Main Street, North of the Old Burying Ground

The church stands on a wooded lot on the west side of Main Street, several houses north of the Old Burying Ground. It is one of the only Gothic Revival style buildings in
Durham.

  • Record ID: 93
  • Address: Main Street, North of the Old Burying Ground
  • Current Owner: Church of the Epiphany,
  • Name of Building: Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal)
  • Historic Name: Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal)
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

The east end of the church has a major central lancet window flanked by two minor lancets. Among these is the 'Children's Window', paid for by the children of the parish and installed on the church's feast day in 1880. In the east gable is a small oculus window. A small wooden Celtic cross is on the apex of the gable. The southeast corner portal and tower has a double-door entryway and brownstone steps. The plain, flat doors are surmounted by a wooden tympanum and are set in a pointed arch frame. The tower is marked by small lancet windows and by an open, square belfry above. The canopy of the Swiss-style belfry balustrade is supported by square columns with connecting sawn, pointed-arch brackets. A double finial with ornamental ironwork surmounts the tower. North and south sides of the church are characterized by nave bays with double lancets and small, low, flying buttresses with coursed sandstone foundations. The west end of the church is flat, and has a second projecting lower gable with a large window, consisting of triple lancets, the central of which is surmounted by a six-lobed, large rose window. The lateral west lancets correspond to similarly disposed minor, six-lobed roses. Multiple additions have been made to the west end, and a glass paned hallway leads to the building presently used as the Durham Cooperative School. Several additions have been made throughout the building's history. The church was raised one-and-a-half feet in 1877, and the foundation was replaced at that time. The elaborate and ornate porch now on the southwest corner of the church was originally the entry porch, but was moved to its present position where it serves as the sacristy. The nave windows on both the north and south sides, originally plain, were replaced by stained glass memorial windows in 1913. The original wooden roof-shingling on the church may still be seen on the north side.

Historical or Architectural Importance

This 3 bay, Carpenter Gothic style church, built in the mid-nineteenth century, has a steeply pitched gable-to-street roof, a board-and-batten exterior, a southeast tower, and a regularly coursed sandstone foundation. Services were first held by Durham Episcopalians in 1802, but an organized parish did not come into being until much later. Money was finally raised for the construction of a church building in 1861. In 1862, Sophronia Camp deeded the lot to John Williams, the Assistant Bishop of the Connecticut Diocese. The church was consecrated by him in 1863, and has been regularly attended since that year. As the first and only church of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America in Durham this building occupies an important position in the town's history. It is also significant as a fine example of the Carpenter Gothic style in eccliastical architecture.