In the Town

Farmingdale (the Seeley District) The area around the junction of Halladay and Three-Mile Bridge Roads is important to Middlebury’s story. It is here that Col. John Chipman cleared the first land in Middlebury in 1766, that Benjamin Smalley built the first house in 1772 (commemorated by a marker on the south side of Three-Mile-Bridge Road), and that Gamaliel Painter developed his farm (on the continuation of Halladay Road). After his return in 1784 Chipman built a two-story brick house, which was subsequently purchased by William Y. Ripley and burned in 1829. In 1830–1831 Ripley built the two-story frame house west of the Halladay Road intersection, using the Chipman bricks for his cellar and chimneys. His daughter, Julia Ripley Dorr, made the neighborhood the setting for her novel Farmingdale, and the area received the name as a result. Today it is also known as the Seeley District for the eight generations of Seeleys who lived in the house and the neighborhood beginning in the mid-19th century.

Across Three-Mile-Bridge Road is the one-story house where John Chipman reputedly lived before building his brick home (which would make it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, extant house in town).

On the north side of Three-Mile-Bridge Road is the burial ground for this district. Here can be found the graves of John Chipman, Goodriches, Smalleys, Seeleys, and other old families who developed this portion of town.

Foote Street (The street name is spelled with the final “e” used by some of the family, though not apparently by old Daniel.) Turn north off Route 7 at the former District 3 Schoolhouse (1835) or south off Quarry Road. This is the area settled by Daniel Foot and his sons, married daughter, grandchildren, and in-laws. The pre-Revolutionary Foot buildings were destroyed, but furnishings buried in the woods survived until the family’s return in 1783. At that time Daniel built a small one-story house on the southeast corner of lot no. 6, in which he resided during the years that he developed his farm and his milling interests near the falls. In 1786 the first town meeting was held there. Quite possibly the house still stands (with additions) at #400 on the west side of the street, a modest structure with unevenly spaced windows and set up on a rise. Just to the north of this stands the large house which Daniel built in 1793 (#390). It is a two-story structure with unevenly spaced, small paned windows and a central chimney, oriented southward to face the original road which ran from the Foot farm to the falls area. Later Foots added the Greek Revival doorway and attic light. Old foundations behind the house suggest that there was once a further wing to the west. To the southwest of the house was the Foots’ barn, where were held the first religious services in town.

Many of the older homes along Foote Street, Schoolhouse Road, and the adjacent stretch of Route 7 were built for the Foots in the late 18th and early 19th century (and then altered or added to by later owners.)

Just to the north of the Daniel Foot house is the area where Foot hoped to have the church built and the town center developed. Further north is the Foote Street burial ground, where the graves of many of the original families in the area can be found as well as the elaborate later monument of Middlebury architect Clinton Smith, whose birthplace can be found at #443 on the east side of the street.

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.