This oldest extant house in St. Albans has a sophistication that offers insights into the way that building expertise was communicated to northwest Vermont. It was built as a tavern on the Burlington to Montreal stagecoach road for Silas Hathaway, an Englishman who had moved from Bennington in 1788. Its essentially Georgian plan was adjusted to include an originally enclosed staircase leading to a broad second-floor central hall that doubled as a ballroom. This is still evident on the facade in the blind windows in the second and fourth bays. The hewn frame was fabricated with thirty-two-foot-long beams in place of attic rafters. These form the lower members of full-roof trusses that enabled a fashionable low-hipped roof in this country of heavy snow loads. The heavy framing members would have been locally shaped, but the sawn lumber was brought up the lake from mills in Whitehall, New York, where joiner William Sprats opened shop in 1797. From his Whitehall base, Sprats traveled to commissions throughout Franklin County.
In 1805, Julius Hoyt acquired the tavern and adapted it for use as a residence, altering the stair and hall plan and reworking the detailing. It was likely then that the house received its modillioned cornice (apparently reworked in the early twentieth century), the pedimented Doric portico resting on engaged columns that flank the sidelights of the front door, and the rich detailing of the southwest parlor with its elaborate cornice and shouldered door and fireplace architraves. All of these features indicate the work of Sprats or a craftsman trained in his vocabulary.