Thetford Academy opened in February 1819, after the constitution of Vermont called for free elementary schools in each town, a school in each county for studies above the elementary level, and one university for the state. These schools prepared students in classical languages, mathematics, “natural philosophy,” and the arts for entrance into colleges and universities, and careers in ministry, law, medicine, and teaching. By the time Thetford Academy was founded, girls were being admitted to some academies (usually in the summer term) for studies which were advanced beyond the common schools, but which were not intended to prepare for college. Thetford Academy admitted both boys and girls from its founding. The school thrived beginning on it’s first day of classes, growing almost annually with new buildings constructed to house new classrooms and dormitories.
The first academic building, erected in 1818 by Fitch, was crowned by a bell tower and featured separate entries for boys and girls. It was destroyed by fire on November 14, 1942. Fueled by high winds, the fire also destroyed the girls’ dormitory and the library. Undeterred, the school rebuilt nearby beginning with this Colonial Revival building, known as the White Building. Later buildings were added to create the campus we see today.