19 Main Street

This building stands at the southern end of Durham’s historic district. It occupied a tree shaded one-acre lot.

Notable Features

-gable roofed portico supported by doric columns

Historical or Architectural Importance

This five bay center-chimney colonial house has been extensively restored. Accordingly, it is difficult to gain a real sense of its original appearance. However, it probably differed little from other structures of the mid-eighteenth century in Durham. As it presently stands, the house is fronted by a gable-roofed portico supported by doric columns. This portico protects the entry, which contains six-paned side lights and a reproduction six-panel door. Its fenestration is uniformly 12x12 -- and are probably reproductions, for the standard fenestration used in Durham in the mid-eighteenth century was 8x12. The house stands on a cut sandstone block foundation. There are two lean-to additions to the rear of the structure, both apparently dating from the nineteenth century. They stand on sandstone rubble foundations and are, like the main structure, sheathed with clapboards. The barn associated with the house, which stands to its southwest rear, is a sturdy structure of fieldstone and wood. It was extensively rebuilt in 1980 and now serves as a popular restaurant, Camp's Tavern. Between 1708 and 1710 Samuel Camp of Milford purchased from Benjamin Baldwin several adjoining parcels of land on the south end of Main Street. Between 1708 and 1722 he built a house and barn on a 12 acre section fronting on Main Street. This section extended fr0m what is now the Durham Diner to the Town Hall. In 1722 he sold his Main Street property to his three sons. Amos received the northernmost three acres, John, 6 acres with a dwelling and barn, and Ephraim, 3 acres at the south end of the home lot. Amos sold his share to his brother John in 1727; Ephraim's share also apparently went to John - though there is no record of the transaction. John left the property to his son Samuel Camp (1735-1810) in 1767. On his death in 1810 Samuel left the property on which "Camp's Tavern" now stands to his son Ozias (1780-1855). On his death the property passed to his daughter and her husband, Mary and Phineas Meigs. In 1870 Phineas sold the property to his nephew Edgar Loveland Meigs (1837-1910). The property was owned fram 1890 to 1964 by Stephen A. Seward and his descendants. In 1974 the property passed to its present owners. It was continuously used as a farmstead from the 1720's through the early twentieth cenbrry. The title search reveals little about when this house was built, save that there was a house and barn on the site from the 1720's on. There is a structure shown on the site in the 1760 map of Durham. But Fowler's listing of "Changes in the Homesteads" attributes first ownership of the house to Samuel Camp (1735-1810). In view of his marriage to Hannah Hickox in 1758 -- and in view of the style of the house -it seems likely that it was built around 1760. This house is a worthy example of mid-eighteenth-century residential architecture -though hardly the best in Durham. Its historical significance stems from its association with the Camp family, particularly with Col. Samuel Camp, one of the town' s leading men.