Town House Road and Maple Avenue

The Old Center :School stands at the corner of Town House Road and Maple Avenue.

  • Record ID: 88
  • Address: Town House Road and Maple Avenue
  • Current Owner: Durham Historical Society,
  • Name of Building: Durham Historical Society
  • Historic Name: Center School
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

The Old Center School is a 2 story clapboarded 23' x 37' building which stands on a mortared sandstone rubble foundation. The facade contains two doors and two six-over-six windows framed with plain mouldings. The second story contains three six-aver-six sash arranged in three bays. The gable ends contain two and three six-aver-six sash, respectively. A small brick chimney emerges from the south side of the east end of the roof .

Historical or Architectural Importance

This structure stands on the site of Durham's earliest (1722) school house. The 1765 map shows a structure on the property--very likely a school. According to Fowler's History of Durham the present structure was built as a school house in 1775. It does not appear to have been used continuously for that purpose, however, for in 1791 the Durham School Committee leased the property (2 3/4 acres) to Samuel Camp, owner of the adjoining property, to use as a farm. By the 1820s, as the Wadsworth map shows, it was again being used as a school, a use which probably ceased in the 1830s with the erection of the district schools. In the 1960s the much deteriorated structure became the headquarters of the Durham Historical Society. In 1967 the Society purchased the last remaining 'Sabbath Day House', a structure built for the convenience of church-going families from the town's periphery, and moved it to a site adjoining the old school. Both structures are currently undergoing restoration.