196 South Willard Street

circa 1845


By Eric L. Martin

Built circa 1845, this structure's current appearance is the result of multiple modifications during its one and a half centuries of existence. This building stands on former Grasse Mount property, which was being subdivided at the time of this home's construction by Henry Leavenworth, who is listed as the owner of this structure in 1853. The front section of the building contains hewn summer beams, and an Isle La Motte stone carriage stoop sits on the street curb in front of the house. A. Robbins purchased the home in 1858, followed by Chauncey W. Brownell, a prominent Burlington attorney, in 1878; at this date the building had a full length, one-story, front porch. Brownell eventually became president of the Home Savings Bank, vice-president of the Burlington Building and Loan Association, and vice president of the Vermont Structural Steel Corporation (1). The building's Italianate moldings and Queen Anne style fireplace mantels suggest Brownell remodeled it on several occasions (2). Brownell's daughter, Elva Mabel Brownell assumed ownership of the property in 1925, although Chauncey continued to reside here for twelve more years (3). Having added the bay window on the south elevation and removed the porch around 1942, she sold the house to Donald H., manager of Coffey & Teachout, Inc., and Blanche P. Teachout in 1955 (4). Orthodontist Joseph R. Wark, and his wife, Ellen L., purchased the property in 1968 for $60,000 (5).

(1) Burlington, Winooski, and Essex Junction Directory (Burlington: H.A. Manning Co., 1922), 44. Clark Schoettle states George Robbins, a Lake Champlain boatman, owned the house from 1858 to 1878. The 1862 Wainwright map, the 1869 Beers map, the 1865 Burlington City Directory, and the 1870 Burlington City Directory, however, record A. Robbins living here; George Robbins lived on Elm Street.
(2) Clark Schoettle, "Vermont Historic Sites and Structures Survey-Burlington-South Willard Street (9/6/77)," Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Photocopy.
(3) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, August 17, 1925, vol. 97, p. 234.
(4) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, April 1, 1955, vol. 146, p. 404; "National Register of Historic Places Inventory: Nomination Form (Burlington, Vt.): South Willard St. Historic District," United States National Park Service, p. 29. Photocopy; Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, and Essex Junction Directory (Springfield, MA; H. A. Manning Company, 1960), 508.
(5) Land Records of the Town of Burlington, Vermont, November 5, 1968, vol. 191, p. 163.