East Middlebury Walking Tour
[UNDER CONSTRUCTION, SEE BELOW. COME BACK SOON FOR UPDATES]
Welcome to East Middlebury!
Your tour of East Middlebury begins at the Waybury Inn . (457 E. Main) An Inn has existed at or near the current Waybury site since 1775 when Ebar Evarts cleared land for the construction of a tavern, the forerunner of today’s Waybury Inn. The current inn was built in 1810 and is one of the oldest operating traveler's accommodations in the state. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It is well known for its use in exterior shots of the Newhart television series (1982-1990).
The Foot/Mary Belle Zahn House  (439 E. Main)was constructed in 1810. The house was built by Epaphras Jones, who had his glass factory just south of the dwelling.
The Community House and Sarah Partridge Library  (431 E. Main) opened in 1924. The house and library were gifts of the Partridge family in memory of their mother, Sarah, a longtime resident of East Middlebury. The building houses documents and artifacts from East Middlebury and is the meeting place of the East Middlebury Historical Society.
The Tupper-Peck House  (429 E. Main) The house was built 1867 by Almon P. Tupper (son of inventor Norman Tupper). He built not far from his sawmill and sash factory. A few years later he moved into Middlebury and sold the house to his factory manager Bert Peck. The site of the original E. Middlebury Post Office which opened in 1834. Bert Peck, followed by his daughter, Rena, ran the post office for over 60 years- from 1897 to 1958. It was then relocated in the front room of 429 E. Main St. After several years at 404 E. Main St. , the current post office (1 Case St.) opened in the 1970’s.
The Grist Mill  (3 Grist Mill Rd.) Just across the Grist Mill Bridge stand a large yellow building. On the same site was originally a tannery which was converted into a grist mill. This mill burned in the 1870’s and the current mill erected in 1879. As demand for grain milling declined, the mill was converted into a sawmill for the production of apple crates. In 1945 it was converted by new owners to make paint brush handles. In recent years it has served many purposes including a rental office, warehouse space, and a basement workshop operated by the current owner.
School #2  (21 Piper Rd.) Public school for Middlebury children now a private residence.
Days Store/Post Office  (404 E. Main) Currently the home of Otter Creek Engineering, the “Brick Store” opoened in 1840 and served a the town post office until 1971. The cottage attached to the store was the home of Rufus Perkins who built the store. Perkins operated the store before moving to Rutland and establishing the Rutland Fire Clay Company.
Sash Factory/Brown Novelty  (406 E. Main). In 1827 Norman Tupper built a factory and developed machinery to manufacture door and window sashes. Norman was the first person to graft teeth on a circular plate and invent the circular saw. A portion of the original factory was devoted to manufacturing barrel staves. The factory was operated by a succession of owners, burned several times, and most recently (1916) was used to manufacture small boxes, clothes pins and, since 1936, wooden toys.
Bidwell Tavern  (376 E. Main) Constructed in 1820. Purchased by Daniel Bidwell in 1836. Bidwell operated the “Bidwell Tavern” in the eastern ell of the house. The entrance to the tavern, though no longer used, is still visible to left of the current front door.
Methodist Church  (2 Church St.) Work started on the East Middlebury United Methodist Church building in 1845. It was originally built as a Universalist meeting house. In 1874 the Methodists started to share the space and they soon assumed responsibility for and ownership of the building.
Prospect Cemetery  (Hwy. 116 North) was first used about 1812 and contains approximately 1,800 graves. Buried in the cemetery are many East Middlebury notables including Col. John Chipman (1745-1829) and three unidentified victims of a triple homicide that occurred in 1935.
St. Barnabas Chapel/Vermont Glass  ( 450 E. Main St.) The St. Barnabas Mission Chapel was consecrated on Sept. 12, 1889. Funds and labor donated by residents, as well as monetary gifts from the Webbs of Shelburne, insured that this Episcopal building was fully funded by its completion. It was renovated in 1950 but ceased holding services not long afterwards. In the early 1970’s the chapel was converted to a house.
The chapel site also was near the location of Epraphras Jones circular brick building (constructed 1814) for the manufacture of glass. The glass had a distinctive blue green tint and was used for window glass and bottles. A fine example of a whimsical article manufactured by the company is a glass cane on display at the E. Middlebury Community House. Henry Schoolcraft, the factory superintendent, studied chemistry and mineralogy at Middlebury College. In his later years he traveled west and explored Missouri and surrounding territories. A street in Springfield, MO is named for him.
Baker House/“Annex”  (458 E. Main) Constructed in 1830 it served as a guest house in the 1930’s.
The Foote House/Episcopal Rectory  (464 E. Main) is possibly oldest home in East Middlebury and is reputed by one sorce to be the home of Jonathan Foote (circa 1790). The Partridge family moved into the property in 1822 and added to the original structure in 1840.
The Middlebury Gorge/Iron Works . Just downstream of the new cement bridge at the east end of town stood the Middlebury Iron Works. Built in 1831 by George Chipman, foundation walls and waterways are still visible in the woods on the north side of the river. Most of the ore came from Crown Point, NY, by boat across the lake, then by wagon to the forge. Charcoal came from a kiln on the North Branch of the Middlebury River in Ripton. The forge operated until 1887.
Shadyrest Tourist Home and Cabins  (448 E. Main) The home was built in 1890 and the one remaining tourist cabin (to the right of the house) was added in the 1930’s for guests.
Emilo House and Guest Cabin  (394 E. Main) Constructed 1820.
Palmer’s Dairy  (402 E. Main)- William and Julia Palmer established Palmer’s Dairy in the early 1930’s to supply pasteurized milk. The operation grew from a one or two-person enterprise to one serving three counties. In the early 1950’s they established a six-chair dairy bar the location that served ice cream, soft drinks, and milk shakes. In the late 1950’s they established a restaurant on Route 7. One of the most requested restaurants in Middlebury area, it is now operated as “Rosie’s” restaurant.
The Village of East Middlebury
Historical walking tour
This walking guide of the history of East Middlebury was designed and produced by the members of the East Middlebury Historical Society in 2019.
Respect the privacy and property of the homeowners and businesses identified in this brochure. Do not enter private property without permission.
The East Middlebury Historical Society meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Sarah Partridge Community House (431 East Main St.) and is open to anyone who is interested in East Middlebury and Vermont history.
You may also visit the historical society website at https://sites.google.com/view/emidhistoricalsociety.For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Enjoy your walk!