Monday - Thursday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday, & Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
The mill pond. buildings stand on a cleared 1 1/2 acre lot on the east side of Durham’s Main Street. Allyn’s Brook and the remains of a mill pond run along the southern boundary
of the property.
The entryway is framed with architrave moulding and contains a reproduction six-panelled single-leaf door surmounted by a four-paned transom. The fenestration consists of twelve-over-eight sash. There is a “funeral door” on the northwest corner of thechouse. A 4’x14′ shed-roofed bay was added to the north end of the house in the nineteeth century. It contains two six-over-six windows. A small single-story 12×17 gable-roofed addition, probably of eighteenth-century construction, stands at the rear northeast corner of the house. It leads to a larger 17 ‘ x17 ‘ addition and a 1/2 story gambrel-roofed addition. It has a brick chimney on its east end. Two shed-roofed dormers containing two eight-over-nine windows each surmount this rear addition. To the southeast of the residence stands a 2 story gable-roofed building (probably the grist mill), sheathed with clapboards, roofed with slate, and standing on a stuccoed foundation. A small chimney projects from the north end of the roof.
The Timothy Hall House is a 2 1/2 story, 3-bay colonial residence. It stands on a stuccoed foundation and contains a rebuilt corbelled stone central chimney. One of the necessities of every colonial community was a grist mill, powered by water when possible, for this was the primary means of grinding grain into flour and meal. Usually the town authorities granted these valuable mill privileges to individuals who had the knowledge and skill to build and operate a mill. And Durham was no exception, granting this right to John Sutliffe and Thomas Hawley in 1704. Because of gaps in the town records, we do not know exactly when the first grist mill was built on Allyn’s Brook or when it passed into the hands of Abner Newton. We do know that Newton sold his interest in the mill (accutally two mills, a corn mill and a bolting mill) in 1725 to John Camp. Camp sold this share back to Newton in 1727. In 1729 Newton sold the property to Ebenezer Guernsey in exchange for land in another part of town. In 1751 Guernsey sold the property to Timothy Hall of Guilford for 1,300 pounds.
Hall apparently built the present house, for there is no reference to a dwelling here in the early deeds. First mention of a residence is in the settlement of Hall’s estate in 1771. (Hall died tragically of smallpox in that year). Actually two dwellings are mentioned as standig on the site: the present one, which came to be occupied by Timothy Hall, Jr., and another one to the rear which Halls’ mother occupied and which was razed in the 1820s. The younger Hall died in 1804 and the property was held by his heirs until 1828, when it was sold to Abner and Sarah Newton. In 1832 they sold it to Joel Blatchley of Madison, who owned it until his death in the early 1850s. (The 1850 census lists Blatchley as one of the three richest men in town, along with Miles Merwin and Henry Lyman). The property passed to William W. Ward in the 1850s, who constructed a blacksmith shop adjacent to the mill. It was operated by his son, Wilbur W. Ward. The Wards operated the grist mill until October of 1869 when the dam was destroyed by floods. Although the dam was rebuilt in 1877 the mill was not restarted. In 1879 the Wards sold the property to Waldo R. Atwell. It remained in the Atwell family until 1979 and passed to its present owners in 1981.
This site and the buildings on it are historically and architecturally significant as Durham’s oldest industrial site. The archaeological potential of this site deserves to be carefully assessed.