Edenton’s 7 Historic Sites You Won’t Want to Miss!

We’re pretty excited in Edenton to be celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Edenton Tea Party this year!

This momentous event happened on October 25,1774, when 51 women penned their names to a resolution against the British Empire, forming one of the earliest-known political actions written and organized by women in Colonial America. 

All throughout this year, we have special festivities planned to remember and celebrate these brave, patriotic women. 

From 1774 to 2024, Edenton has played a significant role in the history of America and the state of North Carolina. 

We invite you to join us during 2024 to celebrate this anniversary and to also experience the many historic sites throughout Edenton. 

Here are 7 must-see historic sites in our picturesque town:

#1. 1736 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

St. Paul’s was organized in 1701 as the first parish in the newly formed North Carolina colony. By 1736, Edenton was the bustling capital of the colony, and St. Paul’s began building a larger church to accommodate its growing congregation. 

Today, you can visit the finished structure which is North Carolina’s second oldest church building and the oldest still in regular use. 

Make sure to take time wandering the grounds where you will find many of Edenton’s past leaders and historical figures interred, including the first Colonial Governor of North Carolina, Governor Charles Eden.  

#2. 1767 Chowan County Courthouse

Step back in time to colonial days when James Iredell and Samuel Johnston pleaded court cases right in this courthouse. Enter the assembly room and imagine yourself among a gathering of Edentonians planning their fight for independence. 

As the oldest government building in North Carolina, the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse is a National Historic Landmark. It was the county’s seat of government for over 200 years, and even hosted President James Monroe for a public dinner in 1819. 

Today, it is one of two locations where the North Carolina Supreme Court still convenes to hear cases, making it the oldest courthouse still in active use in the state. 

#3. Joseph Hewes Monument and the 1778 Cannons

Joseph Hewes, a native of New Jersey, moved to Edenton in 1760 to pursue a career as a merchant. He ran a highly successful shipping business and quickly became a prominent local figure. 

Eventually, Hewes was elected to represent North Carolina at the Continental Congress and became one of three North Carolinians to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 

Today, this Revolutionary hero is commemorated in Edenton with a large, white granite monument erected by the Congress of the United States in 1932. Nearby stand a battery of Revolutionary War cannons. 

#4. 1782 Penelope Barker House

Visit the home of the famous Penelope Barker, the courageous leader who organized 51 women in signing the Edenton Resolves in 1774. 

Relocated in 1952 to its present location on the waterfront, the Penelope Barker House now serves as Edenton and Chowan County’s Welcome Center. 

You’ll find a treasure trove of historical artifacts, history books, and artisan gifts here. Purchase tickets for our Edenton Trolley Tours and savor the exquisite views of the waterfront from “Edenton’s Front Porch” rocking chairs.

#5. 1800/1827 James Iredell House

Visit the house of the prominent Iredell family. James Iredell, Sr. was the youngest appointee to the first United States Supreme Court, appointed in 1790 by President George Washington. His son, James Iredell, Jr., would become Governor of North Carolina.

The house was built in 1773 and purchased by James Iredell, Sr. in 1778. It remained in the family until 1870 and was sold to the Edenton Tea Party Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1949.

Today, the house is owned and managed by the State of North Carolina with the assistance of the James Iredell Association. 

#6. 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse

Learn about life as a lighthouse keeper and climb the steps to the top of the Roanoke River Lighthouse for amazing views of Edenton’s waterfront. 

This unique screw-pile lighthouse is one of the last remaining of its kind in North Carolina. 

Originally located in the Albemarle Sound to mark the entrance to the Roanoke River near Plymouth, it was decommissioned in 1941 and lovingly restored by a group of dedicated preservationists so that you can now enjoy exploring this historic structure.

#7. 18th Century Hayes Farm

We are very excited about the ongoing restorations to Hayes Farm and the amazing historical discoveries that have been preserved!   

Originally settled in the 18th century by Samuel Johnston, the fourth governor of North Carolina and a United States Senator, this 194-acre site features unique wetlands and breathtaking views of the Albemarle Sound. 

Plans are underway to restore historic buildings and open this site as a public park for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Stop by to stroll through the grounds and see the work currently happening. 

In Edenton, we are proud of our historic heritage and the role prominent Edentonians played in the birth of our great nation! 

Preserving their memories and stories is important to us, and we invite you to visit Edenton and learn about the history that unfolded here and played a part in shaping who we are today. 

Why not book a stay at one of our historical B&Bs and come explore Edenton?

We hope to see you soon! 

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