In New England, brick houses are more scarce for the simple fact trees are everywhere, brickyards were not. As towns and cities developed all across the region, some towns found they had a lot of clay in their soil, perfect for the manufacturing of brick. In Thetford, a man named Hezekiah Porter was the first to start a brickyard, manufacturing bricks for construction projects around the area. By the 1820s, a couple brick houses were built in the Thetford Hill area of town including the Hosford House, one of the earliest. Thomas Turner, a builder constructed the Hosford House and this home nearby for his own use, both utilizing Porter’s bricks. This fine Federal home was likely a great advertisement for Turner’s building skills.
Burton Hall was constructed in 1845 as a boy’s dormitory for Thetford Academy on a lot given by Orange Heaton (who lived nearby), 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 the Academy by about 1860 for $200, to a J.H. Huntington, who moved it across the street to its present site to replace his house which had burned the year prior. In the late 1930’s, Dwight Goddard, the owner of the home at the time, gifted the building back to the Academy since which time it has been known as Goddard Hall.
Fun Fact: Buildings historically were much more likely to be moved than demolished as the cost of building materials was much more than labor. Today, the opposite is true so many developers and owners prefer to demolish.
Is there anything better than a brick Federal style house?
This house in Thetford, Vermont was built for Heman Hosford in 1821 from bricks produced by Hezekiah Porter, who established the earliest known brickyard in Thetford. Hosford sold the house to Enoch Slade in 1837 and it remained in the Slade Family for over seven generations. He became a prominent citizen of Thetford, was a surveyor and for many years justice of the peace, and in the latter part of his life was generally known by the title of “Squire Slade.” He was a supporter and trustee of Thetford Academy, in which his children and grandchildren were educated. He was a member of the Congregational church and an earnest supporter of the principles of the Republican party. The brick gable front home features a louvered sidelights and fan over the front door and in the gable.
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.