Old Images of Burlington, Vermont

An old photo of the corner of Main Street and St Paul's Street in downtown Burlington, Vermont

Glimpse history through old images of Burlington, Vermont.

Old Photos of Burlington VT

These old photos of the city’s residents going about their lives are so packed with small details that I’ve added a couple of closeups of each image.

Old Films of Burlington VT

1940s Burlington

This video looks at aerial pictures of the city taken in the 1940s, and talks about the buildings that can be seen.

Burlington , Vt 1940’s – petechag on YouTube

1960s Snow

In the late 1960s, a family made a home video of the deep snow covering their street.

Winter, late ’60’s, Burlington, VT – Little Joyce on YouTube

1991 Drive

On April 7th, 1991, two young men made a home video of their drive through Burlington and Winooski.

Burlington, VT in 1991 – Winooski, St. Mike’s – donavide on YouTube

History of Burlington VT

Key moments in Burlington’s History

  • June 7, 1763: Governor Benning Wentworth awards land on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain to Samuel Willis and 63 other men, as part of the New Hampshire grants
  • Summer 1775: Settlers began clearing land, and built two or three log huts
  • 1775 – 1783: the American Revolutionary War
  • 1783: Stephen Lawrence and his family arrived in the area
  • 1785: the town of Burlington is created
  • 1791: the University of Vermont is founded
  • 1808: the world’s first lake-going steamboat was built here
  • 1812: the state of Vermont supported the Federalist Party, opposing the War of 1812, refusing to provide militia units or financial help, but Burlington’s university buildings and other facilities housed up to 5,000 troops, with about 500 of them dying from diseases of poor santitation
  • August 2, 1813: the British shelled Burlington with cannon fire for about 10 minutes, with little American response
  • 1823: the Champlain Canal is completed
  • 1825: the Erie Canal is completed
  • 1843: the Chambly Canal is completed
  • 1853: the Vermont Central Railroad uses the ravine to connect the waterfront and the mills in Winooski
  • 1863: the railroad was re-routed
  • 1865: Burlington becomes a city, having grown into a busy lumbering and manufacturing center with great freight and passenger transport links via the wharves, canals, steamboats, and railroad. The first Mayor is Albert L. Catlin.
  • 1870: the Pine Street Barge Canal is completed
  • 1873: the Fletcher Free Library opened on Church Street
  • 1880: the ravine became part of the new sewer system
  • 1880s: the ravine was filled with garbage, creating downtown development land for the rapidly increasing population
  • 1871: E.C. Ryde designs the Lakeview Cemetary grounds
  • 1882: the Howard Mortuary Chapel in Lakeview Cemetery was completed
  • 1886: At the Burlington Winter Carnival, the first known international ice hockey match takes place, between the Montreal Crystals and a team from local hotel Van Ness House
  • 1901: Nine days before he became President, Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt came to the city to speak to a Civil War fraternal group
  • 1904: the Fletcher Free Library is replaced by the larger Beaux-Arts style building funded by Andrew Carnegie, built on what had been the railroad ravine
  • 1971-72: the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Paul and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception are destoyed by an arsonist, and are rebuilt in modern styles
  • 1973: Problems with the ravine foundations of the Fletcher Free Library led to the relocation of the book collection, threatened demolition and then listing of the building on the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1978: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company is launched by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield from a former gas station
  • 1981: the saved Carnegie Building of the Fletcher Free Library now has a modern addition completed
  • 1981-89: Bernie Sanders serves as the city’s mayor
  • 2009: the U.S. Environmental Protection Ageny’s Superfund porgram helps clean up the Pine Street Barge Canal
  • 2010: the city’s population stands at 42,417
  • 2020: the city’s population stands at 44,743, making it the least populous city to be also the most-populous city in its state.

This video from the History Channel includes a fascinating range of pictures showing Burlington’s historic buildings as they were in the past, and then as they were in the 21st century.

History of Burlington, Vermont / History of towns in United States – History_Channel on YouTube

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