Holton Home, 158Western Ave Brattleboro VT  05301... setting the standard in elder care since 1892


Our Story

From its inception, Holton Home has been committed to providing state-of-the-art residential elder care. Combining the best of tradition and innovation, it continues to set the standard for first class personalized care and healthful engagement of its residents and their families.

Mr. Holton

Dr. Holton was president of the Vermont Medical Society and Vice-President of the American Medical Association. He served as a chair of University of Vermont’s medical school, leading it through a period of great growth. Dr. Holton was on the Brattleboro School Board for 25 years, and served as chair for 15 years. He was elected to the Vermont General Assembly and to the Senate. Dr. Holton served on a variety of other Boards for area businesses and human service organizations, including the Vermont National Bank and the Austine Institution.

It all began back in 1892.

“In 1892, owing to agitation for a home for disabled persons, C. F. Thompson wrote an article for Brattleboro’s newspaper, The Vermont Phoenix, on this need.”
– The Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895
(Compiled and Edited by Mary R. Cabot)

“Renewed interest is manifested for establishing an old ladies’ home in Brattleboro and in answer to a general request a meeting is to be held next Monday evening [September 19, 1892] to consider the subject and if possible, to take some definite action.”
– The Vermont Phoenix (Brattleboro paper, 1834-1955)

A committee was appointed at the meeting to draft a charter and on
November 19, 1892, the General Assembly of the State of Vermont enacted the incorporation of “The Brattleboro Home for the Aged and Disabled.”

A gift of $5000 from Elisha D. Smith enabled the purchase of land and a farmhouse on Western Avenue, the estate of William H. Esterbrook where Holton Home is still located today. The building was dedicated on December 29, 1897 and the first residents arrived that year.


June 1896 news clipping


Sketch in 1897 News Clipping

A local physician, Dr. Henry D. Holton, was instrumental in the formation and establishment of the Home. He also served as its first President. As Dr. Holton described it:

“The house is designed primarily to furnish, at a moderate expense, a comfortable and congenial home for people of good character and habits, who, through death or misfortune, are left in advancing age and infirmities with limited means and without suitable homes, care and companionship.”

In 1903, to accommodate the need for more space, the original Esterbrook farmhouse was moved back from its foundation near Western Avenue and a large stone Greek Revival structure was erected in front of it using Vermont stone.

Old postcard view of Holton Home

Old postcard view of Holton Home

December 29, 1897 News Clipping

December 29, 1897 News Clipping

The new home was one of the first buildings in Brattleboro to incorporate indoor plumbing and central heating for its residents.


December 31, 1897 news clipping

In 1975, the Board of Directors voted to change the Home’s name to “Holton Memorial Home,” and in 2002, the Board legally changed the name to “Holton Home.”

The Visiting Committee

Shortly after the Home opened, a Visiting Committee was established to ensure the residents’ welfare and help them maintain and develop new relationships with members of the community. The Committee has been invaluable in helping residents whose family members are too far removed from southern Vermont for regular visits.

In addition to checking in with the staff and residents, the Committee orchestrates annual events that bring residents of the Home and the local community together.  The Visiting Committee also purchases fine furnishings for the Home and provides each resident with a holiday gift.

In recent years, Visiting Committee members participate in activities programing and hold fundraisers to underwrite their purchases.

Mission Driven Care

A non-profit private foundation, Holton Home was originally structured to require only a sizable admission fee, after which the Home took responsibility for “life care,” covering all costs incurred for the resident’s normal maintenance, including nursing home care, and, sometimes, funeral expenses. Over time, monthly fees have been established based on a daily rate that reflects the level of care that serves each individual resident best.

In a 1982 $100,000 fundraising campaign for capital improvements (including a new elevator), Holton Home began a long-running relationship with the Thomas Thompson Trust. The Trust donated $50,000, fully half of the funds needed.

games-in-the-sun-roomBy the summer of 2001, the rear half of the first floor of the original Esterbrook farmhouse required structural attention. The Board voted to gut and renovate the current dining room, kitchen, laundry, supplies storage, hair salon, and offices.

The refinished space includes a nurse’s station and handicapped accessible entrance.  The original ten-foot screened-in porch was converted to inside finished space with a new foundation and a ten-foot addition was added to the west side.

During the renovations, the area that previously housed an unheated freezer/kitchen storage room and open-air ramp was converted to inside finished space. A second story, exterior fire escape was replaced by a new interior fire-safe stair tower.

While earlier residents often had jobs and cars and participated in the upkeep of the Home, over time, the resident population that Holton Home serves has become older and more frail. Current residents now average in their mid-late 80s and most require some assistance with the activities of daily living, management of medications and chronic health conditions.

Residential Care

Holton Home is licensed by the State of Vermont as a Level III Residential Care Home.

The Home provides elders with exceptional, personalized care that includes help with daily activities such as managing medications, showering and personal hygiene, dressing, laundry services, and housekeeping.

In addition to these essential services, Holton Home purposefully engages residents in a wide variety of activities – on and off site – to help augment and maintain their social and emotional well-being.

Renovations for Residents’ Safety and Comfort

In response to residents’ needs, a renovation of seven second-floor rooms of the old Esterbrook farmhouse was begun in September 2005 and completed in May 2006. Expanding over the ten-foot addition built in 2001, each of the seven resident rooms were enlarged, well insulated, and given full baths. The hallway was also widened to improve convenience and emergency access.

2010 addition to Holton Home with solar hot waterIn 2009-10, the two-story post and beam garage was deconstructed and a two-story, 5000 square foot addition (at left) was built on the south end of the building.  The addition was reflective of the Board of Director’s commitment to invest further resources in the activities program and other amenities that further enrich our residents’ quality of life.

The "Jungle Room" is just off the activities room on the second floor.

The “Jungle Room” is just off the activities room on the second floor.

On the first floor are six new rooms, answering the need of an increasing proportion of our residents who cannot descend stairs in a fire drill.  On the second floor are two large activities spaces: Sadie’s Room and the Blue Room.  The Activities Director and Maintenance Director have offices in this area and there is a dedicated hair salon and a computer for resident use.  We also included a “Jungle Room,” with a large aquarium, lots of plants, an artistic water feature and a solar tube that brings in sunlight through the roof.

Major improvements in what we offer residents could not have been accomplished without the support of our friends.

Since 1892, Holton Home has been a non-profit, mission-driven organization. Our tradition of setting the standard for elder care has grown day-by-day and hand-in-hand with a generous and talented community of friends and volunteers.

If you would like to help us sustain this valuable asset to our community, a tax-deductible donation can be made by clicking our donate button below.

Checks may also be made out and mailed to:Holton Home
158 Western Ave.
Brattleboro VT 05301

The Future of Holton Home

As Holton Home heads toward its 125th anniversary year in 2017, current demographics are pointing to a burgeoning elder population and the State of Vermont is continuing to implement a policy of offering alternatives to nursing home placement.

By meeting strict staffing criteria, Holton Home was one of the first facilities in the state to qualify for participation in the Choices for Care program, welcoming those who need personal nursing home level of care, but prefer the home-like environment of a residential care home.

We anticipate that the need for our services will continue grow. Our ongoing history of combining the best of tradition and innovation is reflected in our often-stated commitment to build and develop, holding firmly in mind, “the next 100 years.”

It is because of our community of kind friends that Holton Home has been able to provide exceptional service to elders for more than 120 years. Thank you.

Holton Home
158 Western Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Tel: 802.254.4155