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.
This unique double-house was constructed in 1817 for Capt. William Harris Latham and Dr. Thomas Kendrick, brothers-in-law, merchants and partners in a store which stood until it was destroyed by fire about 1845. Latham served as a Captain in the War of 1812, and later was an important benefactor of the nearby Thetford Academy, donating money and building materials for the original construction. Wallpaper from this house depicting the City of Leon was donated by a previous owner, Mrs. Charles Vaughan, to the Currier Gallery in Manchester, NH. The homes are an excellent example of the Federal style with a vertical board at the center of the main house facade demarcating the property line. Blind fan transoms and multi-light double-hung windows add a lot of charm to the historic homes.
Attempts were made to organize the Congregational Church in Thetford, Vermont as early as 1771, making this 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, before the separation of church and state. Following the customary dispute over the location of the meetinghouse in town, the structure was erected on the Town Common, marking the beginning of the village of Thetford Hill. Construction began on the meetinghouse in 1785, being completed within a couple years. Sometime between 1807 and 1812, the Congregational Church ceased to be supported by taxes as the separation of 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 just north of it. In 1830, the pavilion, tower, and pilasters were added to give the church a Greek Revival flair. The church is reportedly the oldest meetinghouse in the state still in continuous service.