Mexico. Layers of the fibers were pressed together, and this lightweight cushioning material was dubbed "Tulatex."3
Unsworth remained the manager of the company until his death in 1950, and his son, Raymond, took over the presidency of both the Whiting Fibre Company and Tulatex.4 Raymond presided over Tulatex until 1954, when one of Thomas's other sons, Herbert Unsworth, became the president briefly.5 Under the Unsworth family leadership, the plant constructed a number of patented rubberized upholstery pads in the 1940s and 1950s, which were then shipped out to factories. Initially, production was confined to car seats, but by the early 1950s, it seems Tulatex was producing cushions for furniture as well as for cars. For instance, in 1953, the company invented "Tulapad" a cushioning for lawn furniture, mattresses, and upholstery, which was made of Mexican cactus fibers sprayed with rubber latex; it was supposedly half as heavy as other furniture pads.6 As evidenced with the "Tulapad" fibers, fiber materials were imported to the factory from all over and then processed for various uses. A series of photographs taken in June of 1950 by James Detore illustrates the process in which the fiber pads were produced at the factory (Fig. 2.1-2.4). Upwards of fifty layers of various fibers were laid down on a wooden plinth between pieces of fabric. A heavy metal weight was then pressed down on the fibers, compressing them down in size. The fibers were then wrapped up in the fabric, and finally prepared for shipment to companies across the United States which would thereafter take the pads and use them in vehicles and furniture.7
The Unsworth family sold the company by the mid-1950s to John A. Moreland, who changed the company's name to the Tulatex Corporation in 1958.8 Moreland expanded the company's capabilities to manufacturing a whole range of rubberized upholstery pads, particularly concentrating on mattress pads for the furniture and bedding industry. Tulatex, at this time, imported fibers from all over, including Ceylon, Haiti, Africa, Brazil, and Mexico, and then produced the pads at their Burlington factory. Reportedly, by September of 1959, Tulatex had produced enough of their lightweight mattress padding to create three million mattresses across the United States, and had become a "national standard" in the industry.9 By 1960, the company had added a large steel warehouse building to the south, where hemp products were stored.10
However, despite some successes, Tulatex, by late 1960, was in a great deal of financial trouble. Tulatex had signed a deal in 1958 with the Columbian Rope Company to acquire the Rope Company's entire inventory of "Corotex," a rubberized fiber material, and to rent its equipment to produce additional "Corotex" at the factory.11 By the end of 1961, no payments had been made, and apparently, the Rope Company was not alone in its lack of compensation from Tulatex; Tulatex owed some $450,000 in total to them and other creditors. In the meantime, Tulatex managed to broker another partnership, where Tulatex would offer knowledge and equipment in the creation of a Mexican company, Pan American Tulatex, that would produce rubberized fiber padding. In 1964, Tulatex was part of a major court case in the United States Tax Court initiated by the Columbian Rope Company, which was seeking a tax deduction for the money Tulatex owed the company; it deemed the Tulatex stocks it was promised by Moreland as now worthless. The court sided with Tulatex, however, stating that through the creation of the Mexican company, Tulatex was still extant in a small Burlington office and obviously attempting to produce a profit at the time of case.12 It is unclear as to how Pan American Tulatex faired; no later records of the company have emerged beyond the date of the court case. Certainly due to its extensive liabilities, by the end of 1961, however, the company was fully out of business on Pine Street and the factory vacant.13
The vacancy was quickly filled by the wholesale grocery division of the S.R. Saiger Corporation who moved into the factory by 1962; the property's address at this point changed to 500 Pine Street.14 In 1971, the factory again changed hands, and for a brief period it was a glass reclamation site. By 1974, the factory's interior had been renovated into an apartment space by the name of the Jackson Terrace Apartments.15 In addition, according to the Sanborn Map of 1978, it appears both the boiler and dust rooms were demolished, as well as the hemp storage building to the south-certainly the new apartment complex had no need for them. At some point between 1978 and 1984, the iron-cladding of the car seat storeroom was removed or covered and replaced by clapboard (today, vinyl) siding, as well as the passageway between the buildings (Fig. 3). To this date, the Jackson Terrace Apartments are still located in the old factory building and its storeroom.17
1. Manning's Burlington Winooski South Burlington and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1941-42), 1941-1942, 235; Ibid., 235. 2. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942), Sheet 40. 3. Palmerton Publishing Company, The Rubber Age 71 (1952): 749; accessed at http://books.google.com/books?id=91BQAAAAYAAJ. 4. Manning's Burlington Winooski South Burlington and Essex Junction Directory, 1951, 273. 5. Ibid, 1954, 227. 6. Industrial South 5-7 (1953): 42; accessed at http://books.google.com/books?id=qccrAQAAMAAJ. 7. From numbered photographs of the interior processes at Tulatex in June of 1950, James Detore Photograph Collection, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 8. Manning's Burlington Winooski South Burlington and Essex Junction Directory, 1956, 255; Ibid., 1958, 291. 9. From a photograph of the Tulatex Corp at a business fair in September 1959, James Detore Photograph Collection, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont. 10. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1942-1960), Sheet 40. 11. Columbian Rope Company v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 42 T.C. 800 (1964); accessed at http://www.leagle.com/decision/196484242bftc800_1785. 12. Ibid. 13. Manning's Burlington Winooski South Burlington and Essex Junction Directory, 1961, 563. 14. Ibid. 15. Manning's Burlington South Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1967), 520, 732; Manning's Burlington and South Burlington Winooski and Essex Junction Directory (Greenfield, M.A.: H.A. Manning Co., 1971), 678; Ibid., 1974, 651. 16. Insurance Maps of Burlington, Vermont (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1978), Sheet 40. 17. City of Burlington, "Property Summary for 500 Pine Street," Property Search; accessed at http://property.burlingtonvt.gov/PropertyDetails.aspx?a=8625.