128 Main Street

This house is set back 30 feet from Durham’s Main Street. It stands on a narrow but deep wooded 1.7 acre lot.

  • Record ID: 60
  • Address: 128 Main Street
  • Current Owner: Coe and Ehlers, Marian E. and Reba
  • Name of Building: The Coe Place
  • Historic Name: Henry M. Coe House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

– Colonial Revival style portico supported by double, fluted, square posts and pilasters
– Fanlight and sidelights at the entry
– Broad flushboarded soffit

Historical or Architectural Importance

This house at first presents an appearance of being older than it is–perhaps a side-hall Federal style house with a large addition. Closer examination shows that it stands much as it was built in the 1850s, a 31′ x 41′ main block with three shed additions to its east side. The main block stands on a foundation which is brick on its west side and cut sandstone to the north, south, and east. The facade of the main block is strikingly assymmetrical: The entry is flanked by four six-over-six sash, two of them closely spaced to the left, the other two broadly spaced to the left. The second-story windows stand above the first. The gable ends of the main block contain five symmetrically
placed six-aver-six sash (three on the first story, two on the second), with rectangular fixed pane windows in the peak. A new exterior chimney runs up the southwest
corner of the south gable end. To the rear of the main block in an 85 foot line stands a series of three additions. The first, measuring 15′ x 31′, stands l 1/2 stories on a
sandstone rubble foundation, with three 3′ x 3′ eyebrow windows. The other additions, a 23′ x 19′ screen porch and a 32′ x 24′ garage, are of recent origin. The land on which this house was built originally belonged to the Merwin estate. In 1852 Henry Moulthrop Coe paid the Charles G. Arnold Merwin estate $1,220 for buildings; and land “six rods in width” on this site–and in 1859 purchased an additional two acres. He built the house shortly thereafter, for it appears on the 1859 map of Durham and is referred to by Fowler as H. M. Coe’s “new house.” Henry M. Coe (1811-1866) was one of the founders of the Methodist Church in Durham, serving as one of its original trustees. Although his death record lists his occupation as “minister,” there is no evidence that he was ever ordained or served a congregation in a formal capacity. The house passed to Coe’s sons on·his death in 1866. In 1908 a disagreement developed among the six heirs owning shares in the house, and one, brought by Grace E. B. Gould of Milo, Maine, and the Merriam Manufacturing Company forced a partition sale of the property. Sold at public auction in October of 1908, the house was purchased by the Merriam Manufacturing Company. In 1919, however, the property returned to the Coe family, with its purchase by Blanche M. Coe. On her death in 1958 the property passed to her daughter, Marian E. Coe.  Architecturally, this house is notable as one of the earliest Domestic vernacular structures in Durham. Owing no clear allegiance to anyone style, it borrows freely from the Federal (the entry), the Greek Revival (cornice returns), and the Ita1ianate (wide soffit). Historically, it is notable for its occupancy by the same family since its construction in 1859.