Hayes Farm: Exciting Prospects for 2024!
If you were fortunate to attend Edenton’s Christmas Candlelight Tour this past December, then you enjoyed the privilege of touring the newly opened Hayes Farm, countryside estate of North Carolina’s fourth governor, Samuel Johnston.
As we begin a new year, we are eager to share the exciting prospects that local residents and visitors will be able to experience with the renovations and preservation efforts at Hayes Farm in 2024!
Built in the late 18th century on the shores of the Albemarle Sound, the current house was completed in 1817 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. It is considered “one of the South’s most accomplished examples of a five-part Palladian villa.”
Until recently, this magnificent 194-acre estate was privately owned and managed by the Wood Family for over 150 years.
Then, the State of North Carolina finalized the purchase of the estate in 2022 with the goal of preserving this important part of North Carolina’s history under the care of the local Elizabeth Vann Moore Foundation with assistance from the Edenton Historical Commission and the Town of Edenton.
Preserving our history for current and future generations has always been important in Edenton. We are proud of our heritage and strive to honor the stories and lives of those who built this town.
Hayes Farm tells the story of both enslaved and free Edentonians. Working with the Elizabeth Vann Moore Foundation, Down East Preservation is hopeful that all of these stories will be preserved so that this place “will teach us about the past, providing us with perspective on today.”
The property includes 28 structures, including a carriage house that is currently being restored by Down East Preservation and six enslaved worker’s cottages.
Down East Preservation is also working on saving 19th century carriages and stabilizing the Gin House, which sustained significant damage from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
It’s a work of love and stems from a passion for tangibly saving history. And it doesn’t happen overnight.
This is a process and labor of love that will take some time, but the goal is to open a 180-acre North Carolina historic park that will preserve the history and natural beauty of Hayes Farm.
In addition, this historic park will offer residents and visitors unique access to the Albemarle Sound by providing public beach access.
Anyone can follow updates on the Hayes Farm restoration on the Elizabeth Vann Moore Foundation’s social media accounts.
Real-time updates, photos, and videos chronicle the progress as well as some exciting discoveries, such as the original fireplace and brick oven.
You can also see pictures of not only the structures but also some truly special relics like the 19th century carriages.
We invite you to follow along with us as the restoration of Hayes Farm continues during 2024, and we also invite you to visit Edenton to see some of these newly preserved buildings for yourself!
While renovations are continuing, you can experience the tranquility and beauty of the wetlands and stunning views of the Albemarle Sound by walking part of the estate.
Stop by the adjacent family cemetery that stands as a witness to prominent American Revolutionary leaders who played a role in shaping Edenton and our new nation after the Revolutionary War.
Efforts are also underway to locate and commemorate the burial site of enslaved workers so that their stories can be properly preserved and honored.
While access inside the buildings is currently restricted to aid the restoration efforts, we are hopeful that future events, such as the 2024 Christmas Candlelight Tour, will enable people to experience the grandeur and history at Hayes Farm during 2024.
You can check our Calendar of Events to help plan your visit. Check back often as additional events are added to the schedule monthly.
We hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to visit Hayes Farm, and we can’t wait to see you soon in Edenton!