33 Main Street

This house stands on a large, tree-shaded two acre lot at the corner of Main street and Town House Lane.

Notable Features

This nineteenth-century domestic style structure stands at the corner of Main Street and Townhouse Lane. Like most houses of this period, its gable end faces the street, with a side-hall entry. The facade is fronted by a full length shed-roofed porch which continues around the north side of the house. The porch is supported by turned posts on pedestals and sawn brackets. The
south end of the porch, which protects the main entry, is gable roofed. The fenestration in the house is throughout with 8-paned fixed windows in the gable peaks. The major addition to the structure is a 2 story, gable-roofed ell on its west side (rear) . It stands on a sandstone rubble foundation. On the south side of this addition is an 8′ x 18′ sun porch.

Historical or Architectural Importance

The land records show that a house was built on this site by Samuel Coe Camp (1761-1822) in 1819, shortly after he purchased the property from his brother Ozias. It is unlikely, however, that the present structure dates from that time. When Camp died, he gave a life estate in the house to his widow and daughter, after which it was to pass to a group of Congregational charities, Yale College, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, and the American Society for Alleviation the Condition of the Jews. Title passed to these or organizations in 1842. Within the year, they sold the property with a dwelling and other buildings to Charles L. Mills of Middletown. In 1851, he sold the property to E. G. and Susan Smith, from whon it was purchased within the year by William H. Canfield. Canfield and his father Henry were wagon makers. The senior Canfield, born in Durham in 1792, had lived in Canada for many years, where his son William was born. They returned to Durham in the 1850s with the intention of settling and starting a wagon factory. They lived in the old Camp house and built a factory (now Ackerman’s Store) to the south of their residence. Henry Canfield died in 1863; William H. died in 1880. In 1882, Canfield’s estate sold the property to Alfred and Deborah Jacksonwho sold it , within a year, to William A. Parsons, a tinner in the employ of the Merriam Manufacturing Company. He later went on to start his own firm, the W. A. Parsons Company. Stylistic evidence suggests that Parsons razed the Camp-Canfield House and replaced it with this structure. On his death in 1925, Parsons left this house to his son, Harold C. Parsons and his daughter, Gertrude Page, both of whom lived in houses he had built for them to the south of Ackerman’s store. The house remained in the Parsons family until 1964, when it passed to its present
This house in notable historically for its association with the Parsons family. It is one of three structures in this part of Durham in which they lived. The Parsons were notable for their activities as metal fabricators in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.