Burlington in Chittenden County, Vermont — The American Northeast (New England)
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Burlington's Little Italy
—“Piccola Italia” —
Imagine yourself back in time...
If you were standing here in 1959, you would see a neighborhood that included a Catholic Cathedral, grammar and high schools and many small businesses such as gas stations, auto dealers and boat companies, dry cleaning services, a dentist office, a barbershop, bakeries, an insurance company, rental housing, restaurants and taverns, grocery stores, a funeral home, a commuunity center, and the homes of more than 160 families.
Many of the people, but not all the people, who lived here were the sons and daughters of Italian immigrants who came to Burlington in the early 1900s in search of work. They were employed by the railroad, the shipping industry, the lumber trade, and various industries based in the city. Like most immigrant groups, the Italians chose to live near family or others who shared their language and customs. Community groups, like the Twin City Italian Club, were established to help members integrate into the political process and to organize social events. The Burlington Community Center provided literacy classes, a nursery school, infant health clinics, Americanization classes and club activities for all ages. It was remembered as a place where women and girls gathered for bridal and baby showers and special holiday parties for the children.
Americanization classes showing left to right Mrs. Madeline Albarelli, Mrs. Stella Merola, Miss Harriet Levenson (UVM class of 1948), Mrs. Christina Beaudino, Miss Helen Wolf (UVM class of 1946), Mrs. Angela, Mrs. Angela Evelti, and Mrs. Benton Holm in 1945. )Images above and right courtesy of UVM Baily Howe LIbrary, Special Collections. Image above and top right also courtesy of the Detore Collection.
The Community Center's annual pet show was featured in Life Magazine on May 26, 1958.
"It was important for our family of 10 to sit down and eat together. As the family grew we moved to the living room and finally into the basement kitchen in order to accommodate three generations. We never left the table hungry!" - John Varrichione
"My father, Louie
1886 Immigrants from Italy arrive in Vermont seeking opportunites in America.
1933 Twin City Italian Club is established with 36 members.
1941 Bove's Family Restaurant opens December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.
1942 Community Center (today known as the Sara Holbrook Center) opens on College Street.
1958 Burlington voters approve a referendum to apply for Urban Renewal monies from the federal government.
1960 First approval for Champlain Street Urban Renewal Project, a four square block area.
1963 The City receives final approval to begin demolition of the four square block area encompassing 27 acres.
1966 Demolition begins in May.
1968 Victoria Dutra and her family at the "Ponderosa" the last home standing.
1970s The federal government discontinued the Urban Renewal Program and demolition actions in Burlington ceased.
1983 Vermont Italian Cultural Association (VICA) is formed mostly with out-of-state transplants who coined the phrase "Little Italy Burlington"
2011 Interpretive signs recognize the neighborhood lost to Urban Renewal.
This interpretive sign is one of a series of three signs interpreting the lives of over 150 families who once called this 4 square block area home until the late 1960s. We invite you to explore this old ethnic community and learn more about the daily lives of this predominately Italian neighborhood, proudly installed by the Vermont Italian Club. (The three sign locations are indicated in orange on map at left.)
Erected by Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
Location. 44° 28.827′ N, 73° 12.864′ W. Marker is in Burlington, Vermont, in Chittenden County. Marker is at the intersection of Pearl Street and Saint Paul Street, on the right when traveling west on Pearl Street. Touch for map. Marker is at the south side of the federal courthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11 Elmwood Avenue, Burlington VT 05401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Meeting House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Church Street Marketplace (about 400 feet away); First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House (about 500 feet away); Saint-Joseph Parish (approx. 0.2 miles away); 103 Church Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); Neighborhood Groceries (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of the Old Gas Station (approx. ¼ mile away); Howard William Plant memorial (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
Categories. • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 15, 2018, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 15, 2018, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.