This former farmhouse was originally
a one and one-half story home built in 1830 on property that extended
up to the University of Vermont; a rear ell, added around 1850,
joins the house to a pre-1853 carriage barn (1). Despite moving
to New York City in 1852, Cassius P. Peck, the second son of Dr.
John Peck, is recorded as owner on both the 1853 Presdee &
Edwards map and the 1857 Wallings map of Burlington (2). By 1862
Salmon Wires, an attorney who founded a Burlington insurance agency
in 1844 with his brother, Rodney Wires, had purchased the property.
Although Wires died in 1866, his widow, Sarah, resided in the
home until her death in 1892. Sarah D. Wires, an unmarried daughter,
continued to live in the home, having been joined by her sister,
Francis Wires Bryant, who returned to Burlington in the 1880s
(3). Around 1900 a full second story and a front porch enlarged
the size of the house.
Sarah D. Wires died in 1915, and upon Francis W. Bryant's death in 1930, the housed passed to her cousin, John E. Colburn, principal of Burlington High School (4). After Colburn's death in 1942, his widow, Florence R. Colburn, and his son, Francis P. Colburn, continued to live in the house until her death in 1964, at which time Francis and his wife, Gladys L. Colburn, took complete control of the property (5). Francis P. Colburn, artist-in-residence at the University of Vermont for over thirty years, lived and worked in his studio here until his death in 1984 (6). Following Gladys L. Colburn's 1995 death, her son and his wife, David R. and Lorraine Colburn, sold the house for $300,000 to Sandra North, Inc., which remodeled it into an apartment complex (7).
(1) "National Register of Historic Places Inventory: Nomination Form (Burlington, Vt.): South Willard St. Historic District," United States National Park Service, p. 20. Photocopy.
(2) Burlington Free Press, April 15, 1852, 2:2; Burlington Free Press, 1 July 1895, 6:1.
(3) David Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods Vol. II (Burlington: Chittenden County Historical Society, 1997), 2.
(4) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, April 23, 1931, vol. 100, p. 250.
(5) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, December 20, 1954, vol. 146, p. 267; Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, April 28, 1965, vol. 169, p. 419, 421, 424.
(6) Clark Schoettle, "Vermont Historic Sites and Structures Survey-Burlington-South Willard Street (6/29/77)," Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Photocopy.
(7) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, July 3, 1980, vol. 269. p. 301-303; Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, July 14, 1983, vol. 294, p. 475-477; Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, November 18, 1994, vol. 517, p. 593; Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, January 31, 1996, vol. 539, p. 293.