174 Main Street

One of a group of three houses built as rental properties, this small structure stands close to the edge of Main Street, just north of Durham’s commercial center.

Notable Features

This l 1/2 story nineteenth-century domestic vernacular house is a composite structure. Its core, built in the early nineteenth century, measures 28 ‘x15’. A 13′ x 28′ shed roof addition was added–probably in the nineteenth century–to its north side. A shed roof sun porch was-‘ added–probably in the early 20th century–to its south side. The main entry to the house, which originally was located on the south side, has been obscured by additions. There is also an entry on the west side, leading into what was once a shoemaker’s shop. The fenestration on the structure consists of 6x6s throughout. The two sets of double 6x6s on the facade of the house suggest that the fenestration as we presently see it dates from this century. The original sheathing on this house, originally clapboard, has been replaced by aluminum siding.

Historical or Architectural Importance

This house was built between 1806 and 1808 by Abiel Camp, a blacksmith and one of the many individuals in that trade who served the needs of those passing over the Middletown and New Haven Turnpike, the main route in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century for those travelling from New Haven and points south to Boston and Hartford. In 1811, Camp sold the quarter acre lot with a dwelling and blacksmith shop to two brothers, Jabez and Morris Bailey. In 1820, Jabez Bailey (father of Henry W. Bailey, who later owned 170 Main Street to Julia Johnson. She sold it in 1863 to Daniel Coakley, a 30 year old Irish immigrant. He had migrated to America with his wife in the early l850s and had settled in Durham. The: first child was born in Durham in 1856. Coakley, who listed his occupation variously as laborer, shoemaker and farmer, owned the property until his death. In 1885, his heirs sold it to S.S. Scranton, who sold it a few days later to Smith Crowell, Legatee of Daniel Southmayd and owner of the large farmstead to the east of this cluster of small houses. When Crowell sold his house to Nehmiah Burr in 1893, this house was part of the larger property–and it continued to be so through 1932 , when Burr sold his farm to Elizabeth Downs and she in turn sold it in 1937 to Deborah Currier. Deborah Currier sold the house to its present owner in 1945. This house is architecturally significant in that it is one of a few small commercial/residential structures of the early nineteenth century to (survive–the other of its type being Fed’s Mill ( now Giuseppe’ s Restaurant ) on the New Haven¬† Road on the Durham/Northford border. It is historically significant for its association with the town’s early commercial life and with Durham’s immigrant population.