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A BRIEF HISTORY OF AIKEN HALL

Year of Construction: 1885
Original Owner: Frederick Kennedy
Year Acquired by Champlain College: 1981

Aiken Hall

Aiken Hall was designed by the architect A.B. Fisher, who designed many homes and office buildings in Burlington between 1870 and 1893. Fisher originally came from Albany, New York, and lived first in Barre, Vermont and then in Burlington.

The house was built in 1885 for Frederick Kennedy, who was not only involved in civic affairs in the city but also in turn the manager of the Burlington Woolen Company, the Colchester Mills, and the Burlington Flouring Company. Designed in the Queen Anne style, the house cost $15,000 to build. Mr. Kennedy was so intent on having every modern convenience in his new home that he even petitioned the city of Burlington to have telephone poles erected on Summit Street so that service would be available between his office at the woolen mills and his home.

In 1900, Mr. Kennedy moved to rooms over the Masonic Temple on Church Street, and in 1902, the house was bought by General Stephen Perry Jocelyn, who wanted to settle his family in Burlington before setting off to the Philippines in 1902. General Jocelyn later commanded a military unit that was posted to San Francisco to help with earthquake relief in 1906.

The house was inherited by his daughter Dorothy and her husband William Westervelt. Throughout most of the 20th century, Burlingtonians knew the house and its formal gardens as the "Westervelt Estate." William Westervelt died in 1960, and his widow continued to live there until her death in 1981. The estate was sold soon thereafter to Champlain College by the Westervelt's daughter, Jane.

Aiken Hall is named for Lola Aiken, widow of the late Governor of Vermont and Senator George Aiken. Mrs. Aiken was a trustee of Champlain College for many years.


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