History of Perry Hall

Edward PhelpsThe former residence was built in 1859 by lawyer and diplomat Edward Phelps (pictured at right), and is one of only 11 houses in the South Willard Street Historic District that predates the Civil War. Original owner Phelps, who served in the administrations of Presidents Cleveland and Fillmore, sold the home to local financier John J. Flynn in 1913. Flynn, the founder of Chittenden Bank and many other ventures throughout Vermont, was one of the largest landowners in Burlington at the time.

Flynn's wife, Nellie, had a lifelong interest in native flora of Vermont, published the "Flora of Burlington" in 1911. Her extensive collection of 22,700 specimens is now part of a permanent collection of state flora at Goddard College. The Flynn name adorns Burlington's famous theater, as well as Flynn Avenue. Upon his death in 1940, Flynn bequeathed the house to the City of Burlington to serve as a home for older men.

However, faced with high operating costs for the home, the city sold it to Gilbert Brewer, who in turn sold the home to Dr. and Mrs. Martin Cannon in 1955. The Cannon family lived in the home until 2004 when Champlain College purchased it. It was renamed Roger H. Perry Hall to honor the then-retiring president. It remained vacant until work began in May 2009 and reopened in July 2010 after complete renovation and expansion.


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