139 Main Street

Although located in Durham’s commercial center, the spacious six-acre lot on which the Squires-Scranton House stands gives it a distinctly rural atmosphere. The yard contains a large garden and cattle are kept on the property.

  • Record ID: 51
  • Address: 139 Main Street
  • Current Owner: Francis, Robert F. and Josephine
  • Name of Building:
  • Historic Name: Squires-Scranton House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

Eaves with wide projections which are supported by sets of sawn doubled brackets;  a painted string course connecting the pedimented lintels over the first story windows; a hip-roofed portico, supported by pilasters and antae pilasters.

Historical or Architectural Importance

The Squires-Scranton House consists of a 32×28 main block with additions to its north, west, and south sides. The main block, which dates from about 1800, was originally a five-bay central-chimney dwelling with a double overhang. About 1870 the original roof was reconstructed, eliminating one overhang and adding cross-gablffidormers on the east and west sides. The alterations, conceived in a Tuscan mode, produced eaves with wide projections which are supported by sets of sawn doubled brackets. The first-story overhang was concealed behind a painted string course which connects the pedimented lintels over the first-story windows. A hip-roofed portico, supported by pilasters and antae pilasters, undoubtedly dates from this time, as does the two-panelled Italianate-style front door. A two story addition stands to the west side of this house, measuring 23×16 Probably built in the l830s, it originally had three six-over-six windows on its south and north sides surmounted by three 9-pane “eyebrow” windows. Subsequent additions have altered this arrangement, including a single-story shed-roofed addition to its north side and an open porch to the south. To the rear of this stands a connected single-story shed. A five-sided single-story projecting pavilion has been added to the south side of the main block. To the rear of the house stands a 1t story carriage house with post-and-beam freting and board and batten sheathing. About 1800 the property was purchased by Phineas Squires who built a new five-bay house on the site. It was purchased in 1817 by James Rose, a farmer. When Rose died in 1839, it was sold to Abner Newton, Jr. who sold it in 1840 to Enos Rogers a wealthy merchant. Rogers was one of the founders of the Merriam Manufacturing Company. His daughter Dorliska married Simeon S. Scranton in 18–. Scranton, although born in Durham of humble origins, became a wealthy Hartford-based publisher. When Rogers died the house passed to his daughter and son-in-law. The Scrantons were undoubtedly responsible for the grandiose restyling of the house and the nature of their taste is further indicated by the house they built for their son William S. Scranton on the other side of Talcott Lane. On Simeon’s death in 19– the house passed to his son Charles, who sold it to John Southmayd in 1902. It remained in the Southmayd family until 1936.when it passed into the Francis family which presently owns it. This house is the best preserved example of Italianate architecture in Durham and, because of the local importance of its owners, of particular historical- significance.