58 Main Street

Located on a wooded lot directly across the street from the Public Library, the Cook/Fowler House is situated high above and separated from Main Street by a private drive.

Notable Features

The 3 bay south side, facing away from the street, has a plainly framed central entrance doorway flanked by asymmetrically placed twelve-over-twelve sash windows, one being a double window. Two small gable dormers were added to the second-story gable roof on both the north and south sides about 1850, when this attic was converted to living space. An interesting original feature found on the second story of the 3 bay west elevation is the placement of small square windows to either side, typical of this style of architecture. There are two 1 story additions running the length of the east side, apparently built not long after the completion of the main house.

Historical or Architectural Importance

Jesse Cook built this 2 story gambrel-roofed, “Cape” style cottage about 1772. Its post-and-beam frame, sheathed with clapboard, rests on a sandstone block foundation and is covered by an asphalt-shingled roof with a large central chimney.
In 1769 Jesse Cook purchased a 1 acre home lot from Elnathan Camp for the sum of 22 pounds. A carpenter by trade, Jesse erected his own house soon after his marriage to his third wife, Ann Griswold, in 1771. According to local tradition, the Cook family lived in this house until 1790 when the house was turned over to Jesse’s brother Thomas. Other owners included the Lyman family for over 30 years in the early nineteenth century, and W. C. Fowler, author of Durham’s History, 1662-1866, and his heirs from 1860-1932.
The Jesse Cook House is a very fine example of an early Colonial period house. It is of interest to know that Jesse Cook built his own house since it may be possible, by comparing the style and method of construction, to compile a small group of buildings in Durham that were also built by him.