Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
This unspoiled, if somewhat dilapidated, Colonial farmhouse stands in one of Durham’s most rural areas, at the intersection of Foothills Road and section of Haddam Quarter Road.
The David Baldwin House is a 2! story, central chimney Colonial saltbox. Although it still possesses its original brick central chimney, it no longer contains operating. fireplaces. Like most of Durham’s earliest houses, the Baldwin house has a 3 bay facade. Its centrally placed entryway contains what appears to be an original wooden 7 sevenpanel front door with original hardware, framed with plain elements. The windows in the first and second stories of the facade contain two-over-two sash, replacements dating from the first half of the twentieth century. The facade and east side of the first story of the main block are obscured by a shed-roofed porch supported by four-over-four posts. This porch is of late-nineteenth-century origin. The conformation of the gable ends of the main block indicates that the saltbox lean-to is integral to the structure. The fenestration in the gable ends consists of three two over two sash aligned vertically from gable peak to first story. Two additions have been attached to the northeast corner of the main block, both dating from the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries. The first is a 15x 22 story ell, which is shingled like the main block. The second is a windowless shed attached to the north end of the ell.
This is one of Durham’s oldest houses, and the earliest of the surviving structures in the Haddam Quarter. It was built by David Baldwin, a member of one of the town’s founding families, between 1722, when he purchased 100 acres from Nathaniel Talcott, and 1733, when he sold 135 acres with a dwelling house and two barns to Samuel Pickett. The Baldwins and the Picketts, like their Haddam Quarter neighbors, the Merwins, Curtises, and Newtons, were immigrants to Durham from the Milford/Stratford area. The Picketts owned the property for the next century, passing it by will from father to son. In 1819 James Pickett leased the dwelling and barns to Dr. William Foote, who had married his daughter Catherine. Born in Northford, William Foote studied medicine with his brother, Dr. Malachi Foote of Rye, New York, and Dr. Benjamin Rockwell of New York City. He moved to Durham in 1802 and lived in the town until 1807, when he removed to Goshen in Litchfield County. He returned to Durham in 1809 where he purchased the house of Samuel Squires, across Haddam Quarter Road from the residence of his in-laws. There he farmed and practiced medicine for the next thirty years–a common combination of occupation at a time when there were too many physicians and too few patients. (The ratio of physicians to patients in Connecticut in 1810 was l:lOOO–whereas today it is nearly; 1:7000.) Dr. Foote died in 1842 leaving his farm to his son James Pickett Foote. In 1860 the younger Foote sold the house, which had been in his family for almost a century and a half. It passed through four owners in the next ten years, finally coming into the hands of the Clark family of Haddam and Middletown. It appears to have been a rental property during these years, often occupied by younger members of the Clark family. In 1875 the house was sold to Chauncey I. Harvey of Durham. He held the property until 1904 when it was purchased by Albert Hanus and Alexander Kurtz of New York City. In 1942 the house passed to its present owners. This house is architecturally significant as a relatively unaltered example of Durham’s early-eighteenth-century architecture. It is remarkable for its period atmosphere and the integrity of its setting. This house is historically significant as the oldest surviving structure in the Haddam Quarter and for its association with Durham’s earliest settlers, the aldwins and the Picketts, as well as for its connection with William Foote, one of the townls earliest physicians.