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Burlington City Hall

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1928, William M. Kendall for McKim, Mead and White. 149 Church St., City of Burlington

Presenting major facades to both Church Street and City Hall Square, City Hall occupies the site of Burlington's second county courthouse and its town hall of 1853. McKim, Mead and White, who were then at work on the Ira Allen Chapel for UVM (CH19.1), were responsible for the design, which was selected from a twenty-six-firm competition. Kendall's design drew inspiration and motifs from public buildings in the colonies and early republic. The massing and the plaques between the floors are reminiscent of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, though the Burlington tower is centered on a hipped roof. Much less robust in proportions, the Palladian belfry, lantern, and dome echo motifs from the tower of Ira Allen Chapel. The stone base and white pilasters recall Peter Harrison's Brick Market in Newport, Rhode Island, though the terminal bays are marked with quoins rather than paired pilasters and the central bays are accentuated. Above Georgian doors with broken scrolled pediments, swags frame cartouches with invented arms of Burlington, combining heraldry drawn from the earls of Burlington, the French crown, and early Vermont. The use of local materials gives this decorative and allusion-filled building a degree of Vermont authenticity: Proctor marble for the Corinthian pilasters and door arches, Barre granite, West Pawlet slate, and Essex Junction brick.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Burlington City Hall", [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, 160-161.

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