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Burr and Burton Seminary

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1831. Prospect St. at Seminary Ave., Manchester village
  • (Photograph by Curtis B. Johnson, C. B. Johnson Photography)

Set apart at the edge of Manchester village this imposing structure was built for Vermont's first privately endowed academy. Made possible by a legacy of 1828 by resident Joseph Burr, the academy was a residential institution that prepared young men for the ministry. The thirteen-bay-wide, three-story building was conceived as a match to the brick and marble linteled, gable-fronted headmaster's house next door. However, after a disastrous firing of bricks for the school, the builders switched to square-cut local limestone. The building is essentially late Federal in character, with, originally, six-over-six windows (glazing altered in 1873), and a semi elliptical keystone-arched central doorway with fan and sidelights. Perhaps in response to the original theological purposes of the seminary, it has a square, clapboarded, Gothic-styled belfry with pointed-arched openings and a balustrade with tall finials. Old photographs reveal that the balustrade's present form is a simplified reconstruction of the original, which had eight elaborately cusped finials similar to those atop the tower of St. James Episcopal Church in nearby Arlington (BE10).

In 1853, Josiah Burton, a member of the original board of the school, left money to endow a joint institution for girls. The renamed Burr and Burton Seminary was the first coeducational secondary school in Vermont. After the state mandated a free high school education for all students in 1906, Burr and Burton assumed this public role, but as a private institution to which the surrounding towns paid tuition for their students.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Burr and Burton Seminary", [Manchester, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 37-37.

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