172 Main Street

This small clapboard structure, one of a group of three houses built in the 19th century as rental properties, stands close to the edge of Main Street, just north of Durham’ s
commercial center.

Notable Features


Historical or Architectural Importance

This house is one of a group of small residential structures built for rental purposes on Main Street, just north of Durham’s canmercial center. The house itself is larger than those that adjoin it, the main structure rreasuring 20 ‘x20’ and containing two stories. Built at the turn of the century, it has a balloon frame. The gable end of this house faces the street. Its facade contains on the first floor a one story hip-roof addition sheltering the main entry with a set of double six-over-six windows. The windows of the same type on the second story are centered on the roof line. The house has been subjected to a number of additions including a large garage and shed attached to its northwest corner, an enclosed front entry porch, and several small additions to the rear. The roof pitch on the north side of the roof has been altered giving it two  pitches and adding to the generally asyrnetrical and organic appearance of the house. This small house, standing on a fifth of an acre, is first mentioned in the land records in 1895, when Nehemiah Burr, owner of the large farm to the east of this property, sold it to Sylvia and George S. Wilcox of Middlefield. Wilcox was a carpenter. In 1901, Burr foreclosed on a $500 mortgage on the property–but the Wilcoxes apparently retained possession for in 1935 Eizabeth Downs, who owned the adjoining properties, received the house from one Walter S. Wilox. ‘Ihe house passed through several hands between 1937, when Elizabeth Downs sold it to ‘”Deborah Currier, and 1965, when the house passed to its present owner. Like the other small houses in this group, this structure is typical of the rental housing available to those of modest means in nineteenth century Durham.