north east corner Main Street and Maiden Lane

This handsome eighteenth-century structure stands on the northeast corner of Main Street and Maiden Lane.

  • Record ID: 73
  • Address: north east corner Main Street and Maiden Lane
  • Current Owner: Quick, Joan M.
  • Name of Building:
  • Historic Name: Elnathan Camp House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

– gambrel-roofed with double-overhang

– cellar of one of the additions contains a shopdoor dating from the early nineteenth century

Historical or Architectural Importance

This gambrel-roofed, double-overhang colonial structure in unlike any other building of its period in Durham in size and scale. The only house remotely approximating its grandness is the Elizur Goodrich House at 42 Main Street–which is contemporary with it and which, except for the gambrel roof, resembles it in many respects. The Elnathan Camp House is a five-bay center entrance structure. Like the Goodrich house it was probably a central chimney structure–but its original chimney has been removed. The present fenestration consists of 6x9s except for one window on the east side, which contains one of the original 12x12s. The. east side of the building contains three, nineteenth-century one story additions. The cellar of one of these additions contains a shopdoor dating from the early nineteenth century.
This house stands on land granted to Thomas Mecock in 1701. He sold it to Abraham Jelitin 1706. When Jelit sold it in 1722, it contained a house and barn. Its new owner, John Camp of Milford gave the property to his son, John Camp 3rd in 1734. He gave it to his son Phineas camp in 1785. On the same day, Phineas (who was migrating westward) sold the property, described as containing “two mansion houses and a barn” to his brother, Elnathan Camp. Although it is impossible to date the construction of this house from existing records, its similarity to the Goodrich house suggests that it was built some time in the 1760s to replace the earlier and smaller Jelit house. The house was probably built for John camp, Phineas and Elnathan’ s father. Elnathan already had a house and shop to the north of the property at 110 Main Street. He did not occupy this building until 1785. The building appears to have been used for both residential and camercial purposes, both by Elnathan Camp, who is known to have been a merchant, and by subsequent owners. On Elnathan Camp’s death in 1807, the house passed to his son, David Camp. When he died the following year, the property was kept undivided until 1830-though it was apparently occupied by Dennis Camp, ‘Who in partnership with his brother-in-law Guernsey Bates, kept a store on the property and was probably responsible for the additions to the east side of the house. Dennis Camp bought out the interests of his cousins, Elnathan Camp’s heirs, in 1830. In 1865, Dennis Camp’s son, Henry B. Camp of Hartford, sold the property to S.S. Scranton, who sold it shortly thereafter to Smith Crowell. Crowell, ‘Who owned the house from 1867 to 1896, kept a tavern on the premises. On his death, the house passed through his daughter into the hands of the Newton family, by whom it was used as a dwelling until 1945. In 1973, it passed to its present owners.
Architecturally, this building is significant as one of Durham’s most imposing eighteenth-century buildings, one of two gambrel-roofed buildings remaining in the town. Its historical significance derives fran its association with the Camp family and from its function as the most important commercial structure in Durham during the Early National Period.