Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
This open rural area, once actively farmed, has changed little since the Hart family settled here in the early eighteenth century.
Like other eighteenth-century farmhouses built in outlying parts of Durham, this house displays little architectural detailing. The original center chimney has been replaced
by a smaller brick chimney stack. Modern one-over-one sash replace the original windows. The facade entry is protected by a modern aluminum doorhood. Small additions extend from the east and north elevations .
Facing southeast onto Stage Coach Road, the Samuel Hart House is a late example of the 2 1/2 story, central-chimney, colonial-period house form which displays double-hewn overhangs. Built ca. 1780, the aluminum-sided, post-and-beam frame is supported by a modern cement foundation. The steeply-pitched, ridge-to-street gable roof is asphalt-shingled.
The specific circumstances surrounding the construction date of this house remain somewhat unclear. In 1759 Lieutenant Samuel Hart, Sr. (1733-1805), a Guilford native,
married Bridget Fowler in Durham. Hart, a farmer, and his wife had seven children: Mary, Ruth, Daniel, Samuel, John, Rebecca, and Lois. The first mention of this dwelling
is in 1784 when Samuel, Sr. in his will bestowed upon each of his three sons one-third part of his new dwelling house. Samuel, Sr. willed his wife and daughters his old dwelling house. Hart’s probate inventory in 1806 lists two dwelling houses: the house “where Hart now lives,” valued at $600, and the old dwelling house valued at $300. The assessment of these buildings indicates that the new dwelling house mentioned in 1784 is the one in which Daniel resided. According to William C. Fowler in his History of Durham, Daniel Hart lived on this property in the early nineteenth century. A farmer like his father, Daniel and his wife Hannch had one daughter, Ruth (b. 1800). Upon his death in 1845 Daniel Hart presumably left his dwelling house to his daughter and her husband Henry Maltby, for their names appear on the 1859 and 1874 maps. The Maltby family, which originally came from Branford remained in the house until 1917.
Although some modern alterations have been made in the twentieth century, the Samuel Hart House remains relatively intact and stands as a fine example of a colonial-period farmhouse.