Town of Thetford’s first Historical Marker dedicated on TA’s 200th Birthday
February 15, 2019
At noon on the day of Thetford Academy’s 200th birthday — Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 — Virginia Anderson Barrett ’51, daughter of legendary TA Principal Carl Anderson (1925-1961) and wife of the late TA Headmaster Ruel Barrett (1961-1977), unveiled the Town of Thetford’s first Vermont Historical Marker in a ceremony on Academy Road.
Marking the site of the original Thetford Academy campus, the first building of which opened its doors for the first time on Feb. 8, 1819, the historical sign reads:
On this site stood the original Thetford Academy. Co-educational from the start, it was founded in 1819 by Thetford citizens led by Rev. Asa Burton and Judge Simeon Short. The academic building with belfry and separate doors for boys and girls housed what is now Vermont’s oldest secondary school. This building, along with the girls’ dorm, the first Latham Library, and a nearby barn, burned the windy evening of November 14, 1942. Another group of citizens under the leadership of principal Carl A. Anderson rebuilt the Academy at its present location.
Notable attendees of TA include Sen. Justin Morrill, Mary Leavitt, Gen. John Eaton, Mary Gibson, Sherburne Wesley Burnham, Thomas Morris Chester, Lt. Alanson Sanborn, and William Baxter Closson.Vermont Division for Historic Preservation – 2019
Some 50 or so people were on hand, as Martha Jane Rich (Head of School, 1991-2010) directed an outdoor dedication featuring Thetford Historical Society’s Marshall Van Norden ’63 and Thetford Academy Alumni Association’s Frank Bonnett ’69, and William Bugg (current Head of School).
The marker was made possible through the tireless efforts of the Thetford Historical Society (especially Martha Howard), the Thetford Academy Alumni Association, and Thetford Academy (especially Steve Niederhauser). In addition, David and Nancy Lindahl, on whose property the original foundation walls stood, generously gave permission for the sign to be placed in their yard. A reception followed at the Latham Library.
Check out the new marker—it’s about halfway between the current TA campus and Highway 113, on the east side of Academy Road, where TA’s original buildings stood until the fire of 1942.
The school moved to its current location — a quarter mile south of the original buildings — in 1949.