The Visitor's Center features a 14 minute slide show (free) of the history of Edenton, maps, displays, gift shop, and guided walking tours daily. Tours include historic sites such as St. Paul's Church, ca. 1736; Cupola House, ca. 1758; Barker House, ca. 1782; Chowan County Courthouse, 1767; and the James Iredell House, ca. 1773. On foot or by trolley. $7/adult.
There is free parking behind the visitor's center, and the docents are quite knowledgable and helpful. We took the walking tour because we wanted to do some genealogical research during the trolley tour time.
Some of the places we saw are pictured
Photo 2 is of Wessington House c 1850
This house was built from a pattern book according to our guide.
Leary Building (photo 3)
Josephine Leary was a black entrepreneur. She built this building for one of her businesses. It is one of the outstanding ones in the business district with an elaborate Victorian pressed metal facade.
The Old Ice House (photo 5)
Ice was cut from Albemarle Sound (which is fresh water) and stored in this ice house for use in the summer.
The walking tour from the historical society starts by walking from the parking lot of the historic society headquarters to the back yard of Iredell house.
Iredell House was the home of James Iredell, an Associate Justice of the first U.S. Supreme Court. His son James Iredell, Jr. was Governor of NC 1827-1828.
The house was falling into disrepair and the ladies of the DAR borrowed money to purchase it without the knowlege of their husbands. They held bake sales to pay for the interest on the loan, and sold the house to the state when they found that their charter prohibited them from owning property.
According to the National Park Service's website about the Iredell House:
"Early in 1798, in a state of extreme mental anguish because of mounting debts brought on by unwise speculation in lands, James Wilson, probably while visiting North Carolina on Federal circuit court matters, took refuge in this house. It was the home of his friend and fellow U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell. Within a few months, Wilson died there."
The original section of the house contains a living room and one other room on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second. The first floor of the 1776 section consists of the dining room; the second floor, a large bedroom. These two sections are furnished as a historic house museum and are open to the public. The remaining section of the long arm, dating from 1810, serves as the caretaker's quarters. The State owns and administers the residence.
Cupola House (which is on the walking tour) is considered one of the finest wood structure Jacobean style houses in the South. The interior was not open to the public except on the walking tour through the Visitor's Center. A National Historic Landmark. At present the house is undergoing renovation, but you can enjoy the gardens on your own between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm daily. Tickets may be purchased for guided tours of the home at the Edenton Visitor Center.
Cupola House was built in 1758 by Francis Corbin, land agent for John Carteret, Earl of Granville. Corbin died in 1767, and Dr. Samuel Dickinson purchased the house the following year. His descendants called the Cupola House home for over 141 years.
The downstairs woodwork of Cupola House was sold by the home's owner to the Brooklyn Museum because she needed money, so the current woodwork is a reproduction. The people of the town rescued the original staircase and upstairs woodwork.
The table in photo 3 came from the Edenton School of Cabinet makers and is constructed of mahogany, oak and yellow pine. It is one of three drop leaf tables, which, when joined would have made a dining room table 12 feet long. The table is said to date from 1740-1765.
This building was the residence of Thomas and Penelope Barker. Penelope was a principle figure in the Edenton Tea Party - the women met and signed a paper saying they would not use taxed English tea in Oct 25, 1774.
The house was built in 1782- so it was after the Teaparty. It is a handsome double porched building which is the headquarters for Historic Edenton. There are big veranda porches on the other side of the house. Photo 4 shows the bay side of Barker House at its new location on filled land. It was successfully moved with the chimneys attached. Photo 2 shows the south side with cannon.
Open Mon-San 10-4 and Sunday 1-4.
There is a large reproduction of the cartoon depicting the Edenton Tea Party which was in the London papers at the time. The drawing made fun of the Edenton women by giving them the faces of current English politicians, so it is not an accurate depiction of what went on. I bought a post card of it.
I found out about this town from my BIL because one of my husband's ancestresses was in the Edenton Tea Party. We stopped and had cookies and something to drink on our walking tour of the town.
This teapot memorial to the Edenton Tea Party is along side of the town green. The teapot statue is sitting on top of a cannon.
The Edenton Teapot commemorates the Edenton Teaparty which took place October 25, 1774 - the earliest known instance of political activity on the part of women in the American colonies. It stands on top of a cannon on the side of the Courthouse Green.
The women drew up resolves, declaring their intention to boycott English tea and English cloth. They stated, “We, the Ladys of Edenton, do hereby solemnly engage not to conform to the Pernicious custom of drinking tea,” and that “We, the aforesaid Ladys will not promote ye wear of any manufacturer from England until such time that all acts which tend to enslave our Native country shall be repealed.” The step was a momentous one for colonists, because drinking tea was an English tradition that defined social gatherings.
There were soon cartoons in England making fun of this meeting. Since the cartoonists did not know what the women looked like, the faces are faces of some of the local politicians. (photo 2)
The teapot is hard to take a picture of it because it is in the shade most of the time.
Nearby is a NC Historic marker (photo 3) which says
Fifty-one women met at Mrs. Elizabeth King's home, which stood 1100 ft. S.E., and resolved, Oct. 25, 1774, to support the American cause.
The teapot is on the town green (photo 4), at the end of which is the courthouse (photo 5).
Considered the finest Georgian courthouse in the south it is a National Historic Landmark.
O.K, you seen Edenton by walking around town. Now see Edenton from the water for a whole new perspective. Spend some time paddling the creeks and rivers flowing into the Albemarle Sound, or paddle the sound itself. The birdlife is superb, the flowers and shrubs unique to this area give meaning to life on the water.