History of Pomeroy Hall (4)

Sixty students were enrolled in the Medical College when the building was expanded in 1858, but by 1877 the number had increased to ninety, again causing a need for more space. In 1879 funds were raised and used to build an addition of the rear of the 1858 rear ell of the Medical College building.

The 18 feet by 35 feet addition was two and a half stories with a gable roof and clapboard siding, and measured 18 feet by 35 feet. During the same time the lecture room on the first floor was painted and its seating capacity was increased to 200. On the second floor the museum was "thoroughly fitted up." The third floor amphitheater was enlarged and its seats reupholstered. Gas was also introduced to the building at this time presumably for lighting and use for experiments.22 The total cost of the of the addition and renovations was $2,116.81, of which $1,957.38 was paid for by public subscription and the remainder of $159.43 was paid for by the Medical College faculty.23

According a Burlington Free Press article of January 30, 1880:

The Medical College has lately been enlarged and renovated, the money (some $2,500) being contributed by our citizens. The lower lecture room has been enlarged to a seating capacity of some 200, the walls have been nicely tinted and gas has been introduced. The amphitheatre has also been enlarged and the seats newly upholstered. The museum has been thoroughly fitted up, and a two-story addition in the rear built, 18 by 35 feet. The regular term commences the first Thursday of March, and it is expected that the class will be the largest ever matriculated.

In 1882, just two years after the second addition was completed, the number of medical students enrolled at the University of Vermont had more than doubled and the Medical College building was again found to be insufficient. Another large addition or a new building was needed to accommodate the increasing size of the school.24

How widely the college is known may be inferred from the fact that the present class includes students from nearly every State in the Union, Canada, England and many countries of continental Europe, the Sandwich Islands, Turkey in Asia, etc. From these circumstances there is no doubt that the growth of the past will be much more than equaled by that in the future. But at this point a serious consideration arises, from the fact that the present building is inadequate for the accommodation of the present number of students, even. Three years ago it was repaired and enlarged, and the main lecture room fitted to accommodate 180 students- as great an enlargement as the building is capable of. Therefore even the present class can not be accommodated, and no increase in numbers is practical under the present circumstances. A new building or a large addition to the present one is consequently an absolute necessity, if the successful career of the institution is to be continued; and it is high time for its friends to take hold of the matter in earnest. The Daily Free Press and Times, 6 June 1882.

In response to this need Burlington philanthropist John Purple Howard bought the "Underwood Place" located on Pearl Street at the north end of the University Green, and offered to convert it to a new Medical College building. Howard made this offer on the condition that the University spend a minimum of $250 dollars a year to maintain it. He also proposed to demolish the interior of the existing Medical College building and convert it into a gymnasium for the University.25 The University accepted the offer of Mr. Howard and the new Medical College building is dedicated March 6, 1884. An article in the University Cynic, however, recommends that the old Medical College building be converted into a boarding house rather than a gymnasium, which they feel should be more centrally located.26