life in the Kearsarge area

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Discover Thetford’s History

Just released: Thetford is a pictorial history authored by Thetford, Vt., resident Susanna H. French. It has over 200 images depicting scenes of days gone by.2290THETcvr.indd

Soon after Thetford was chartered in 1761, settlers from southern New England arrived and began transforming the forestland into a community. They took advantage of both the Connecticut River and the Ompompanoosuc River to forge a lively and self-sustaining collection of mill villages within the town. The railroad arrived in 1848, enabling three depot villages to blossom. Thetford Hill, with neither mills nor transportation, became home to the renowned Thetford Academy, the first coeducational secondary school in Vermont. Thetford’s mill-based commerce ebbed significantly by 1900, but tourism became a prevalent industry, with city dwellers flocking to summer retreats such as Camp Hanoum and the Lake Fairlee camps. Despite fires, floods, and hurricanes, as well as the construction of the Union Village Dam in 1950 and Interstate 91 in 1971, Thetford has retained its resilient spirit and looks much as it did a century ago.

Highlights of Thetford include:

  • Thetford Academy is Vermont’s first—and oldest—coeducational secondary school. The first woman in America ever to earn a college degree was a Thetford Academy graduate.
  • Philanthropist George Peabody, who founded the company that would become J.P. Morgan, spent time in Thetford as a child. He later founded Thetford’s Peabody Library.
  • Thetford had two stops on the Underground Railroad: one in Thetford Center and one in Post Mills.

Thetford is available at area bookstores for $21.99.


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