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 »
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.
The Courthouse is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10:00am–4:00pm
Guided Docent Tours, $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for children
The Lighthouse is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 to 4. Admission is $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for youth 3-12, and free for children 2 and under (must be accompanied by an adult).
To schedule a group tour or an event at the lighthouse, contact Historic Edenton State Historic Site by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 252-482-2637
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.
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.
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
War on the Chowan River/Buffalo: how the river became a boundary between Federal and Confederate territories.
Edenton/Battle of the Albemarle Sound on Edenton Harbor — the three hour battle between the CSS Albemarle and a Union flotilla on May 5, 1864.
The Edenton Bell Battery, an artillery unit organized locally using guns cast from the bells of churches and municipal buildings.
Harriet Jacobs’ escape from slavery via the Maritime Underground Railroad and her Reconstruction relief work.
Built in 1758 for Frances Corbin, an agent for Lord Granville, one of the eight Lords Proprietors. The gardens were restored from 1769 Sauthier Map of Edenton. National Historic Landmark. Gardens open daily and House open Tuesday - Saturday at 1 pm on guided walking tour.
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.
Read an article about the renovation of the Mill.
The former Edenton Cotton Mill office building is now the site of the Edenton Cotton Mill Museum of History, open every Saturday 11 am - 2 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm (noon) - 3:00 p,m.
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
This newly created innovation is a collaborative effort between the Edenton Historical Commission; Historic Edenton State Historic Site and many local historians and photographers
Visit and learn more about other sites on the Edenton Museum Trail:
(1) Barker House
(6) 1767 Chowan County Courthouse (no QR code on pedestal sign)
(7) Old Jail
(8) Oldest House in North Carolina
(10) 1800/1827 James Iredell House (no QR code on pedestal sign)
(11) Kadesh Church
(13) 1758 Cupola House
(15) 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse (no QR code on pedestal sign)
Restored historic 18th and 19th century homes and buildings.
A short video presentation on the history of Edenton, handicap accessible, exhibits, tour tickets, and maps.
Historic Edenton State Historic Site Visitor Center open year round, Tuesday-Saturday 9am–5pm; fee for guided tours. Closed State Holidays.
Guided Walking Tours take place 10 am and 2 pm from the Visitor Center.
Historic Building Tours of the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, the Cupola House and the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse are not featured.
The 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and the 1767 Chowan Courthouse is open Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm for touring.
The James Iredell House is open at 2:00 pm Tue-Sat for tours, and the Cupola House is open at 1:00 pm Tuesday-Saturday for tours. The Cupola House is open on Sundays for additional seasonal hours.
Harriet Jacobs Walking Tours and other thematic tours available by reservation only.
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.
The following tours will take place once we move into Phase III of COVID-19. Tours scheduled at 2 pm each day, Tuesday - Saturday. $2.50 for adults, $1.50 for children. To see this site, visitors can purchase tickets, cash or check by visiting the Historic Edenton Visitor Center, 108 N Broad Street - open 9 -5 Tuesday - Saturday.
Colonial Waterfront Park. This site is part of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program where African American watermen worked to identify sympathetic seamen and to arrange passage on ships for enslaved persons to a free state. Harriet Jacobs’ description of her escape by sea from Edenton in 1842 is one of only a few written accounts existing.
The second oldest church building in North Carolina, begun in 1736. The parish, organized under the first Vestry Act of 1701 holds the oldest charter in the state. Three colonial era governors are buried in the churchyard. National Register of Historic Places
Fugitive slave, writer and abolitionist. Grab a self-Guided walking tour brochure of her life in Edenton, or make a group reservation for a guided tour. Harriet Jacob guided tours are offered periodically throughout the year. Call for tour dates.
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 and a nice place to relax and enjoy the views of Edenton Bay.
Open year round 10am–5pm every day but Tuesday. Admission: free. Home to the Edenton Historical Commission.
Edenton Trolley Tour times: Mon, Wed–Saturday 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, & 2:30 pm
At present the 2nd floor has one of the finest 18th century furniture exhibit on display through January.
Sunday Trolley Tours — 11:30 am, 1:00 pm (Seasonal)