You are here

Phi Gamma Delta (William Wells House)

-A A +A
William Wells House
1877, Gilbert B. Croff; A. B. Fisher, builder. 158 S. Willard St., City of Burlington
  • (Photograph by Curtis B. Johnson, C. B. Johnson Photography)

In the 1870s, Civil War general William Wells moved his family patent-medicine business (Wells Richardson and Co.) from Waterbury to Burlington, and by 1875 he had hired Saratoga, New York, architect Croff to design his house. That year, Croff published the house as the frontispiece of his Progressive American Architecture (1875), describing it as “an elegant villa executed on a lofty eminence in the City of Burlington, Vermont, overlooking the bay of Burlington and the Adirondack Mountains.” The eminence Croff mentioned was a parcel on a still sparsely developed Willard Street acquired from the Lawrence Barnes estate. The villa is a symmetrical, bracketed brick block with an advancing central tower and multistory polygonal bay windows. Croff wrapped the first floor with an Italianate veranda and capped the house with slate mansard roofs and iron crestings. The tall mansards, attenuated windows, and narrow dormers give Croff's published design a characteristically vertical thrust. As executed by A. B. Fisher, who became one of the city's most important builder-architects, the house is slightly less busy and assertive, though far more animated than Burlington's earlier, Italianate houses.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Phi Gamma Delta (William Wells House)", [Burlington, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 158-158.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.