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Vergennes, Vermont By Bryan Sawyer.

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1 Vergennes, Vermont By Bryan Sawyer

2 History of Vergennes Founded and incorporated as a city on Sept. 29, 1788, 1st in VT and 3rd in New England, taking parts of neighboring towns. (1) Ethan Allen suggested its name to honor the Comte de Vergennes, the French minister of foreign affairs and negotiator of the Treaty of Paris. (1) Its location at the falls of Otter Creek made it a center of manufacturing and trade that grew rapidly in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. (1) A fleet was built here in the War of 1812 that successfully defended Lake Champlain against British invasion. (1) Businesses started booming again after Champlain Canal was built, connecting Lake Champlain to the Hudson River. (1) The city declined in the 1930s, and today remains the smallest city in Vermont. (1)

3 Map of Vergennes City Hall & Opera House Vergennes Union High School
Bixby Memorial Library Bub’s Barn Shaded area is city limits of Vergennes. Source: Google Maps

4 Vergennes City Hall and Opera House
The building is the site of city hall, the opera house, and the police station. Built in 1897; architects were Chappell and Smith of Rutland, Vermont. (1) Closed in the early 1970s due to falling into disrepair. (2) Later restored and reopened in July, (2)

5 Front elevation of the City Hall & Opera House.
The tall structure behind the building is the water tower, one of the tallest structures in Vergennes.

6 Partial view of the right elevation.
Close-up of the clock in front of the main entrance.

7 Looking down at the entrance (main entrance doors on the right).
Past the double doors, City Offices on the left and Police Station on the right. Stage of the Opera House, on the second story of the building.

8 Bixby Memorial Library
Named after local businessman, William Grove Bixby, who, upon his death in 1907, left most of his estate to fund the building of a library. (3) Architect was G. Frederick Frost of New York City. (1) Construction began in September, (3) Opened on November 4, (3) The library is Neo-Classical Greek Revival style. (3)

9 Front elevation of the Bixby Library.

10 View of the front and left elevations.
The porch faces to the west. View of the back and right elevations. Exterior part of the dome can be seen.

11 Looking up at the glass interior dome.
Rotunda of the Library. Columns are steel covered in scagliola, to resemble marble. (3)

12 Bub’s Barn Built in 1931, it was the largest barn of its kind in Vermont. (4) It has been owned by the Crosby family since it was built. (4) In 1986 to 1989, it was converted from agricultural use to retail space for furniture. (4) Business motto, “The cows paid for the barn so you don't have to!” is true. (4)

13 Back elevation of Bub’s Barn.

14 Front elevation of Bub’s Barn.
Front elevation of the barn before it was converted for retail space. Source: (4)

15 Second story of the barn, also known as “Bub’s Loft”.
First story of the barn

16 Vergennes Union High School
Built in 1959, it replaced the old, smaller Vergennes High School building downtown. (5) Renovated in 2001 with many additions, including a new entrance, an expanded library, and a second, larger gymnasium. Architects: Alfred T. Granger Associates (1959); Banwell Architects (2001). (Sources: plaques on the wall near the main entrance of the building.)

17 Front elevation: Main Entrance
Front elevation: Auditorium Front elevation: Library

18 Aerial view of the High School after it was originally built in 1959.
Aerial view of the High School after additions were made in 2001. Additions to the building display more modern elements than the older parts, such as large windows and displaying the steel frame instead of mostly brick walls, and the roofs of some additions are not flat like the rest of the building. Both of these pictures are on display on the wall near the main entrance. Photographers unknown.

19 The old gymnasium was part of the original 1959 building and is still in use.
The new gymnasium was part of the additions made in 2001, making it the preferable one to use for home games. The new gym has a larger area of windows, letting in more light. The retractable bleachers display the initials of the school, VUHS, and are made of plastic instead of wood. Despite these and other differences, the floor is mostly the same in both gyms.

20 The auditorium was also part of the original 1959 building.
The hallway just outside the library, to the left. Although within the original 1959 building, the skylight above it was likely part of the 2001 additions. Art made by students is frequently displayed here.

21 Bibliography VT State Register of Historic Places. The Historic Architecture of Addison County. 1992 History – Vergennes Opera House. n.p., Web. 25/11/11. <> History | Bixby Memorial Library. n.p., n.d. Web. 25/11/11. <> Emerson, Ellen. Bub’s Barn, Home Furnishings, Vergennes, Vermont, Addison County. n.p., n.d. Web. 25/11/11. <> Vergennes Union High School 1959 Yearbook (Bixby Library collection). n.p Print.

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