Old Stone House Museum
The Old Stone House was built in 1834 and served as a dormitory named Athenian Hall. The building was constructed by the Reverend Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate and state legislator in America. The structure now holds a museum with 21 rooms with exhibits about the history of Vermont, including many antiques. The museum also includes Twilight’s own home, two other historic houses, and a traditional barn.
Backstory and Context
After graduating Twilight traveled to Peru, New York, where he both taught class and studied for Congregational ministry. In 1826 Twilight married Mercy Ladd Merrill, a school teacher. He soon become the pastor of congregations in Vergennes, Vermont and also in Brownington. Upon returning to Vermont Twilight endeavored to open a school. He was not only the school's architect, but also its school master. Twilight's school was named Orleans County Grammar School. In order to garner needed students Twilight sought to raise funds and build the a granite public building, the first of its kind in Vermont. This building was predominately used as a dormitory named Athenian Hall.
Twilight was elected to Vermont's General Assembly in 1836. With this win he garnered another first, becoming the one African American to serve in a state legislature in the United States. Later, In 1847, after trouble with local school administrators and boards, Twilight decided to moved to Quebec. He was gone for five years, but returned to serve again as headmaster in a Brownington. Twilight died in June of 1857. He is buried in the Brownington churchyard near the historic Athenian Hall, which is now commonly referred to as the Old Stone House.