Joseph Hewes Memorial

Historic Edenton State Historic Site

Edenton is a charming historic town located on the north shore of Albemarle Sound in Chowan County, North Carolina.  Founded in 1712, Edenton has the distinction of being the second oldest town in the state.  Only the town of Bath is older.  The town went by many names during the early years of its history.  Prior to the name Edenton being settled on it was known also as "The Towne on Queen Anne's Creek", "Ye Towne on Mattercommack Creek", and "the Port of Roanoke".  The town figured prominently in the state's early history.  Edenton quickly grew into a busy and increasingly wealthy port town.  In 1722 it was designated the capitol of the colony and it remained so for the next 21 years.  By the time the American Revolution came around Edenton early on demonstrated its desire to break from the British Crown.  In 1774 an event known as the 'Edenton Tea Party' took place in which 51 women of the town signed a pact refusing to drink British tea or purchase other British products.  It was one of the earliest acts of economic rebellion to take place in the colonies.  The town was also home to an original signer of the Declaration of Independence, Joseph Hewes, who was also instrumental in the formation of the U.S. Navy.

By the time the 19th Century dawned Edenton's early growth had slowed.  Shipping had slowly begun to gravitate to the north and the port of Norfolk, Virginia.  As with many other coastal southern towns, though, the Civil War brought national conflict to the doorstep of Edenton.  Staunchly southern in its sympathies, the community aided in the Confederate war effort, even melting down church bells to cast cannon from.  Thankfully the town never saw a true battle but the Union blockade during the war affected the town greatly.  After the Civil War Edenton slowly fell back into its previous sleepy state and the local economy shifted from shipping to industry in the form of numerous mills.  As the 20th Century dawned increased interest in the history of the town began to take place and efforts were begun to protect some of Edentons historic buildings.  By the 1970's much of the historic district of the town had been designated a National Historic Landmark and by the end of the 1900's many of the old buildings had fallen under the protection of the North Carolina Historic Site system.

Today Edenton remains a small community, only being home to around 5,000 people as of the 2010 Census.  The historic district of the town is focused on and within a few block of the waterfront.  A pleasant walking tour will take you to most major sites that have been preserved in the town.  This album traces just such a tour, hitting the primary sites protected as a North Carolina Historic Site.  As you'll see Edenton is a wonderfully preserved colonial-era town and is certainly worthy of a stop if you're ever in its corner of North Carolina. 

Come along with me, then, as I take a quick walk around Historic Edenton...


  • Dave Kathy Weemhoff

    on October 22, 2017

    This is such a cool little town to visit and think back on just a bit of a taste of history -- we've been there several times and see something new and different with one house of another each time -- thanks for the bit of history connecting it all!!