J.J. Flynn Elementary School Home Page

Who was J.J. Flynn?
Home ]  

 

John James Flynn was born in Dorset, Vermont, June 22, 1854. His parents, James and Catherine (Shea) Flynn, immigrated from Ireland as a young couple. His father began working as a day laborer for the Bennington and Rutland Railroad, and had risen to the position of superintendent and section foreman. John went to school in Dorset, but left school in his early teens in order to get a job in Burlington.

He first worked for James A. Shedd, president of the Burlington Savings Bank, who owned a dairy farm. Within a year he was managing the farm, and he later turned to other business interests. For the remainder of his life, Mr. Flynn became involved in a number of other commercial ventures. First he turned from farming to groceries, then began acquiring a real estate empire including farms and timber lands, housing, and later streetcars, electricity and gas services, and banking.

 



He built the Burlington Traction Company, which provided Burlington, Winooski, Colchester, Essex Junction, and Essex Town with electric streetcar service. In 1901 he founded the Chittenden Trust Company and built its main bank at the corner of Church and College Streets. He also owned the Flynn and Majestic Theatres. He was active in charitable organizations and served on the Burlington Parks commission for several years.

He married Nellie F. Waite of Dorset in 1877. She was keenly interested in flowers and plants and wrote a book titled "The Flora of Burlington and Vicinity", published by Mr. Flynn after her death December 22, 1922. He also financed the construction of the Goddard College Herbarium in her honor and placed her plant collection there. They had no children.

 

Mr. Flynn's real estate holdings included Starr Farm and Star Farm Beach where he had maintained a summer house. After his death September 12, 1940, these holdings went to a trust owned jointly by the hospital and the Chittenden Bank. His will asked that the farm remain in operation "as long as the sun still shines and the grass is still green". The farm still stables horses, though most of its lands are now overgrown, the barn is in disrepair, and there is no permanent caretaker to keep it up. Starr Farm Beach remains a group of summer houses on leased lands. The property on which Flynn School now sits was formerly a hayfield belonging to Starr Farm, but was seized by the city by the power of eminent domain in 1952. The trust raised no objections, and after construction the school opened in 1953. Opening ceremonies were presided over by Mayor Moran and School Board Chairman Floyd Moore. Designed by architect William Freeman, the original building cost $300,000 and had 7 classrooms. Three additions have been built since then, and the school now has 21 classrooms, a library, computer lab, art room, music room, gymnasium, and multi-use area. A city park was also recently added behind the school.