ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Burlington Vermont Historical Timeline

Updated on April 1, 2013
Ira Allen envisioned the settlement at Burlington Bay.
Ira Allen envisioned the settlement at Burlington Bay.

1771 -Ira Allen surveys Burlington Bay area for the Onion River Land Company. Recognizing the value of the bay, land and nearby falls, he makes claim to land and builds mill/fort at Winooski Falls, fights off 'Yorkers' claiming same land. He envisions Burlington as the capital of a new country he named New Columbia.

1778
Ethan Allen purchases 150 acres in the north section of Burlington Bay survey.

Burlington bay as it would have looked in 1771. The arrows indicate where Pearl, College and Main Streets will be.
Burlington bay as it would have looked in 1771. The arrows indicate where Pearl, College and Main Streets will be.
Early settlements were carved from the woods. Early homes were surrounded by stumps of felled trees.
Early settlements were carved from the woods. Early homes were surrounded by stumps of felled trees.

1787: Ethan Allen and family move to Burlington.

Samuel Hitchcock and Lucy Caroline (daughter of Ethan Allen) were the first couple married in Burlington. Stephen Keyes opened Burlington’s first store. Frederick Saxton raised Burlington’s first frame house.

1789: Ethan Allen dies and was buried in what is known today as Green Mount Cemetery.

1790: The first Burlington birth, a daughter to Samuel and Lucy Hitchcock, was recorded. This was Ethan Allen's granddaughter.

1791: University of Vermont was chartered. UVM is the first university in the U.S. to specifically declare in its charter a separation from any religious group (most colleges at the time were founded as extensions of churches). UVM backed up this non-denominational pursuit by choosing incorporators from different religious backgrounds. As a result, the new state school is criticized as a 'heathen' school. Middlebury College was founded soon after as a religious alternative to UVM.

The first census lists Burlington with 322 settlers.

February 1793: Prince Edward of England (father of Queen Victoria) spent a night in Burlington on his way to Boston.

1795: A Courthouse was built in the center of the Common near a large pine tree that served as a whipping tree and a hay scale.

1796: A jail was built at the northeast corner of the village common.

1797:The Burlington Mercury was established. It is the first newspaper in town.

1798: William Coit presented Burlington’s final plan and grid of downtown streets.

By vote, the town common is set aside for public use.

1800: “Old Black Gilbert”, a former slave brought to Burlington by his (former?) owner Mr. Hollister, became the coach driver of choice for many village residents.

1801: The second Burlington newspaper, the Vermont Centinel was established.

July: Levi Allen, the entrepreneurial, youngest brother of Ethan and Ira Allen, opened the first commercial baths in Vermont near what is now Battery Park. Not long after, patrons of the baths suffer from sickness and intestinal challenges.

December 16: Levi Allen died in Burlington’s jail where he was confined as a debtor. The law at the time stated that whomever collected the body of a debtor assumed the debt. No one wanted to assume Levi's debt but no one wished to leave his body unclaimed and disrespected as he was a well-known resident of Burlington. Levi was funny, eccentric and mostly lovable person-who was banished from the area and then later forgiven for his loyalist support of the British during the Revolution. He was a colorful 'character' of early Burlington who wrote poetry, followed astrology, and mystically called himself the 'macro-sopher-soul' . He drank too much and suffered from his addictive love of rum punch. Long-time Burlington resident John N. Pomeroy wrote that the town officials decided to take Levi’s body out behind the jail to bury him on jail grounds, to bypass the law around collecting the body of a debtor. Levi's grave, long since lost, was the beginning of what is known today as Elmwood Cemetery.

Potatoes were converted into cheap whiskey at the Pearl Street distillery. It sold for thirty cents a gallon.

August 3, 1804: The University of Vermont celebrated its first commencement in the Burlington Court House.

Burlington residents Samuel Hitchcock, (UVM President) Daniel Sanders and William Harris created the UVM seal, embedding a symbolic Masonic message of perfectibility in the design. Samuel Hitchcock had previously created an esoteric Masonic seal for a Masonic lodge in Bennington.

1805: “The First Church and the First Society, for social and public worship”, were organized. Prior to this, Burlington was described as a "rank heathen town of Deists".

March 1805: April 1807: Forty individuals are warned out of Burlington for various reasons. 25% of those asked to leave were African Americans.

1808: Black Snake criminal, Cyrus Dean is publicly executed in Burlington before thousands who had come from miles away to see the spectacle of a public hanging. The hanging was arranged on a hilltop (believed to be the hill where Green Mt. Cemetery is located) in order to give the best view to the massive crowd of onlookers.

1810: In what was an emotionally charged religious debate, Burlington’s religious society splits into the Unitarian and Calvinistic churches. In the midst of this charged atmosphere, UVM hired their first professor, James Dean, an active Freemason who delivered an induction speech laced with Masonic ideas and informed the crowd that divine revelation was not reliable and the only source of truth was geometry.

Elmwood Cemetery opened, growing out from the grave of Levi Allen.

The last year that Salmon were reported caught by scoop nets and barreled below the Winooski River Falls.

1812: With Burlington’s population barely over 1000, some 5000 US military troops occupied the north sector of town.

1813: The University of Vermont was rented to the United States Government for $5000.00 for use as an arsenal and barracks.

Sunday, September 11, 1814: An eerie quiet blanketed a nearly deserted Burlington. Residents, fearing the conflict across the late at Plattsburgh, NY would result in a British bombardment of Burlington, had left town or gone into hiding overnight. The remaining inhabitants gathered in church “in uneasy seats with listless attention.” Later, the small crowd huddled at the college waiting for word from the belfry where several men monitored the battle with an old spyglass. They saw a defeated ship towed to Plattsburgh but their lens was not powerful enough to determine the vessel’s flag. For five hours they anxiously waited news of the battle.

May 26, 1815: An elephant was first exhibited in Burlington.

1816: The Unitarian Church was constructed. The dedication services featured a sermon by William Emerson, Ralph Waldo’s father, and Thaddeus Mason Harris, a popular Masonic orator.

1823: The Champlain Canal opened. Burlington’s business district gradually moves downhill to the waterfront.

September 26: A lion was first exhibited in Burlington.

May 27, 1824: The University of Vermont’s single college structure, which was the entire college, was destroyed by fire.

December 3: Mr. Everts opened Burlington’s first coffee house.

June 29, 1825: After a parade through town, the Revolutionary War hero General Lafayette placed the cornerstone for the new college building during a Masonic ritual. The Burlington Freemasons were the primary force behind rebuilding the college building. The cornerstone can be seen in the foundation of Lafayette Hall/Old Mill.

1826: The new university faculty, led by James Marsh, introduced a new curriculum developed around the ideas of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The university became a seedbed of the American Transcendental movement.

June 15, 1827: The First edition of the Free Press was issued.

Grassemount is named by Mrs. Heman Allen in honor of Count de Grasse.

July 11, 1828: An Egyptian mummy was exhibited at Howard’s Hotel. Across the street at Gould’s Hotel, a balloon was launched for the first time in Burlington.

UVM Professor Joseph Torrey began the first courses on the Fine Arts offered in any U.S. college.

1829: Burlington High School was incorporated.

March: The “Canadian Giant” was exhibited at Gould’s.

UVM President Jame’s Marsh published the first American edition of Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection, that included Marsh’s important introductory essay that influenced Emerson and Thoreau and helped introduce and shape Transcendentalism in the United States.

1830: The Baptist Society, S. Paul’s Episcopal Society, and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Society were founded.

1831: Through a court case, it is determined that the town has no right to lease portions of the common, for private or business use.

June: In mourning after the death of his wife, Ralph Waldo Emerson visits Burlington.

1832: Under attack from Anti-Masonic forces, Vermont’s Masonic Grand Lodge retreats to Burlington where, under the direction of Nathan Haswell, it quietly operates for the next 13 years.

1835: Nathaniel Hawthorne visited Burlington and described the village common as crowded with “merchants from Montreal, British officers from the frontier garrisons, French Canadians, wandering Irish, Scotch-men of a better class, gentlemen of the south on a pleasure tour, country squires on business, and a great throng of Green Mountain boys with their horse-wagons and ox-teams...”

May 22, 1836: Following President John Wheeler’s ban on smoking at UVM, a secret student smoking and literary society called the Phylos Kapnon was formed. They exist today as Lambda Iota.

October 1836: Riverside Avenue is planned to allow wagon traffic to by-pass the steep “Falls Hill” on Colchester Avenue.

Burlington Female Academy opens.

1837-38: Emotions run high in Burlington over the uprising of the Canadian Patriotes.

July 4, 1837: Work begins on the breakwater.

May 9, 1838: Burlington’s first Catholic church, St.Mary’s, is destroyed by arson. A Catholic newspaper wrote that Burlington’s leaders discontinued their criminal investigation because they found too many in town could be guilty of the act.

A. Young Map of Burlington 1830s

Source

1840: Burlington’s French-Canadian and Irish population is estimated near 1000.

1842: A deadly sickness blanketed the village. “Funeral bells rang daily and Burlington was crowded with black dressed mourners riding in black coaches.”

1843: UVM students protest the expulsion of popular student Charles Dorman, Nightly protests came in the form of noise brigades banging on pots and pans throughout Burlington. Student anger aimed at an increasingly unpopular faculty leads to an act of violence in July 1843, following a second student expulsion, the University of Vermont President John Wheeler was patrolling the campus grounds at night and was ambushed and clubbed. He was left unconscious on the side of Pearl Street. He survived and showed up bruised at morning chapel service in Old Mill.

1845: The Greek revival steeple on the First Congregational Church is completed.

March 26, 1846: The Telegraph was first exhibited in Burlington.

March 28, 1848: The Free Press began daily publication.

August: Tom Thumb makes the first of many visits to Burlington.

December: Diorama and Panorama of “Athens, Views of Mexico, City of Lowell by moonlight…”

Looking West from the University Green 1840s
Looking West from the University Green 1840s

1849: Burlington celebrates the arrival of the railroad and the reappearance of Freemasonry after the Anti-Masonic period. Lengthy parades wind through town.

February 16, 1850: “Animal magnetist,” Mr. Stone performed before a Burlington crowd and publicly healed Helen Reynolds, a well-known local woman who suffered from a nervous disorder.

June 24: “Infant Wonders” Kate & Allen Bateman perform in Burlington.

1851: Church Street was paved in stone.

1852: A group of local investors form the Pioneer Mechanics Shops below the Battery near the lake. It is dedicated with a large Masonic ceremony and in the cornerstone is placed documents of the ceremony and an outline of the Masonic philosophy behind the project.

February: “Kinney’s Heroic statue of Ethan Allen” was displayed in Burlington; PT Barnum’s “Chinese Family” performed in Burlington.

1853: A Burlington women's group campaigns to convert the Battery into a park.

April 29, 1853: “Great Cyclorama of Dissolving Views, Astronomical Wonders, Landscapes, and Historical Events” visited Burlington.

September 7, 1853: Famous Chinese twins, “Chang & Eng” and their children performed in Burlington.

1854: Gas lights were erected in some parts of the village.

January 2: Pell & Mulligan’s Original Metropolitan Opera performed-the first in Burlington.

April 4: Uncle Tom’s Cabin first performed in Burlington.

Burlington from the Lake 1850s

June 1855: UVM students start off their annual satire on popular culture-The June Training of the University Invincibles-with an early morning-still-drunk-after-a-night-of partying-cannon blast aimed at the Old Mill which blew in every window-a hugely damaging prank that led to the end of June Training.

July 6, 1855: Experiments in Spiritualism conducted in Burlington.

31st: The Wild Men of Borneo performed in town for the UVM Commencement.

1857: The Ethan Allen Engine Company was organized.

March 10: The first of many “Old Folks” concerts performed in Burlington.

April 21: Lecture series against Spiritualism presented in Burlington.

1858: Work under the Ethan Allen monument failed to produce Allen’s bones. A rumor grows that Ethan Allen’s bones are missing, possibly stolen and taken to Montreal by his Catholic daughter, or that he was never buried in Burlington . A commission later claimed to find bone fragments but many residents remain skeptical. The controversy of the missing bones gained national attention.

April 5: A concert for improving the Battery featured the “quick-step” performances of three local fire companies: Ethan Allen, Howard Guard, and the Boxers.

December 9: Lecture by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

1859: A tract of land in Burlington’s north end is developed for large out-door public gatherings. It became the County Fair Grounds and was used for military purposes during the Civil War. The need for such a park was debated since they were said to attract gambling, rum drinking, and prostitution.

In a controversial action, Burlington’s First Unitarian Church minister Joshua Young delivered the eulogy at abolitionist John Brown’s funeral.

February 4th: Costume party for the benefit of the Medical College.

1860: 1,098 natives of Ireland and 1,067 Canadians were listed in Burlington’s population of 7,716.

1861: Crews working on LeGrand Cannon’s estate uncover a cannon ball from the War of 1812.

January 2, 1865: Burlington was incorporated as a city. South Burlington is formed after mounting grievances with farmers on the outskirts of town complaining about being taxed to pay for downtown municipal water system improvements-far from their farms.

North Street is referred to as “Little Paris” due to the concentrated settlement of French-Canadians.

First Burlington’s City Directory is published.

1867: The Chittenden County Agricultural Society is forced to close after paying liabilities for damages and personal injuries following the partial collapse of grandstands at the fair grounds.

May 18, 1867: The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception opens.

1868: Burlington contracts local men Dr. Blodget and Judge Nichols to begin filling the city’s ravine with wood shavings; by-products from the booming local lumber mills.

April 1869: A sign of Spring was viewed in the return of children playing marbles on dry patches of dirt streets.

A city report advised the removal of the old railroad bridge across Pearl Street and the filling of the ravine with dirt.

July 1869: Males ages 18-35 bathing nude in broad daylight in the lake along the Rutland Railroad, south of the city depot, were called “an intolerable nuisance.” Critics said the young men were “addicted” to the practice of indecent exposure of their persons, especially to passing trains.

1870: Women are first admitted into UVM.

Early 1870s: Critics complain that the wooden sheds and awnings constructed along Church, Main, and College Streets are “relics of barbarous times.” The ragged wooden awnings on Church Street began to come down by 1874. Those lining Main and College came down later in the decade.

August 1870: City Hall is described as being covered with “hieroglyphic” graffiti and “uncouth figures” on the outside walls.

May 1871: City Hall Park was described as “dilapidated and deplorable.” The park was the center of daily carpet cleaning. Clotheslines were strung between shade trees whose branches were bent with heavy carpets and woolen rags. The park was littered with street garbage, tin kettles, and coffee-pots. Loose pigs unlawfully rooted in the park.

August: The old brick store at the head of Pearl Street was torn down. It was the last remnant of pre-Champlain Canal old Burlington, when the business center was at the top of Pearl Street.

September: A report stated that 200 new houses had been built in Burlington since 1870, but there were fewer than twelve now available.

November: The Free Press reports on the “Industry of Burlington” built on three qualities: cheap transportation; cheap power; and cheap and pure water.

1873: Mary Fletcher donated $20,000.00 for a city library.

July 4 : After 15 years in the works, the Ethan Allen Monument is dedicated at Green Mount Cemetery. The events draws 15,000 people-1,500 of them ladies who were given special seating.

November 1: “All Hallow Eve was celebrated in Ward Five by the stealing of a hundred splendid head of cabbage ...from Willard Street, and the breaking of windows...on Union Street, by some rowdy boys form the slums of Water street. A fight at McKenzie’s corner was the principal event in the Third Ward.”

The Park Gallery of Art opened above the UVM Museum of Natural History.

1873-89: The Sea Serpent Champ is sighted 12 times. One farmer claimed the serpent was seen in his pasture.

1874: Wells, Richardson, & Co. begin business in Burlington.

September 22: City Hall Park is graded, curbed, and ornamented with greenery.

“Respectable residents of the north part of our city have complained of bold and open acts of debauchery and prostitution carried on both day and night.”

1875: Lida Mason and Ellen Hamilton are the first women to graduate from UVM and the first women to be inducted in Phi Beta Kappa.

July 16: Ohavi Zedek, Burlington’s first Jewish congregation is formed by Abraham Marcus and ten other men.

The Fletcher Free Library opened.

Dog fights were regular entertainment down on Battery Street.

June 1876: An anonymously penned report to the Free Press criticized Burlington’s $5,000.00 market that stood practically empty every day and offered poor quality produce. The author encouraged Burlington’s leaders to study the successful market houses and system of market days used in western cities. “Our almost deserted market house speaks a sad moral which every citizen of Burlington would do well to ponder.”

1877: George Washington Henderson, a UVM student, is the first African American inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

January 31: Vulgar young men loiter on streets at night, insulting all passer bys.

June: Sewer construction on Main Street unearths an older system of “pump-logs” laid around 1810 by residents attempting to bring water to their residences from east of the ravine.

October 3: During rhetorical exercises in the University Chapel a portion of the plaster ceiling fell on the head of junior John Dewey.

March 1878: Over one ton of Burlington documents dating back to village settlement are removed form the attic of a downtown building and sold as scrap paper. Included in this destruction are clerks records, school records, jail records, mercantile records, Unitarian Church records, and records of the Vermont Central Railroad. This was the second sale. The first occurred several years earlier and was described as being several tons larger.

May: The Central Vermont Railroad began work on a forty acres picnic grounds to be called “Queen City Park.”

September: Competing against 120 other teams, Burlington’s Barnes Hose Company won the National (Hose Company) Championships held that year in Chicago.

1879: Mary Fletcher Hospital opened after Mary Fletcher donated $200,000.00 for the purchase of property.

Howard Opera House

Source

February 23: The Howard Opera House opened with a presentation of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Tickets were so quickly sold out for Opera house performances that a rumor circulated that a New York syndicate controlled ticket purchasing.

August: “In digging the Main Street sewer, near Willard Street, a stratum was disclosed...showing, apparently, that at some far remote day the lake extended as far as Willard Street.”

September: The Free Press reports on the first village telephone system. “Radiating from the central office over Vincent, Taft, & Co.’s store, are a great number of wires. Each connects some half dozen houses and stores with the central office and is called a “circuit.” Of the utility and convenience of the telephone it is hardly necessary to speak; and of its future, who can tell what it will be?”

A “war on the social evil” began: City leaders hoped to shut down Burlington’s three brothels. Common prostitution had “long been an intolerable nuisance” in Burlington leaders complained, and it was time to end the debauchery.

Fern gathering parties are popular with the ladies of Burlington.

Gathering Ferns

1880: Burlington’s lumberyards employed nearly 1000 workers and annual sales approached 115 million feet of lumber.

The Free Press advertised cures for Opium and Morphine addiction.

A German neighborhood grows off of North Avenue.

1881: Queen City Park is purchased by the Spiritualist Corporation.

June 1881:The Free Press reported on locals fears that disease are passed by telephone use.

The Van Ness House and Boutin’s dry goods are lit by electric light. Sight-seerers thronged the buildings through the night, marveling at the “soft and pleasant light...almost as brilliant as noon-day.”

Van Ness House, Corner of Main & St. Paul Streets

August: Boutin’s a popular Burlington dry goods store identified by a famous “Big Bonnet” sign draws attention with an “artistically and beautifully painted” custom delivery wagon. It was “drawn by a stout and good looking horse, and the driver...wore a suit of dark blue velvet with gold trimmings, yellow gauntlet gloves and a tall white hat on which is depicted” the famous Boutin “big bonnet.”

August 1882: A “band of Gypsies” was encamped on their favorite North Prospect Street location “below the French Church”. “At dusk, campfires are lit, and figures move among the tent-like wagons...a dozen horse feed on the grounds restrained by a tether between their forelegs...groups of children tumble and roll beneath wagons, while their industrious parents sit...smoke, and weave baskets, and tell fortunes.”

1883: “A sure sign of spring” are the Italian “fiddlers’ playing on the common and Church Street.

April 1884: Residents were advised to clean out “fever-breeding” rubbish accumulated in cellars over the winter.

The Free Press reported on the growth of Burlington reflected by a boom in house construction. “A great demand for houses, and the impossibility of supplying the present demand”

Burlington celebrated a coming telephone line that would connect to Rutland, Whitehall, Glenn’s Falls, Fort Edward, Saratoga, Troy, and Albany

July: The dumping of “filth and garbage” was confined to the ravine at the head of Intervale Avenue and dumping was absolutely forbidden along Main, College, Pearl, and Church Streets. “Where the ravine crosses these streets, the dump heaps...were an eyesore.”

Halloween was celebrated with widespread vandalism.

January 1885: Burlington’s African American population hosted a celebration for the twentieth anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment. Forty couples from Brandon, Bristol, Vergennes, Hinesburgh, Montpelier, St. Albans, and Shelburne attend a dinner held at Wheeler’s hall.

June: The Free Press reports on the shortage of rental housing in Burlington.

November 16: The trial run of the Winooski and Burlington Horse Railroad.

January 1886: Burlington’s Coasting Club and Ice Yacht Club were formed.

February: Burlington’s first Winter Carnival.

April: Woman’s Indian Association: The Burlington branch of this organization was formed to call attention “to the wrongs and injustices done that race which once called this beautiful country its own.” They sponsored an “Indian man named Joel Brush”, who received $50.00 to help erect his “Burlington Cottage” in the far west. Brush was killed in 1887.

July: A cannon ball from the War of 1812 was dug up from the south end of Battery Street.

August: A large portion of Burlington’s downtown street were electrified.

September: Burlington’s Jewish population purchased the former French Baptist chapel for a synagogue and school.

October 8: A salvage operation of two Boston divers and 15 Burlington men investigate a ship sunk off of Valcour Island. They recovered cannon balls, bullets, bar shot, silver spoons, and timbers.

October 28: United States Officers arrive in Burlington to investigate an illegal salvage operation and confiscate salvaged materials.

December: The City Mission conducted its mission to Battery Street.

August 3 1888: Street musicians performed before large crowds with an upright, hand cranked “Russian Piano” pulled around on a specially constructed cart.

February 4, 1889: The Free Press reported that “the ordinance regarding sleigh bells is constantly violated...and pedestrians frequently escape being run over by sleigh bells which steal upon them as noiselessly and swiftly as the sly cat upon its prey.”

April 11:A student of the UVM Medical College noticed that boys playing baseball on the corner lot of College and S. Winooski were using a human femur for their bat. It was purchased by the medical student for examination

June: A Gypsy camp was settled on the north section of Burlington. “their horses were loose upon the streets and did considerable damage in St. Joseph’s cemetery.”

The steamer Reindeer carried pilgrims from Burlington to St. Anne de Beaupre.

July: Personal “identification cards” are introduced to Burlington stores in case of accident when away from home. The cards also had blanks for the sizes of hosiery, gloves, and other personal items.

Barnum's advertising crew of twelve arrived in town to put up flyers everywhere for the coming circus.

1891: The Burlington German Club was formed. Nativism grows in local sentiment and in the press. "Old Yankees" are beginning to feel outnumbered by immigrants.

The Last Yankee

1893: Electric street cars of the Burlington Traction Company replace the horse-drawn railroad.

UVM Kakewalk begins.

1902: The Lumierre brothers, pioneers of motion pictures and photographic development, opened a plant on Lakeside Ave.

1903: Burlingtonian Horatio Jackson made the first trans-America trip by automobile. He returned to Burlington with great fanfare.

1904: Lake Champlain Tercentenary Celebration. President Taft visited Burlington.

August 18: Fletcher Free Library opened in its (current) Carnegie building.

1905: Baseball games begin at Centennial Field.

1910: J.E. Burke, Burlington’s first Irish Mayor was elected.

1915: A survey was made of the charities and housing conditions of Burlington. This study examined the hardship conditions of local widows, juvenile delinquents, deserted women, temperance, and immoral or criminal tendencies.

1916: The first train pulled into the newly completed Union Station.

September: The first movie made in Vermont, A Vermont Romance, was shown at Burlington’s Majestic theater.

1921: Paul Brummer became the first person to swim the broad lake between Willsboro point and Burlington.

1924: Bishop de Goesbriand Hospital opened.

August 8, 1924: The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception was broken into by two Burlington members of the Ku Klux Klan. They entered the church’s basement believing it held an enormous stockpile of weapons that would be used to massacre the inhabitants of New England.

September 17, 1925: Trinity College opened.

1926: Burlington Traction Company began bus service.

November 1927: A flood, called the greatest natural disaster to hit Vermont, washed out the Colchester Avenue bridge.

May 12, 1928: City Hall opened.

1929: Burlington’s airport begins with a small hanger and the Board of Airport Commission was organized.

The end of trolley service was celebrated with the public burning of a trolley on the city common.

1931: The Robert Hull Fleming Museum opened. It was originally an art and natural history museum.

WCAX Radio is founded.

1934: Elin Anderson’s book “We Americans” highlighted Burlington’s diverse ethnic population and social and economic divisions that fell along ethnic lines.

1939: The Fleming Museum holds a peace rally, protesting the rise of fascism in Europe. It is likely the first such demonstration in Vermont.

April 12, 1947- Mrs. Pearl Schmanska of Chase Lane was awarded the "Good Neighbor" Award by Tom Brennan of the "Breakfast in Hollywood" national radio show for her donation of Schmanska Park to the city.

May 1947-Two human skulls and various bones are dug up from the lawn at 52 North Street-burials from the War of 1812 encampment.

Burlingtonian Jack Carter receives a license to hold dances in Memorial Auditorium inspite of protests by Mayor Burns.

June 1947-Spanish-American War veterans hold their 35th annual meeting in Burlington and vote in favor of "America Preparedness" reflecting the growing concern that WWIII was imminent.

Verret's Grocery store on Church Street is destroyed by fire.

Three-day convention of veterans of the Civil War; their 65th annual encampment.

North Beach is packed with 4,000 swimmers seeking relief from the heat.

July-Police raid illegal gambling operations throughout the city.

September- A skeleton is dug up in the basement at 215 Elmwood Ave. It was the second one found in the basement in two years. A third was found two months later.

October-On the eve of the Freedom Train's arrival in Burlington, a massive torchlight parade weaves through the city watched by 40,000 onlookers.

March 1948-81-year old Francis Racicot, the last harness maker in Chittenden County, is beaten to death in his harness shop on Center Street. 26 year old Don Demag confesses to the crime.

May- an earthquake rattles the city.

June-4 fires are set in the Van Ness House. Employee Earl Williams is arrested for the arson.

"Operation Mansfield, a reenactment of D-Day landing, is held at North Beach by the UVM ROTC.

August -Vandalism spree hits the city with numerous opened fire hydrants, parking meters smashed, and cars splashed with paint.

September-just months after giving all employees a raise and increasing their vacation time, American Woolen Company lays off nearly half of its 700 employees.

December-Santa lands on Main Street in a helicopter greeted by a crowd of 6,000.

1951: The Van Ness Hotel, that stood for nearly a century at the corner of Main and St.Paul Streets, was destroyed by fire.

Pearl Street looking East, 1913

1915: A survey was made of the charities and housing conditions of Burlington. This study examined the hardship conditions of local widows, juvenile delinquents, deserted women, temperance, and immoral or criminal tendencies.

1916: The first train pulled into the newly completed Union Station.

September: The first movie made in Vermont, A Vermont Romance, was shown at Burlington’s Majestic theater.

August 14, 1920-Burlington Municipal Airport opens.

1921: Paul Brummer became the first person to swim the broad lake between Willsboro point and Burlington.

1924: Bishop de Goesbriand Hospital opened.

August 8, 1924: The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception was broken into by two Burlington members of the Ku Klux Klan. They entered the church’s basement believing it held an enormous stockpile of weapons that would be used to massacre the inhabitants of New England.

September 17, 1925: Trinity College opened.

1926: Burlington Traction Company began bus service.

November 1927: A flood, called the greatest natural disaster to hit Vermont, washed out the Colchester Avenue bridge.

May 12, 1928: City Hall opened.

1929: Burlington’s airport begins with a small hanger and the Board of Airport Commission was organized.

The end of trolley service was celebrated with the public burning of a trolley on the city common.

1931: The Robert Hull Fleming Museum opened. It was originally an art and natural history museum.

WCAX Radio is founded.

1934: Elin Anderson’s book “We Americans” highlighted Burlington’s diverse ethnic population and social and economic divisions that fell along ethnic lines.

May 22, 1934: Amelia Earhart lands at Burlington airport. She is given the key to the city by the Mayor.

1939: The Fleming Museum holds a peace rally, protesting the rise of fascism in Europe. It is likely the first such demonstration in Vermont.

1940s Content Under Development-Watch for Exciting Updates!

1951: The Van Ness Hotel, that stood for nearly a century at the corner of Main and St.Paul Streets, was destroyed by fire.

Church Street late 1950s
Church Street late 1950s | Source

1954: Burlington’s first TV station WCAX-TV begins broadcasting.

1956: Champlain College is founded.

June 1958: The neighborhood bound by Pearl, Water, St.Paul, and College Streets is voted a “slum” in order to gain Federal Urban Renewal funds. Burlington voters approve a $790,000.00 bond issued for Urban Renewal plans.

June 1965: The bulldozing of the Urban Renewal zone begins.

April-August: Anger rises among those losing their homes to Urban Renewal. Arsonists torch abandoned homes in the Urban Renewal zone. Smoke drifts across the city. Homes are looted in broad daylight of salvageable materials.

October 1966: Converse School falls to Urban Renewal bulldozers.

January 1967: 98 buildings bulldozed, 26 yet to go, 147 families, 63 individuals, and 31 businesses had been relocated.

February: Appeals are made to Federal and State agencies to assist with Burlington’s housing shortage that is delaying Urban Renewal progress. The forward progress of this massive project, that has already gutted a large, old and well established residential neighborhood in the center of Burlington, depends on Federal funding and the funding is dependent on accomplishing specific steps-such as providing alternative housing for the residents being displaced (their homes bulldozed). In Burlington, plans to build new housing in different parts of the city are repeatedly blocked by protesting residents who do not want the displaced residents placed in their neighborhood.

Mary Fletcher Hospital and Bishop de Goesbriand Hospital merge.

May: Eight families refuse to leave the Renewal zone, which by now is almost completely cleared of buildings.

August: The local story of "those who refuse to leave" the Urban Renewal zone centers on the Dutra family. They refuse to leave their home, where Mrs. Dutra was born and raised. she demanded an equal value home, which was impossible.

1969: The first new building is finished in the Urban Renewal zone at the corner of Pine and College Streets.

UVM Kakewalk thrills students, alumni, and resident for the last time; 19 years after the NAACP asked UVM to stop the event.

1970: Jet service begins at Burlington International Airport.

1971: St. Paul’s Cathedral is destroyed by arson.

1972: The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception is destroyed by arson.

The "Ecumenical Divide" is breached, Burlington Town Center made possible after a land swap between the destroyed churches and the city developers.

John and Roberta Dewey’s ashes are interred next to the Ira Allen Chapel.

1976: The rebuilt Cathedral of Immaculate Conception opens.

May 6, 1978: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream is launched in an old garage at the corner of St. Paul and College.

Corner of St. Paul & College Streets, the first Ben & Jerry's shop.
Corner of St. Paul & College Streets, the first Ben & Jerry's shop.

Bernie Speaks to Students at UVM

Bernie Sanders campaigns in Billings Library.
Bernie Sanders campaigns in Billings Library. | Source

1981: Socialist Bernie Sanders was elected Mayor of Burlington by 10 votes. National news announces it as 'the Russians are coming'.

October 17: Bricked over Church Street Marketplace officially opened as a pedestrian mall.

December 2, 1983 The band that would be known as Phish played its first gig at Harris-Millis Cafeteria at the University of Vermont as the "Blackwood Convention".

1986-Burlington Bike Path opened after 13 years in planning.

July 12, 1997-Church Street musician Richard Haupt, the "Clarinet Man", died of a heart attack in New Orleans after playing on Bourbon Street- his lifelong dream.

Most Famous Burlington Export

Which is the more famous Burlington export?

See results

Ice Storm Burlington

Source

January 5-9, 1998-Massive ice storm hits the Northeast. Burlington loses hundreds of trees, thousands are without power for days.

December 31, 1999-Governor Howard Dean seals the time capsule under the Millennium Clock in City Hall Park.

Click to Rate This Article