Curtis Fairchild House, Durham, Connecticut:
At the corner of Main Street and Route 68 is a classic Federal style home with a crowned pediment over its red doorway. The house was constructed in 1741 by Curtis Fairchild, who sold it a few years later to John Jones. It was inherited by John Jones, Jr., who by 1767 was in serious debt and fled his creditors. Title ended up in the hands of Phineas Spelman, who turned the house into an inn at the urging of the town. Spelman was reluctant to do so during the Revolutionary War, when inflation had made currency almost worthless. He died in 1783 and his widow operated the Spelman Hotel, until it was closed by the town in 1793. The town was unwilling to license Elizabeth Spelman because there were now several taverns in Durham and town officials feared the effect on local morality.
The house was owned by Daniel Bates and then by Parsons Coe, who altered it in the Greek Revival style, replacing the original gambrel roof with a gable roof. A front porch with six square columns was also added and the house was attached to an adjacent house. The Coe family owned the house until 1898 and the Harvey family from 1902 to 1954, when it became the property of Durham’s First Congregational Church. The house has recently been brought back to its eighteenth century appearance, again freestanding and with the removal of the porch and the addition of a restored gambrel roof.