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Situated upon a steep hill , the Lemuel Camp House faces east onto Main Street. Located in the heart of Durham’s Historic District, this well-preserved Georgian-style dwelling
is shaded by large maples in a densely populated residential neighborhood consisting of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century structures.
The center-hall plan and twin interior end chimneys reflect the Georgian stylistic influence. The five-bay facade features a late-nineteenth-century door with rounded arch window panes. The simple door surround is topped with a large projecting cornice supported by brackets and a dentiled course. Although the second-story windows are smaller than those on the first story, they all feature two-over-two sash. A single-story addition has been added to the rear.
Built ca. 1825, the Lemuel Camp House i.s a 2 1/2 story, late-Georgian-style building which rests on a sandstone foundation. Sided in wood shingles, the post-and-beam timbers are capped by a ridge-to-street, asphalt-shingled gable roof.
In 1809 Lemuel Camp purchased a four-acre lot on the west side of Main Street from the estate of Elizur Spelman. No buildings were standing on the land. Camp (1770-1843), who resided in the tavern he built across the street, did not erect this structure until 1825. The tax list for 1823 shows Lemuel with one dwelling house (the tavern) valued at $1,700. By 1827 the Grand List indicates that Camp owned three dwelling houses at $2,700. In 1795 Lemuel married Martha “Patty” Pickett (1775-1860). They had four children: Sophronia, Mary G., Henry, and Edward. Lemuel served as a local justice of the peace for many years. It is not possible to determine whether the Camp family resided here or across the street, but when Sophronia inherited the house in 1843 she used it for rental purposes. Sophronia, who never married, left the house in 1862 to Martha P. Camp and Mary Jewell Camp.
Miss Mary J. Camp was instrumental in the establishment and building of the Durham Public Library. The Camp family retained ownership until 1882.
A fine example of Georgian-style architecture, the Lemuel Camp House is important in its association with the Camp family and their contribution to the development of nineteenth-century Durham.