The South End Arts District:
The South End Arts District is a vibrant area where artists and entrepreneurs strive to use their crafts to bring the community together. With collaborative efforts of gallery venues, unique shopping experiences, and locally-produced foods there’s something to be found for everyone. Through different events and happenings, fun can be found all year-round which makes it a lively area to visit and is well-worth the trip.
There are plenty of galleries in the South End which have art available to view year-round. Each first Friday of the month is celebrated with a community-wide event titled First Friday Art Walk where dozens of art venues across the city host openings, exhibitions, and happenings. Among these located in the South End are the SPACE Gallery and Studio Collective, the Davis Studio, and Flynn Avenue to name a few. Although the main opening for the event is the first Friday, most of the art is available for viewing at each gallery throughout the whole month.
If you’re looking for something to take home with you, there are many businesses in the South End which offer unique collectibles and antiques. Consignment shops like Battery Street Jeans and Barge Canal Market have a selection of great finds whether you’re looking for furniture or clothing. Need a light fixed? Stop by Conant Metal & Light and they’ll be able to help you out. The best part about the South End is that it’s filled with locally-owned small businesses who have your best interests in mind.
If you’re getting hungry, there are plenty of options to satisfy your hunger cravings in the South End. Stop by and grab a bagel at Feldman’s Bagel shop, or for those hot summer days you could grab some fro-yo at SoYo Frozen Yogurt. Pine Street is also a popular area for food trucks in the summer as well so there’s really something for everyone.
Even though manufacturing in Burlington began to develop in 1827, it wasn’t until 1886 that the South End began to take shape. There were two main factors which contributed to this industrial growth; One of which was an addition to the branch lines of the Burlington & Winooski House Railroad. The other was Charles W. Scarff’s and A. O. Ferguson’s purchase of the 100 acre Foster Farm, an area which is now occupied by Home Avenue, Shelburne Road, Flynn Avenue, and the railroad lines. From there, Scarff and Ferguson caved 18 residential city blocks from the farm which sold quickly. As the residency of the area grew, the manufacturing district along Pine Street grew as well. By the turn of the 20th century, many new businesses were calling the South End their home. These included the Malt Food Company (later re-named to Maltex), E.B & A.C. Whiting Company, and the Welsh Brothers Maple Company.
By the mid 1900s, most of the original companies had ceased their production long ago and many of the buildings in the South End had remained vacant for quite some time. However, in the 1970s a renaissance began transforming the old factory area of Pine Street when Ray Unsworth purchased the Whiting Building and turned it into the Howard Space Center. From there, other entrepreneurs followed suit and began to form an area that provided artisans and small businesses a more affordable and professional environment in which to conduct business which has grown into the community that exists in the South End Arts District today.