23 Main Street

This house, vine covered and tree shaded, stands on a deep, narrow two acre lot on Durham’s Main Street.

  • Record ID: 123
  • Address: 23 Main Street
  • Current Owner: Otte, Jr., William A.
  • Name of Building: William A. Otte House
  • Historic Name: William A. Parsons Homestead
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

– mortered cobblestone foundation
– two small demi -lune windows in the gable peaks

Historical or Architectural Importance

This Dutch Colonial Revival residence, like Durham’s other bungalow-style house of the early twentieth century, stands on a mortered cobblestone foundation. Unlike them, however, its gable end faces the street. ‘This, combined with the thick growth of ivy, shade-trees, and shrubs, creates an impression of enclosed privacy uncharacteristic of such houses. The house has two full-length dormers along its north and south sides. All fenestration consists of 3×1 units. Two small demi-lune windows are placed in the gable peaks. The main entry to this house is protected by an enclosed porch on the north side. It contains an arched vertical flush board door with a multi-paned transom. There is a small porch on the southeast corner of the house. A cobblestone chimney rises from basement level up the outside of the east facade. This is the second of three houses at the south end of Main Street associated with the W.A. Parsons family, the proprietors of the W.A. Parsons Company, metal fabricators. The
land on which it stands was part of a 2 1/2 acre parcel bought by Harold C. Parsons in 1913. In 1921, the southern half of this property was sold to Parson’s sister and her husband, Gertrude and Frederick H. Page. ‘Ihe house they built on the site–21 Main Street–still stands. Harold C. Parsons died in 1925. His son, William A. Parsons, married in 1930 and in that year built this house on the remainder of the lot. In 1940, he sold the house to William August and Sophie Otte, the present owners. This house is a fine example of the suburban architecture of the 1920s. Its historical importance derives from its association with William A. Parsons, one of Durham’s leading twentieth century entrepreneurs.