Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Set close to the west side of Tri-Mountain Road on an elevated site,the Elias and John S. Camp. House is surrounded by open fields and woodland. Some modern development is occurring to the south of the property in this primarily rural residential area.
The facade displays broad overhanging eaves and a simple entrance portico with unadorned square posts and a modern doorway. Throughout the house the six-over-six sash are flanked by modern fixed, louvred shutters. The large, brick center chimney is a modern replacement.: the 1 story ridge-to-street, gable-roofed ell added to the northern elevation includes a two-car garage. A small shed and barn are located to the northwest of the house.
Located in the southwest district of Durham, this 2 1/2 story, 5 bay, center chimney Colonial house was erected by Elias Camp and his son John in 1823, the second house to be built on the Camp property, and the only dwelling that is standing today.
According to William C. Fowler in The History of Durham, it is clear that both houses were standing for some time. Elias Camp and his son tore down the original Elias Camp
farmhouse and built the present structure nearby. In 1824 Elias (1765-1826) sold an equal half of the old house, barn and the south half of the new house to his son John Spencer (1797-1871). John, in April of 1826, quit-claimed-all his rights in “the new house on the newly laid out highway” (DLR 15:419) back to his father. Upon his death six months later Elias willed half the house to his wife Elizabeth and half to his children, Thomas, Lucinda, Eliza, and John. “Distributed to the widow of Elias Camp the farm so called containing 29 1/2 acres with following described parts and priviledges of the north part of dwelling house with privi1edges of passing up and down the cellar back chamber and garret stairs and an equal right to oven and passing to and from the oven, also right of passing in and out of the back and cellar” (MPR 14: 69). The Ives and Atwell families owned the farm for a short period between 1831 and 1834. In 1836 Porter Austin of Wallingford purchased the “Camp Farm” and resided there until his death in 1858. Joel Austin (1811-1895), Porter’s son, inherited the property in his father’s estate. Joel, who married Esther Parma1ee (1813-1885), was a farmer and served as a town representative between 1861 and 1863.
In 1888 Joel sold the homestead to his son, William M. Austin (1842-1915), who continued operating a farm on the property. The house remained in the Austin family until 1919.
The Elias and John S. Camp House derives its significance from its association with the Camp and Austin families and as an example of Durham’s reliance on the Colonial house form well into the nineteenth century.