Thetford Hill Historic District
Municipality: Thetford, VT
Location: Thetford Hill
Site Type: Historic District
Vt Survey No: 0911-001
UTMs: (Zone 18) A. 723360/4855160. B. 722820/4854640. C. 722530/4854610. D. 722660/4855590
National Register Nomination Information:
The Thetford Hill Historic District is comprised of 37 properties, including 64 structures (42 contributing) and one contributing site, representing the first village established in the Town of Thetford. As its name suggests Thetford Hill is a hilltop flat with breathtaking views eastward towards rolling New Hampshire hills and Mt. Moosilauke. Almost all of the buildings in the district are residential in nature, arranged in linear fashion facing Academy Road which extends in a north-south direction and Route 113 which intersects with the north end of Academy Road, running in an east-west orientation. The town common is located at the intersection of these two roads with a dirt road running along the west side of the common, also connecting Rt. 113 and Academy Road. The district also includes two structures on Houghton Hill which extends northerly from the Academy Road/113 intersection. The focal point of the district, the First Congregational Church, moved from its original location on the common and enhanced by a pavilion and tower in 1830, stands at the north end of the common. Indeed, it was the building of the meetinghouse that commenced the existence of the village and thus, this district.
With the exception of the Thetford Hill Academy buildings which rise from a low, cleared hill at the southern end of the district, most of the buildings in the district are set on relatively flat lots shaded by substantial, mature trees. For the most part those houses on the east side of Academy Road are set close to the street, their proximity to the road due in part to the straightening out of the road over the years. The rear of these lots slope gently downhill. Those on the west side are generally set back from the road by deep lawns, which in part consist of a border strip of common land along the street marked midlawn by granite posts. Several houses of later construction have filled backlots while a few older houses have been moved back from the road for privacy. The dense elm trees which once lined the common have all but disappeared. Similarly, Norway spruces were planted to line Houghton Hill Road. Ornamental plantings and fruit trees in the area northeast of the intersection of Houghton Hill and Route 113 recall the state's first commercial nursery established here in 1852. Open fields are located between some of the buildings at the lower end of the east side of Academy Road. A single house retains a picket fence representative of the many fences which outlined the properties in the 19th century.
With few exceptions, the buildings of the district predate the Civil War. Almost half of the structures were built before 1830 with the periods 1810-1830 and 1840-1860 seeing the greatest amount of building activity. Stylistically, the Federal and Gothic Revival predominate, followed by the Greek Revival and Georgian. Modest Capes and Classic Cottages comprise the majority, complemented by several very elaborate homes. Common design features include doorways capped by fans and framed by half sidelights. A number of houses are adorned by enclosed gable entrance porches. Where construction has occurred in the twentieth century, care has been taken to recreate the basic features including the plan, massing and details of the building being replaced. Building activity in the first third of the twentieth century has not negatively altered the villagescape.
Almost all of the buildings are of frame and clapboard construction; a few have been covered in synthetic sidings. The existence of a local brickyard operated by Hezekiah Porter during the 19th century made possible the construction of three brick houses within the district. All of the buildings in the district can be characterized as being in good to excellent condition.
Descriptions of the buildings contained in the district begin at the northwest corner of the district with the American Legion and continue clockwise, concluding with the common.
1. Thetford Hill School (American Legion Hall), (n. side Rt. 113), 1910. Contributing.
This, the last schoolhouse to serve District #10, (there were 15 districts in town at one time) was preceded on the site by at least two other school structures. The Thetford Hill School District was organized in 1792 though the first district school, a log building, apparently didn't open until 1798 and was located near the meetinghouse. A schoolhouse was at the present location of the Legion Hall by 1819.(1) Records show that a previous school on the site burned in 1851(2) and its successor underwent extensive repairs in 1898 before the present school was constructed in 1910. Subject to sporadic enrollments, the school was closed for a few years before it was remodelled and opened again in 1936. Its use as a school was discontinued in 1945 and it was sold to the American Legion in 1952 for $800.(3)
2. First Congregational Church, (n. side Rt. 113), 1785-1788, (moved & altered 1830). Contributing.
The side elevations of the original block are each three bays with two stories of windows, each containing 15/15 doublehung sash, capped by entablature lintels and framed by louvered blinds with additional blinds separating the windows between floors. The rear elevation has flush eaves. The roof is sheathed in asphalt shingles. Extending behind is a two story gabled addition 5 bays deep. A projecting gable porch supported by Roman Doric columns marks the bay closest to the church on the west side, sheltering a set of double doors with transom above a concrete set of stairs with wrought iron railing. Windows on the addition are 8/8 doublehung with plain surrounds. An additional entrance is located at the rear. The addition, constructed between 1923 and 1940 contains a day care center, kitchen and the pastor's study. Horsesheds which once stood on the lot have long since been removed.
Attempts were made to organize the Congregational Church as early as 1771, making the congregation among the five earliest in the state. As was typical of the day, the meetinghouse was intended to serve both public and religious functions. Following the customary dispute over the location of the meetinghouse in town, the structure was erected at what is now the south end of the common, marking the beginning of the village of Thetford Hill. Begun in 1785 it was probably completed in 1788. In 1812 the Congregational Church ceased to be supported by taxes. The conflict between church and state resulted in the sale of the meetinghouse and its subsequent move in 1830 from the town-owned common to its present site. The cost of the move and resulting repairs was the gift of William Child, who bid $128 for the meetinghouse and then had it moved and repaired at a total cost of $1500. The pavilion and tower date from this period and are indicative of a blend of Federal and Greek Revival influences. The church is reportedly the oldest meetinghouse in the state still in continuous service.
The interior of the church underwent extensive alterations in 1857-58. At this time, the high pulpit was replaced; pews rebuilt; platform lowered; floor raised; the eliptical arch at the rear of the sanctuary added, as well as the plaster cornice and chandeliers. The walls were painted to resemble brickwork in two shades of brown. Charles F. Latham was architect. In 1908 the platforms were enlarged, panels added and walls redecorated.(4)
3. James White House (Young House), (nw corner Rt. 113 & Houghton Hill Road), c. 1789. Contributing.
The house stands on the lot, though not the exact site of the first homestead in Thetford Hill which belonged to Beriah Loomis.(5) During his lifetime Loomis built four houses in the Thetford Hill District, two of which survive (see #17,19). Loomis sold his original homestead in 1789 to James White who apparently built the house that now stands on the site. As the first settler on the hill, Loomis' arrival preceded both the construction of the Meetinghouse in 1785 and the surveying of Rt. 113 in 1793. An extremely influential local citizen, Loomis was a deacon of the Church, representative to the General Assembly and Governor's Council, and Assistant Judge of the County Court. He also took part in the admittance of Vermont to the Union in 1791.
3A. Barn, c. 1789. Contributing. Northeast of the house is a gabled clapboarded outbuilding with a sliding door on its facade. Beneath the asphalt shingled roof the eaves are flush. The window openings contain modern sash. There is a hay loft door located above the sliding door.
4. S.Y. Closson House (Wolstenholme House), (e. side of Houghton Hill Road), 1853 (6). Contributing.
The house was constructed in 1853 for S. Y. Closson, who also appears as owner on the 1858 Wallings map. The house is of interest as the residence of H. P. Closson, proprietor with E. C. Worcester of one of the earliest commercial nurseries in the state, established in 1852. Closson joined Worcester as a partner in 1865 and subsequently purchased the stock in 1871, rebuilding and enlarging the greenhouses.(7) In the twentieth century this house is notable for its associations with Camp Hanoun, the rest of the street comprising what was known as the "Hill Camp". As the headquarters of the Camp, the house was known as "The Lodge". Camp director, Charles Farnsworth made his home here after 1924 and was responsible for the 1929 alterations.
5. Ezra Worcester House (O'Brien House), (ne corner Houghton Hill Road & Route 113), 1851. Contributing.
Windows on the structure are a mixture of doublehung 6/6 and 1/1. A two story ell extends north behind the building resting on a brick and concrete foundation. A small shed extends from the rear wall with a single 9/9 window. Remaining windows are 6/6 with lipped lintels. An attached barn with garage opening and concrete block foundation is offset to the northeast. A wooden deck of recent construction spans the east side of the main house and ell.
The house was built by Dr. Ezra C. Worcester (1816-1887) as a residence with a medical dispensary located in the ell. In addition to his medical practice and involvement with Thetford Academy in 1850, Worcester also established in Thetford Hill one of the earliest commercial nurseries in the state. An associate,. H. P. Closson purchased the business in 1871, rebuilding and enlarging the greenhouses.(8)
6. Alanson Morey House (Porter House), (north side of Route 113), 18219. Contributing.
The house was apparently built by Alanson Morey, a blacksmith, in 1821. Morey had moved to Bradford by 1836.(10) Owned by the Worcester Family for many years, the house was part of one of the earliest commercial nurseries in the state, established in Thetford Hill in 1852 and is enhanced by several outbuildings which survive.
6A. Barns, 19th c. Contributing. Northeast of the house, with a large, central opening on its broad, eaves side, facing the street, is a former horse barn, now serving as a garage. The horse barn is constructed of barnboard with a sheet metal roof, with a pass door to the left of the main entrance. It is connected to a larger gablefronted cow barn offset to the east. The cow barn displays a large double leaf vertical board with multi paned transom and 9/6 windows and is apparently the older of the two. The barn rests on a fieldstone foundation. On the east elevation the basement is at grade level; on the south the grade is built up as a ramp. There are three pairs of 12 lights along the eaves on the east elevation. A corrugated metal roof caps the barn. The triangular steep shed roof structure in front of the horse barn is thought to have been used in the Worcester mail order nursery and later as a feed box. Apple trees on the property act as additional evidence of former nursery activity.(11)
6B. Watering Box, c. 1850. Contributing. In front of the barns, the small, tall windowless shed is a springfed double watering box for horses.
7. Timothy Clary House (Lewis House), (n. side of Rt. 113), 1852(12). Contributing.
A 1-1/2 story, 3 x 2 bay frame and clapboard structure, one of several in the district displaying elements of the vernacular Greek Revival and Gothic Revival styles. Set above a brick foundation, the house is distinguished by two steeply pitched gable wall dormers with widely overhanging eaves. Centered on the facade, above a flight of wooden steps, is a four panel door flanked by full sidelights and capped by a peaked lintel. Attenuated smooth columns act as unexpected cornerboards for the structure. The elongated first floor windows contain 6/6 doublehung sash lintels with louvered blinds. Second floor windows, in the cross gable and side gables are smaller, also of a 6/6 configuration. A single offcenter brick chimney projects from the steeply pitched asphalt roof. A screened porch spans the east side of the house while a single story ell extends behind, apparently contemporary with the main house, with similar 6/6 windows and a brick foundation. At the end of the ell is a low gabled two car garage of modern plywood paneling construction. According to deed research by local historian Charlotte McCartney, the house was built in 1852 for Timothy Clary. It is shown on historic maps as belonging to J. Farr in 1858 and 1877. An additional house shown belonging to Farr, east of this house, has long since disappeared.
8. Hiram Coombs House (Barker House), (n. side of Rt. 113), 1826 (13). Contributing.
8A. Barn, c. 1840. Contributing. Located northwest of the house is a single story barnboard structure, set gable front to the street. On the east elevation, three carriage bays have been boarded up; clipped corners are still visible.
9. Coombs Barn, (n. side of Rt. 113), c. 1840. Contributing.
9A. Ash House, c. 1850 (moved and altered 1982). Noncontributing. East of the barn is this small brick structure with gable roof. This former ash house was moved from the Sheldon Miller Barn on Middlebrook Road in 1982 and was recently rebuilt. It is noncontributing within the district due to its disassembling and moving.
9B. Carriage Sheds, 1982. Noncontributing. Next to this is a series of single story carriage sheds of vertical board construction featuring three double doors with clipped corners and a standing seam metal gable roof .
9C. Storage building, 1985. Noncontributing. A gable roofed structure clad in vertical boards above a concrete foundation with a metal roof. Rectangular in plan, it is set broadside to the street with double metal doors and a multi light picture window on the facade. Located on the site of a former distillery.
Open to the public several times a year, the society uses these structures for exhibition space.
10. Roger Ranstead House (Van Ells House), (s. side Rt. 113 west of Godfrey Road), c.1800-1809 (14). Contributing.
The earliest known owner of this property was Roger Ranstead, a tanner who came to Thetford Hill in 1795 from Putney. Tax records indicate a more modest house may have preceded this house.(15) It is unclear whether the present structure actually incorporates this structure or not. Local historians thus differ on the age of the house. According to deed research, Charlotte McCartney dates it to c.1800-1809, while stylistically a slightly later date may be more accurate. Ranstead achieved local notoriety for putting an end to whipping in town by chopping down the whipping post. The upper story of this house was badly damaged by a fire in 1963 and was subsequently largely rebuilt.
11. Sturman House (s. side Rt. 113), c. 1920. Contributing.
11A. Garage, c. 1920. Contributing. Southwest of the house is a single car, clapboarded garage with double doors and cornice returns on its gable ends. Corner and fascia boards, cornice returns and a molded cornice decorate the small structure under an asphalt shingled roof. Double hinged doors with 8-pane toplights over vertical panels open from the gable front. A 8/8 window with molded surround punctuates each of the side elevations.
12. Raymond Vaughan House, (s. side of Rt. 113), 1937-8 with earlier components. Contributing.
During the Hurricane of 1938, the house was swung around and caught on the base for the fireplace, thus preventing the house from ending up at the bottom of Thetford Hill. Due to the hurricane, the house's final location differed slightly from the proposed location.(16)
12A. Garage, c. 1940. Noncontributing. A gable roofed, concrete block garage with a double wide, overhead door is located northwest of the house. The gable is sheathed in flushboard. The garage is noncontributing within the district due to its relatively recent date of construction.
13. Vaughan House, (s. side of Rt. 113), c. 1850 - original date unknown, Substantial renovations in 1970. Noncontributing.
14. Marsh House (Francisco House), (se corner Rt. 113 & Academy Road), c. 1850. Contributing.
An earlier house on the site was destroyed by fire. According to the Wallings Map, in 1858 the house was owned by J. Marsh, the house's earliest known occupant, who is still listed as owner on the 1877 Beers Map.
15. Post Office, (e. side Academy Road), c. 1850. Contributing.
A store operated by Latham & Kendrick, builders and occupants of the Double House across the street (#32), stood on this site until it was destroyed by fire in 1843. The current structure was built sometime after that date. A barn which previously stood on the site was moved to the east in 1938 and is now the center of the Vaughan House. (see #12).
16. First Congregational Church Parsonage, (e. side of Academy Road), 1927. Contributing.
At least two different houses preceded this structure on the site. Earlier owners of the property included: Israel Smith, Manuel Hawley, Loved Garey & Solomon Heaton.(17) Owned by the Congregational Church, this structure is not currently used as a parsonage but rather, is rented out.
16A. Garage, c. 1960. Noncontributing. Northeast of the house is a gablefronted two car garage with shiplap siding and a metal roof and paneled overhead doors.
17. Beriah Loomis House (Fowle House), (e. side of Academy Road), c. 1795. Contributing.
This structure was one of several houses the early settler Beriah Loomis was to build in the Thetford Hill District and the finest he was to own. (see also #19). Research by Charlotte McCartney indicates that Loomis bought the lot in 1792 and thus a construction date in this timeframe is probable. It was surely built by 1803 as in that year Loomis sold the house to his son, Beriah Loomis Jr., one of eleven children and the house to the south was built for his own use (#19). The unique orientation of this house northward apparently stems from the existence of a road, two rods wide which originally ran in front on the house. Similar roads divided the original layout of town lots at designated intervals, between ''divisions''.(18)
The house served as an inn for some time. The ell bordering the street served as a gift shop for many years. Clara Sipprell, photographer, appears to have been the first occupant of the shop space.
18. Beriah Loomis House (Greenwood House), (e. side of Academy Road), c. 1815. Contributing.
There is local disagreement regarding the early ownership of this house. General opinion is that the house was originally built for Beriah Loomis, first settler on the Hill, as a home in his old age. Recent research by Charlotte McCartney suggests however that Loomis built #19 rather than this house.(19) Stylistic and construction details seem to support this.
Over the years the building served as a post office and as the law office of August Howard.
18A. Barn, c. 1820. Contributing. A large clapboarded barn located southeast of the main house at the end of the driveway which extends along the south side of the house. Located on the west side is an offcenter sliding door with transom lights above. A diamond shaped, multi-light window lights the north gable. The gable roof is sheathed in standing seam metal. This barn was historically associated with property #17.
19. Loomis House (Greenwood House), (e. side of Academy Road), 1813 (20). Contributing.
As has been mentioned, there is some question as to whether it was this house or #18 that Beriah Loomis occupied in his later years. Deed research by Charlotte McCartney suggests it was indeed this house.
19A. Guest House, c. 1920. Contributing. A wide clapboarded cottage consisting of a main gabled section three bays wide with a small hiproofed wing on each side, built between 1910 and 1930 as a guest house.
20. Cekick House (Strauss House), (e. side of Academy Road), 1942. Noncontributing.
20A. Garage, 1946. Noncontributing. A single car, clapboarded garage with gable roof is angled southwest of the house. This structure is considered noncontributing as it is less than 50 years old.
20B. Playhouse, c. 1960. Noncontributing. This small, clapboarded, gable roofed playhouse with bargeboard was built in the backyard in the early 1960's.
21. King House, (e. side of Academy Road), 1986. Noncontributing.
A narrow connector building to the north joins the main house and a gabled garage wing, accessible by a garage door and multilight-two panelled door. A horizontal band of twelve lights caps the garage door with a plain hayloft opening above. On the north side, a cross gable with a single window breaks through the roof. The garage entrance is in the cross gable. Despite its compatibility with neighboring historic structures, this building is noncontributing within the district by virtue of its recent construction.
22. Eclipse Grange No. 255, (e. side of Academy Road), c.1850 with 1925 alterations. Contributing.
Organized January 8, 1898, the Eclipse Grange No. 255 met in Academy Hall until 1923, when it purchased this barn from Charles Farnsworth and Hanoun Camps for $773. The building was remodelled about sixty years ago for the Grange by Dwight Goddard, including the construction of an ell in 1927. The Granite still occupies the structure, along with the Parish Players, formed about 10 years ago.(22)
23. George Holton House (Anderson House), (e. side of Academy Road), 1821 (23) (Moved c.1933; Alterations c.1933) Contributing.
Offset slightly to the northeast is a slightly smaller gabled wing measuring three bays wide. An entrance is centered on the wing facade which is spanned by a shed roof porch supported by plain posts. Like those on the main building, the wing windows are 8/12 and side elevations have flush eaves. On the rear elevation, expansion through the roof and downward into the hill resulted in a three story extension consisting of a porch and garage below on the south side of the wing.
According to deed research by Charlotte McCartney, the house was built in 1821 for George W. Holton. Moved to its present location c. 1933 by Carl Anderson, the house was originally gable end, very close to the street. The deteriorated condition of the building necessitated extensive renovation work in 1932-1933 including replacement of the original plaster walls and other interior alterations.(24)
23A. Shed, c. 1920. Contributing. Northeast of the house is a 1-1/2 story, gable fronted shed sheathed in asphalt shingles.
24. Gladys Estabrook House, (e. side of Academy Road), c. 1940. Noncontributing.
25. Thomas Turner House (Phillips House), (e. side of Academy Road), 1825 (25) Contributing.
A 1-1/2 story barn, constructed of vertical board siding with a wood shingle roof, is attached to the southeast corner of the south wing. A hayloft door is located over the main gable entrance; the main doors are not original. As a result of the very steep site the basement is at grade in the rear. A corncrib is attached at the rear.
Constructed in 1825, the design of the house is attributed to local carpenter, Thomas Turner, who constructed the building for his own use, after selling the Terry House (#29). The Turners, Joshua and son Thomas, arrived in Thetford in 1819 and built #28 &29 (26). Brickwork is thought to have been done by Hezekiah Porter, who operated the earliest known brickyard in Thetford. Early occupants include the Frost Family and the J. Elmer Family who owned the house during much of the nineteenth century according to 1858 and 1877 maps.
26. Thetford Hill Academy, (w. side Academy Road), 1942 with later (c. 1970) additions. Noncontributing.
26A. Shed, c. 1942. Noncontributing. Behind the White Building is a small frame shed sheathed in shiplap siding and capped by a hip roof.
26B. Garage, c. 1960. Noncontributing. Southwest of the main structure is a gable-roofed, concrete block garage with brickwork surrounding the two bay openings and flushboards in the gable above. Two smaller additions continue the lines to the rear.
26C. Anderson Hall, 1954. Noncontributing. Located north of the White Building, Anderson Hall is a two story, brick, box-like gymnasium with glass block and multilight metal windows. The structure was named in honor of Carl Anderson who served as the principal of the Academy for 36 years and later as a trustee.
26D. Daniels Agricultural-Science Building, 1959 & 1977. Noncontributing. A flatroofed, single story, brick and steel structure accented by enamel metal panels and located west of the White Building. A brick and concrete addition to the south dates to 1977.
26E. Outbuilding, c. 1959. Noncontributing. Southwest of Daniels is a small underground structure constructed of concrete and shiplap boards and capped by an asphalt shingled gable roof with exposed rafters.
Established in 1819, Thetford Academy stood for 123 years between what are now the Cekick House and the Eclipse Grange (#20 & 2a). During construction of an addition to the original Academy building in November, 1942, fire destroyed the Academy Building, Burton Hall, Latham Library and a private residence. A subsequent fire in January, 1948, consumed the Agricultural Building. Land for a new campus, 138 acres constituting the William K. Porter Estate, was donated by his grandson's widow, Mrs. Porter Adams, in 1946. A stone with bronze plaque on the lawn of the White Building commemorates the gift (27).
27. Heman Hosford House (Wyman House), (w. side of Academy Road), 1821. Contributing.
Centered in the attic is an elliptical louvered fan outlined by a cornice with perforated mutules. The cornice returns on the end elevations. The first bay on the second story of the south elevation contains a blind window relating to the sidehall entrance and stairway; windows on this side are organized into four bays unevenly spaced. Iron tie rods and a single stone lintel are noteworthy on the north side. Extending behind is a 1-1/2 story clapboarded wing with a projecting south porch (formerly a shed), supported by simple posts on the south side, beyond which is an attached barn with close cropped eaves and a 12/6 window. This area underwent extensive renovation in 1960 and the semi-elliptical arched openings, picture windows and garage openings date to this period. At the end of the building is a single story gabled addition with arched vestibule. The stone wall in front of the house dates to 1960. Four interior brick chimneys originally punctuated the low gable asphalt roof. Today only two remain. The roof and top of the facade were extensively damaged by the hurricane of 1938 and were subsequently rebuilt . The house was built for Hosford in 1821 by Joshua and Thomas Turner with bricks produced by Hezekiah Porter, who established the earliest known brickyard in Thetford. Hosford sold the house to Enoch Slade in 1837 and it has remained in the Slade Family for seven generations.(28) The Slades have been important figures in Vermont and in Thetford history having made substantial contributions to the development of Thetford Academy and local historical research.
27A. Gazebo, c. 1885. Contributing. An open gazebo constructed of plain posts on a log skirt is located south of the house and capped by a wood shingle gable roof.
27B. Guest House, c. 1927. Contributing. A small, wood shingle cottage with an asphalt shingle sheathed gable roof located southwest of the house. Built as a chicken coop c. 1927 and subsequently remodelled for a guest house and moved from a location closer to the house. Several other barns have been removed over the years.
28. Joshua Turner House (Cole House), (w. side Academy Road), 1821. Contributing.
The original design is attributed to the Turners: Thomas Porter and his father Joshua. The Turners also built #25 & 29. Thomas later moved to Oberlin, Ohio, where he was one of the founders of Oberlin College (29) and was responsible for the construction of the church and numerous brick houses there.(30) When he moved to Norwich, Joshua Turner sold the house to Dr. David Palmer, a professor at Woodstock Medical School. Dr. Samuel Thayer owned the house in 1858 and came to Thetford in 1832. A distinguished, largely self-taught scholar associated with the University of Vermont, Thayer also received an honorary degree from Dartmouth College.
28A. Guesthouse, c. 1985. Noncontributing. To the rear of the house is a single story, gable roofed modular house.
29. Thomas Turner House (Terry House), (w. side of Academy Road), 1819. Contributing.
Projecting from the facade with its high kneewall is a hiproofed, enclosed entrance porch featuring a six panel door flanked by half sidelights and a wide frieze, all above wooden steps. The entrance is flanked by two 12/12 double hung windows with blinds, and lintels which are flush with the wall.
A simple projecting cornice with partial entablature encircles the building. The eaves on the sidewalls are without overhang. A hip roofed, screened porch with clapboarded base spans the south elevation. A shed dormer is centered on the rear roof slope. Windows are a mixture of 12/12 and 1/1 format with a single 9/6 in the attic.
This house was the first house in Thetford Hill built by Joshua and Thomas Turner upon their arrival in 1819.(31) The house was occupied by Thomas Turner while his father Joshua lived in the Cole House (#28). Thomas sold the house in 1825, at which time he constructed the Phillips House (#25). The house was moved back from the street and turned slightly sometime between 1940 and 1944 by its owner, Mrs. Moore (a member of the B. F. Moore family of paint manufacturers).
29A. Garage, 1946. Noncontributing. Located northeast of the house is a gablefronted, two car garage sheathed in shiplap siding and having paneled overhead doors with toplights.
30. Slafter Hall, (w. side of Academy Road), c. 1850. Contributing.
Centered in the facade is a low gable wall dormer punctuating the standing seam metal roof and indicative of the Gothic Revival influence. Simple jigsawn brackets decorate the projecting eaves in the front gable and side gables. Plain cornerboards and water table outline the structure. The central entrance is framed by full sidelights and transom lights with grooved side panels supporting an entablature. Above the entrance is a single 1/1 window. The windows flanking the doorway are elongated 6/6 doublehung with lipped lintels and long blinds. Extending at the rear elevation is a single story ell with a central cross gable on each side similar to that in front. A glassed-in porch projects from the south side of the ell with fixed 4 x 3 windows separated by pilasters. Open fields are located to the rear of the building. Slafter Hall was presented as a boy's dormitory by Rev. Edmund Slafter in 1906.
30A. Barn, c. 1850. Contributing. Directly behind the ell of the main house is a gablefronted, freestanding, 1-1/2 story outbuilding sheathed in clapboards with projecting eaves and a metal roof. Hinged, paired, vertical board doors and a hayloft door are located on the south elevation. There is a pass door on the east and a window in the gable peak.
31. Goddard Hall (w. side of Academy Road), 1845. Contributing.
What is now referred to as Goddard Hall was constructed in 1845 as a boy's dormitory for the academy on a lot given by Orange Heaton south of the Cekick House (#20), just north of the original Academy Building. The structure was named Burton Hall in memory of Asa Burton, one of the Academy's founders. The structure was sold by Academy President Abijah Howard to J. H. Huntington c. 1860 for $200; Huntington moved it across the street to its present site to replace his house which had burned. Huntington was a prominent tanner and landowner. In the late 1930's, Dwight Goddard gave the building back to the Academy since which time it has been known as Goddard Hall.(33)
31A. Shed, c. 1890. Contributing. Northwest of the house is a gablefront shed constructed of barnboard with a metal roof. Hinged, vertical board doors access the gable end.
32. Joseph Watson House (Steiner House), (w. side of Academy Road), c. 1810 (34). Contributing.
According to local historian Charles Hughes, Joseph Watson from Chelsea, who was here as early as 1797, built the house. Research by Charlotte McCartney indicates that the house was built sometime after Watson gained possession of the lot in 1808. In 1819 it was sold to Judge Simeon Short, its most well-known occupant. Self-taught in law, Short later became Judge of the County Court and Judge of Probate. He was also one of the founders of the Thetford Academy and served as trustee for about 40 years. Judge Short's law office stood for many years south of the house until it was moved to George Sayre's place (on Rt. 113 approximately 1/2 mile west of Thetford Hill) where it may have been used as the town clerk's office.(35)
32A. Garage, c.1930. Contributing. This is a 2 bay, gableroofed, clapboarded garage. One bay was formerly used for storage.
33. Latham-Kendrick Houses, (west side of Academy Road), 1817. Contributing.
34. Former Latham Library (Beebe House), (w. side Academy Road), c. 1870. Contributing.
The exact date of construction of this building is not clear but appears from deed research by C. McCartney to be c. 1870. The origins of the Latham Library dates to 1875 when Mrs. Azubah F. (Latham) Barney died, leaving $5000 for a library. The Latham Memorial Library opened in 1877 and the original building was destroyed in the Academy Fire of 1943.
35. Isaac White House (Fowle House), (west side of the Common), c. 1795 (37). Contributing.
Simple pilaster strips with entasis support the porch's cornice returns, adorned by modillions. Windows on the main elevations are predominantly doublehung 2/2 (not original) with exterior four pane storm windows, plain moldings and entablature lintels. The top of the second floor windows extend to the eaves which are decorated by dentils and modillions, and supported visually by plain cornerboards. On the side elevations, close cropped eaves cling closely to the wall. Although many of the windows have been replaced by modern units, several presumably original windows survive including two 9/6 doublehung windows at the rear.
A shed roofed ell extends behind the northernmost part of the rear (west) elevation with a smaller shed ell at the center of the side. An offcenter, brick chimney is located on the ridge of the asphalt shingled roof, though the original chimney fell through the roof some years ago. A fire in 1949 destroyed original fabric in the interiors of the living and dining rooms although some original paneling survives.
According to research by Charlotte McCartney, this house was constructed by Isaac White and dates to about 1795. If this is true, the Federal style entrance porch would appear to be either a very early example of the style in the area or an addition, perhaps twenty years after the construction of the house. Orange Heaton may have been an early owner and apparently later sold it to Joseph Reed. A northern addition (now removed) at one time functioned as a store.(38)
35A. Garage, c. 1964. Noncontributing. A single story, concrete block structure with a stucco finish, located northeast of the house. Above the double wide door, the front gable is sheathed in horizontal flush boards. The roof is covered in asphalt shingles.
The fourth house of Beriah Loomis (see also discussion of #3,17, 19) once stood between what is now the Fowle House (#35) and Bicentennial Building (#36).
36. Bicentennial Building/Latham Memorial Library (nw corner of Academy Road and Rt. 113), 1974-5. Noncontributing.
37. Common, late 18th- 19th c., Contributing.
Over the years, the straightening and paving of Academy Road and the loss of the substantial elm trees which once lined the street have altered the face of the common and the Thetford Hill District. Today, the common is lined by a dozen or so mature trees with several wooden benches providing seating. At the north end of the common is a hollowed stone which once served as a watering trough and was located in the center of the intersection between Academy Road and Rt. 113, near the post office. It was moved to the green by Charles Farnsworth when the age of horses had passed.
In reality the common land takes in additional areas in the front of the houses on the west side of Academy Road, the boundary between private and public is marked midlawn by granite posts and hitching posts.
The Thetford Hill Historic District is significant architecturally as a largely intact and unified concentration of late 18th to mid 19th century residential structures. With few exceptions, the buildings of the district predate the Civil War. Almost half of the structures were built before 1830 with the periods 1810-1830 and 1840-1860 seeing the greatest amount of building activity. Forty-two of the district's sixty-four structures (and one site) are considered contributing. Building activity in the first third of the twentieth century has not negatively altered the villagescape.
Construction of the meetinghouse between 1785 and 1788 on Thetford Common resulted in the establishment of Thetford Hill the first village in Town. Prior to its being moved from the Town-owned parcel in 1830, the Meetinghouse was a simple two story gable-roofed structure measuring 3 x 2 bays with its main entrance centered on the broad east side. The original appearance of the structure was apparently similar to the Rockingham, Vermont Meetinghouse (entered on the National Register, 9/10/1979). Alterations following the move in 1830 changed the orientation of the entrance from the east to the south and added a Federal-Greek Revival style pavilion and tower.
The laying out of roads and travelways kept pace with early settlement on the Hill. A number of east-west roads, each two rods wide separated the various divisions relating to the original survey of town lots. According to local historian, Charlotte McCartney, the orientation of the Loomis House (#17) northward rather than facing Academy Road is explained by the existence of one of these two rod roadways. Route 113 east of the common was laid out in 1793; it was laid out westward from this point in 1818. Houghton Hill Road dates to between 1805 and 1810. The common, established as part of the original lot configuration, was enlarged through deeds on the south in 1795 and on the west in 1818.
The arrival of the first settler on Thetford Hill, Beriah Loomis, preceded both the construction of the Meetinghouse in 1785 and the surveying of what is now Route 113 east of the common in 1793. According to Charlotte McCartney, Loomis' original homestead was situated roughly in the middle of the west side of the current common with his land also including the current Young Property (#3). The house currently occupying this property is the oldest surviving house on the Hill and dates to 1792, built by James White who bought the lot from Loomis. Although simple in detailing, it was no doubt a very substantial house for its time.
By 1800 at least two other structures had been built in the district. According to deed research, part of the White-Fowle House (#35) was standing in 1795. If this is true, its handsome Federal style enclosed entrance porch would appear to be a rather early example of the style for the area. An ornate, denticulated and modillioned cornice further distinguishes this house.
Beriah Loomis' second house (Loomis House #17) constructed in 1792 is certainly the most elaborate example of residential architecture in the district. Full entablature lintels with pulvinated friezes and dentils cap the first floor windows while a Palladian window dominates the second story of the Georgian facade. This, the second of four houses Beriah Loomis was to live in on the Hill during his lifetime was certainly the finest he was to own. Today only two of the four survive, see also #19 and #18.
Building activity on the Hill in the first two decades of the 19th century was limited to the construction of three modest Cape dwellings (#10, 19, 32). It is interesting to note that two of these are marked by enclosed entrance porches, a rather unique feature in the region and state. The Latham-Kendrick Houses (#33) constructed in 1817 are fine examples of the Federal style, and are of additional interest because of their rather unusual double house form.
The establishment of Thetford Academy in 1819 was to give great impetus to the growth of Thetford Hill and the construction of buildings serving the Academy and its staff. The Academy's original buildings, located between what are now the Cekich House and Eclipse Grange (Buildings #20 & 22) were destroyed by fire in 1942.
The vast majority of the structures within the Thetford Hill district can be attributed to the hands of unknown builders. The year 1819 however, marked the arrival of two men, Joshua Turner and son Thomas Porter Turner who were to leave a major imprint on Thetford Hill through the construction of four houses (#25, 27, 28, 29) including two simple frame houses and two substantial brick Federal buildings, all constructed between 1819 and 1825. Joshua Turner apparently moved to Norwich in 1825 while Thomas later moved to Oberlin, Ohio where he was responsible for the construction of several residential and church buildings.
The years 1840-1850 were marked by substantial building activity within the district. A fire in 1842 was certainly responsible for some of this change while the growth of Thetford Academy also contributed as evidenced in the construction of two Academy Halls (#[blank] ,30). Whereas the Cape Cod form had predominated the first part of the century, the Classic Cottage, embellished in vernacular Gothic details including cross gables, became the popular house form at mid century. Good examples of the style within the district include #4, #7, #14, & #30.
It was not until the 1930's and 1940's that the absence of construction after the Civil War was broken. Infill along Route 113 and construction along the southern part of Academy Road following the Academy Fire of 1942 are the visible manifestations of this activity. In general, construction during this period carefully recreated the form, massing and details or earlier buildings as is seen in the Estabrook House (#24) and to a lesser degree in the neo-Colonial Thetford Academy.(#26)
The twentieth century has had limited effect on the district. Non-contributing structures within this architecturally significant assemblage of 19th and 20th century structures are limited to the much altered Vaughan-Hyzer House (#13), the Academy structures (#26) and the Bicentennial Building (#36). For the most part modernization has been limited to new windows, garages and several cases of synthetic siding. In most cases additions and alterations are relegated to rear elevations and are not readily visible from the street. New, though sympathetic, construction includes (#20) built in 1942; (#21) built in 1986 and dating to c. 1940 (#24). The once densely tree-lined streets have suffered their share of loss through disease; asphalt has replaced dirt road surfaces and the watering trough has been moved to an inland position.
In addition to its architectural significance, it should be noted that the Thetford Hill Historic District is also of historical interest as an early intellectual and spiritual center in the State. The First Congregational Church, one of the first five churches established in Vermont, is also the oldest meetinghouse in the state still in continuous use. Equally influential in shaping the character and built environment of the Thetford community has been the Thetford Academy. Established in 1819 and coeducational since its beginning, the Academy is the oldest secondary school in continuous operation in the state. The contribution of the Academy to the Town's social and economic development cannot be underestimated, nor can the success of its graduates who have included numerous graduates of Dartmouth College, Senator Justin Morrill and the founders of Wabash, Oberlin and Gainesville Colleges.
____. The First Congregational Church, Thetford, Vermont. 1937. (Thetford Historical Society).
Hughes, Charles W. "History of Thetford Hill", Thetford Historical Society, 1986.
Latham, Charles, Jr. A Short History of Thetford, Vermont, 1761-1870. White River Junction: Right Printing Col, Inc., 1984.
McCartney, Charlotte. Once Upon A Town. Hanover: Gnomen Copy, 1985.
Paige, Helen S. Tales of Thetford. Hanover: XPress Services, 1978.
Slade, Mary B. Thetford Academy's First Century. Thetford: Thetford Historical Society, 1956.
Records of the Eclipse Grange, Thetford Historical Society.
Russ, Ruthe R. "District Schools of Thetford, Vermont". (Thetford Historical Society.
Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Thetford Historic Sites & Structures Survey, 1979.
Beers Orange County Atlas (1877).
Latham, Charles, Jr., Map of Thetford, 1960.
Wallings, H.F., Orange County Map, 1858.
Interviews with James Fowle, Charles Latham, Jr., Charlotte McCartney, Chet Palmer, Mr. & Mrs. William Slade, Nina Strauss, Louise Vaughan, June-September 1985.
DATE ENTERED: October 27, 1988.
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