Community Partners Save Historic 1815 "Captain White" House - 2002
LCMM, partnering with the King Street Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, Preservation Trust of Vermont, and the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, has succeeded in purchasing the circa 1815 “Captain White House” (formerly known as Chicken Bone Café) at 43 King Street in Burlington’s historic waterfront district. The museum will demolish the building’s “ell” to make room for a single family home built by Habitat for Humanity, then restore the façade to its original appearance. The interior of the structure will be renovated for use as a classroom, community meeting space, and non-profit organization offices.
The museum’s interest in the Captain White House stems from its significance both as a critical link to the early maritime history of Burlington and Lake Champlain, and as one of the city’s oldest structures and best surviving examples of wooden Federal-style architecture. It is listed in the National Register as a contributor to the Battery Street Historic District.
Its historical associations also have great significance. In the early 1800s when everything that moved went by boat, and Lake Champlain was the only highway, the Captain White House, located one block from the main wharf, was a major component of maritime industry, interstate and international trade, and Burlington’s residential landscape. Over the years, it was owned by such important players in the history of Burlington and Lake Champlain as Thaddeus Tuttle, John Pomeroy, Robert White, Gideon King, Horatio Gates, Dan Lyon, and Henry Rolfe. Today it stands as a witness to the prominence of Burlington in the earliest days of the nineteenth century: its harbor, its industries, and its people.
LCMM is grateful to Fred Bay and the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation for providing core funding for this project, and to the Chittenden Bank Community Fund, Vermont Conservation and Housing Board, Oakland Foundation, Bob Beach, Jr., Art Cohn, Philip Drumheller, Ernie Pomerleau, and Bill Sperry.
The museum is pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, King Street Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, Habitat for Humanity, and City of Burlington in this effort designed to preserve the historic identity of the King Street neighborhood, improve the quality of life of its residents, increase the economic vitality of Burlington’s waterfront district and advance the revitalization of “downtown” Burlington. Beyond all that, having a year-round classroom and meeting space in Burlington will ensure that LCMM can build upon the successes of its Burlington Shipyard and Schooner-building project and extend the reach of its humanities programs to both children and adults in Chittenden County.