Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Elias Austin House stands on the west side of Main Street in an historically residential section of Durham. A 1 1/2 story barn with vertical flushboarding is northwest of the house.
The hip-roofed facade porch wraps around three sides of the house and is supported by slender, chamfered pillars with cut-and-sunk brackets. These give the impression
of continuous flat ellipses between the posts. The central doorway is marked by entry pilasters with long, round medallions, and is flanked by four 6/6 sash windows. The
second-story windows are 8/12 sash. All full-size windows of the house have louvred shutters. Greek Revival style, fluted, corner pilasters, with entasis, are present.
Various additions have been made to the rear and to the north side.
The Elias Austin House, built ca. 1745, is a 5-bay, gable-ridge-to-street Colonial period structure with some Greek Revival style touches. The 2 1/2 story, central chimney,
wooden, post-and-beam frame has an asphalt-shingled roof, a clap-board exterior, and a sandstone foundation. In 1743, Elias Austin bought this lot from Robert Fairchild for ‘153 pounds current money’ (DLR 5:446). When Austin’s will was executed in 1776, his home lot passed to his wife and sons. Among the latter was Moses Austin, who left Durham at the end of the eighteenth century. An early western pioneer, he eventually reached Texas in the 1820s, where he received a large land grant from the Mexican Government. He died soon afterwards, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, laid claim to his father’s land and, in 1822, laid out the town of Austin, the present-day capitol city of the state of Texas. The Elias Austin House passed out of the family in 1783, and has since changed hands many times. This house served as Durham’s post office from 1909 to 1935. This building is important as the original home and birthplace of Durham’s perhaps most noted emigrant, Moses Austin.