Historic Sites

History seeps from every nook and cranny of Edenton and Chowan County. Outstanding historic 18th century architecture includes some of the state’s oldest homes and churches. Popular sites include the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and the Iredell House Homesite. Discover the stories about the Maritime Underground Railroad, a historic baseball field or take a stroll back in time while touring the amazing history and gardens at the Cupola House.

Whether you’re scheduling a guided trolley tour or rambling along on a self-guided tour, you’ll experience a unique historic town that has been described by one regional writer as a Colonial town floating on Edenton Bay!

Click the links to learn more about our historic sites »

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1767 Chowan County Courthouse

Edenton's Colonial Courthouse, built in 1767.

Most intact Colonial courthouse in America. Joseph Hewes, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the commissioners appointed to raise money for its construction. Prominent Revolutionary patriots, Judges James Iredell and Samuel Johnston heard cases here.

An All-Sites Tour 10 am; 12 pm; 2 pm
Guided Docent Tours, $5.00 adults, $2.50 for children (3-15)
Individual Site Tours can also take place from 10 am - 4 pm
$2.50 per adult, $1.50 per child (ages 3-15)

Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center
108, N Broad St. 
Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

117 E. King Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton
Location

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1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse

The Roanoke River Lighthouse sits in its permanent location overlooking Edenton Bay. The lighthouse was originally located on screw-pilings in the Albemarle Sound marking the entrance to the Roanoke River near Plymouth.

The lighthouse is believed to be the last surviving example in the United States of a squarer frame building built for a screw-pile base. The lighthouse was in commission from 1887 until 1941.

An All-Sites Tour 10 am; 12 pm; 2 pm
Guided Docent Tours, $5.00 adults, $2.50 for children (3-15)
Individual Site Tours can also take place from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
$2.50 per adult, $1.50 per child (ages 3-15) 

To schedule a tour; group tour;  or an event at the lighthouse,
Contact Historic Edenton State Historic Site by
email edenton@ncdcr.gov or phone 252-482-2637

To learn more about the lighthouse, go to its website:  historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton

Click here to read the cover story in Lighthouse Digest about the relocation.

And when you visit, take time to see the other Albemarle region lighthouses. Here’s a handy brochure that describes all four.

Videos

Edenton’s Roanoke River Lighthouse Moved Offshore
WRAL’s Tar Heel Traveler series profiles the Roanoke River lighthouse move on May 1, 2012.

Roanoke River Lighthouse Restoration
Professionally produced by visitnc.com, this video shows early restoration work being done on the lighthouse when it first arrived in Edenton.

7 Dock Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov

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Cupola House

The Cupola House welcomes visitors.

Built in 1758 for Frances Corbin, an agent for Lord Granville, one of eight Lords Proprietors, the Cupola House today serves as an architectural treasure and example of styles and craftsmanship popular in the mid-1700s. The formal gardens are lovingly cared for by volunteers and reflect garden plants and design that reasonably could have been in place before 1800. Plants are meticulously recorded in a plant database [link: http://cupolahouse.org/plant-database-intro.php]. Every other spring, the Cupola House grounds provide a backdrop for the Easels in the Gardens tour.

Cupola House gardens are open daily. House tours take Tuesday-Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cost $5.00 per adult, $2.50 per child (ages 3-15) per site Tuesday - Saturday 
10 am - 4 pm - call 252-482-2637 to set up your tour.

408 S. Broad Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
cupolahouse.org
Location

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Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District

The Edenton Cotton Mill has been elegantly restored and now houses spacious condominiums.

The Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District consists of 57 mill houses (1899-1923), a brick office building, an impressive industrial building (1900), and the First Christian Church (1916).

Watch a video about the Mill Village.

The former Edenton Cotton Mill office building is now the site of the Edenton Cotton Mill Museum of History, open every Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m, and Sunday, noon-3:00 p.m.

420 Elliott Street
info@millvillagemuseum.org
millvillagemuseum.org

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Edenton Museum Trail

An exploration of Edenton and its rich historic assets can be seen in a wonderful self-guided, mobile-friendly walking tour throughout the Historic District featuring pedestal signs with outstanding graphics, photography and interpretation to keep you following the trail.

Visit and learn more about these sites along the Edenton Museum Trail:

(1) Barker House

(2) Old Colonial Wharf

(3) Joseph Hewes & 1778 Cannons

(4) Hugh Williamson Monument

(5) 1905 Edenton Teapot

(6) 1767 Chowan County Courthouse

(7) Old Jail

(8) Oldest House in North Carolina

(9) Cotton Mill Village

(10) 1800/1827 James Iredell House

(11) Kadesh Church

(12) 1736 St. Paul’s Church

(13) 1758 Cupola House

(14) Josephine Leary Building

(15) 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse

 

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Historic Edenton State Historic Site

Located in a restored historic home, the Historic Edenton Visitor Center features rotating exhibits and a 13-minute video about the history of Edenton. While at the center, get information, brochures and maps for additional historic sites around town.
Guided walking tours take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. Additional thematic tours are available by reservation. The Visitor Center is open year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free; guided tours require a fee.  

An All-Sites Tour inclusive of:
1767 Chowan County Courthouse
Iredell House and dependencies
1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse
St. Paul's Episcopal Church & historical Cemetery
Tours are given at 10 am; 12 pm; 2 pm
Guided Docent Tours, $5.00 adults, $2.50 for children (3-15)
Individual Site Tours can also take place from 10 am - 4 pm
Cost:  $2.50 per adult, $1.50 per child (ages 3-15) per site

Harriet Jacobs Walking Tours and other thematic tours available by reservation only.

108 N Broad Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton
Location

 

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Iredell House Homesite, 1800/1827

Home of James Iredell, North Carolina Superior Court Judge and Attorney General during the American Revolution, and an Associate Justice on the first U.S. Supreme Court. Also the birthplace of James Iredell Jr., Governor of North Carolina. 
An All-Sites Tour 10 am; 12 pm; 2 pm
Guided Docent Tours, $5.00 adults, $2.50 for children (3-15)
Individual Site Tours can also take place from 10 am - 4 pm
$2.50 per adult, $1.50 per child (ages 3-15) A Tour of this site and its 

Historic Edenton Visitor Center, 108 N Broad Street 
Open 9-5 Tuesday-Saturday.  252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton
Location

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Life of Harriet Jacobs

Harriet Jacobs was an Edenton resident who became a fugitive slave, writer and abolitionist. Her book — Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl — is one of the only written accounts of the Maritime Underground Railroad. Pick up a brochure and take a self-guided walking tour of her life in Edenton or make a reservation for a guided tour. Brochures and reservations available at the Historic Edenton Visitor Center.

Call for tour dates.  Cost $2.50 per adult, $1.50 per child.

108 N. Broad Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton
Location

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Maritime Underground Railroad

Colonial Waterfront Park represents part of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program. The Maritime Underground Railroad was a network of African-American watermen who worked with individuals of other races and occupations to arrange passage, by vessel, for enslaved African-Americans seeking freedom. Edenton resident Harriet Jacobs’ description of her escape from slavery in 1842 — chronicled in her book “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” — is one of the few written accounts of this network.

108 N Broad Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
historicsites.nc.gov/Edenton

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Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, begun in 1736, is the second-oldest church building in North Carolina. Three Colonial-era governors are buried in the churchyard.

The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church maintains an active congregation and holds regular services.

West Church and North Broad Streets
252-482-3522
stpedenton.org
Location

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The Civil War Trail

The Edenton Bell Battery reenactment on the Courthouse Green, December 2011.

The Civil War Trails stretch across six states, connecting visitors to sites and stories that put them in the footsteps of generals, soldiers, citizens and enslaved people who found themselves in the midst of the Civil War.

In Edenton, learn how the Chowan River became a boundary between Federal and Confederate territories, explore the details of the three-hour Battle of the Albemarle Sound on Edenton Harbor, find out how the Edenton Bell Battery artillery unit cast guns using bells from churches and municipal buildings, and trace Harriet Jacobs’ escape from slavery via the Maritime Underground Railroad.

108 N Broad Street
252-482-2637
edenton@ncdcr.gov
http://www.civilwartrails.org/index.html

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The Penelope Barker House Welcome Center 

The Penelope Barker House.

The Penelope Barker House Welcome Center is a waterfront historic house offering information and maps, trolley tours of historic sites, exhibits, restrooms and a book and gift shop. Known as Edenton’s Living Room, the house is a nice place to relax and enjoy the views of Edenton Bay. The house is named for Penelope Barker, who led the Edenton Tea Party, which became the first political activity by women in America.

At present the 2nd floor has one of the finest 18th century furniture exhibit on display through January.

Open Wednesday-Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays. Admission is free. Home to the Edenton Historical Commission.

Edenton Trolley Tour times: Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.; Sunday (seasonally), 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

505 South Broad Street
252-482-7800
info@ehcnc.org
ehcnc.org
Location