81 Main Street

The Robinson-Andrews House is on a shaded lot on the west side of Main Street and immediately north of the Church of the Epuphany.

  • Record ID: 87
  • Address: 81 Main Street
  • Current Owner: Ryan, Thomas B. and Barbra B.
  • Name of Building:
  • Historic Name: Robinson-Andrews House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

Full corner pilasters rise to the full entablature where three eyebrow windows, corresponding to the three bays of the facade, perforate the frieze. The full-size two~over-two
sash windows of the facade are each flanked by louvred shutters. The portico, added later in the Victorian period, is supported by two engaged front columns, square in sections, with chamfered edges, and by two rear antapilasters. The columns rise from simple, square, pedestal bases to capitals formed by sawn, cut brackets. These in turn support the soffit of the portico roof. Sawn scroll brackets with triangular cutouts support the solid front spandrel. The Greek Revival style front doorway, flanked by rectangular sidelights, has a cornice with decorative rectangular moulding over the six-panelled door.

Historical or Architectural Importance

Built ca. 1840, the Greek Revival style, 2 story Robinson-Andrews House has a side-hall plan, 3 bay facade, and an asphalt-shingled hip roof with central chimney. The building’s wooden frame is sheathed in clapboarding and rests on a cut sandstone foundation. The Robinson-Andrews House lot was originally a part of one of the “parsonage” lots of Durham. These lots were intended for the support of the ministry and for public use. But in the early decades of the nineteenth century, members of the First Ecclesiastical Society of Durham, wishing to raise revenue, freed themselves of several parsonage tracts in the manner which Fowler describes:
” … some who came after the generous fathers of the Town, endeavored to obtain
for themselves what had been given to the public. Encroachments … have been
made by virtually selling, under the name of a lease for 999 years, the land
which was granted for the support of the ministry …. how much more beautiful
would (Durham) have been, if the ideas of the first fathers of the Town had been
carried out without any encroachments!” (Fowler, 1866, pp. 28-30).
And so, in 1826, the Eccliastical Society of Durham concluded such a lease with Asahel Strong. In 1838, Strong conveyed the land (under the terms of a warranty deed) to Henry Robinson, a young farmer who later became quite prosperous (cf. 1850 Census). In 1844 Robinson sold the lot, with a dwelling house, to Dr. Chauncey Andrews. The house passed to the Tibbals famil in the latter half of the nineteenth century , who may have been responsible for the late Victorian additions.

A classic Greek Revival style cube, this building reflects the refined .tastes of a prosperous nineteenth-century Durham farmer.