Historic Cities & Places in North Carolina

Historic Cities & Places in North Carolina

North Carolina is a treasure trove of history, with its numerous historic towns and cities offering visitors a journey back in time. From the oldest town in the state to the birthplace of famous authors and the stomping grounds of legendary pirates, there’s something for everyone interested in exploring North Carolina’s rich past.

Key Takeaways:

  • North Carolina boasts a wealth of historic cities and places, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the state’s rich heritage.
  • From the oldest town in North Carolina, Bath, to the colonial capital of Edenton, each city offers unique historical landmarks and preserved sites.
  • New Bern, the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, and Wilmington, with its National Register Historic District, offer immersive experiences into different periods of history.
  • Exploring North Carolina’s historic cities and places is a fantastic way to learn about the state’s culture, heritage, and contributions to American history.
  • Plan your visit to these cities and enjoy the opportunity to delve into the stories and events that shaped North Carolina’s past.

Bath (1705)

Founded in 1705, Bath holds the distinction of being the oldest town in North Carolina. As I wandered through its historic streets, I couldn’t help but feel transported back in time. Bath’s fascinating history is intricately woven with tales of French Protestants, infamous pirates, and architectural marvels.

Anchored by St Thomas Church, North Carolina’s oldest existing church, Bath offers a glimpse into the town’s religious heritage. The church’s elegant design and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

The notorious pirate Blackbeard, known for his fearsome reputation, once called Bath home. His presence in the town adds an air of adventure and intrigue to its narrative. Imagine walking the same streets that this legendary figure once roamed.

But Bath is not just about pirates and legends. The town is home to two beautifully preserved historic houses that offer a window into the past. The Palmer-Marsh House, with its majestic Georgian-style architecture, allows visitors to step back in time and experience life as it was in the 18th century. Meanwhile, the Bonner House exhibits the unique blend of historical styles, showcasing the evolution of architecture in the region.

Historical Landmarks in Bath

Landmark Description
St Thomas Church The oldest existing church in North Carolina
Palmer-Marsh House A Georgian-style house offering insights into 18th-century life
Bonner House A showcase of evolving architectural styles in the region

Visiting Bath is like stepping into a living history book. With its rich heritage and captivating landmarks, it truly deserves its title as the oldest town in North Carolina. Whether you’re seeking tales of pirates, exploring centuries-old churches, or marveling at well-preserved houses, Bath has something to offer every history enthusiast.

New Bern (1710)

New Bern, settled in 1710 by Swiss and German immigrants, is a captivating city with a fascinating history. As the first permanent capital of North Carolina, it holds a special place in the state’s heritage.

One of the highlights of New Bern is Tryon Palace, a majestic landmark that was once the home of the British Colonial governor. This magnificent palace allows visitors to step back in time and experience the grandeur of the colonial era.

But the historical significance of New Bern doesn’t end there. It is also known as the birthplace of North Carolina’s first book and newspaper, thanks to the establishment of the state’s first printing press in the city. This printing press played a pivotal role in shaping the literary and cultural landscape of the state.

And speaking of innovations, did you know that New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola? Town pharmacist Caleb Bradham concocted the iconic soft drink here in the late 19th century, forever changing the beverage industry.

Visitors to New Bern can explore these intriguing historical sites, immerse themselves in the city’s rich heritage, and appreciate the contributions made by Swiss and German immigrants who played a crucial role in the city’s development.

Historical Landmarks in New Bern

Landmark Description
Tryon Palace A grand colonial mansion and former seat of British power in North Carolina.
First State Printing Press The birthplace of North Carolina’s first book and newspaper.
Caleb Bradham House The residence of Caleb Bradham, the inventor of Pepsi-Cola.

Edenton (1712)

Founded in 1712 as “the Towne on Queen Anne’s Creek,” Edenton holds a significant place in North Carolina’s history. Being the state’s first colonial capital, it quickly became a thriving port city and a hub of political, cultural, and commercial activity. Today, visitors have the opportunity to explore numerous historic sites that showcase Edenton’s rich past.

Roanoke River Lighthouse

One iconic landmark in Edenton is the Roanoke River Lighthouse, which stood as a beacon to guide ships along the Roanoke River. Built-in 1886, this picturesque lighthouse offers visitors a glimpse into Edenton’s maritime history and provides a stunning view from its top.

Penelope Barker House

The Penelope Barker House is another must-visit historic site in Edenton. It was the stomping ground of Penelope Barker, a prominent figure in the American Revolution. In 1774, she organized the famous Edenton Tea Party, a protest against British taxation and an influential act of resistance.

Historic Downtown Area

Strolling through Edenton’s historic downtown area is like stepping back in time. The well-preserved streets are lined with beautiful colonial-era buildings that once bustled with trade and activity. Visitors can appreciate the architectural charm and immerse themselves in the ambiance of centuries past.

One notable figure born in Edenton is Harriet Jacobs, the African-American writer known for her autobiographical work “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” Her story of perseverance and escape via the Maritime Underground Railroad is showcased in an exhibit at the Historic Edenton State Visitor Center, further adding to the historical significance of this charming town.

As you explore Edenton, it becomes evident that this colonial capital continues to honor its rich heritage while embracing the present. It is a place where history comes alive, inviting visitors to connect with the past and appreciate the remarkable stories embedded within its cobblestone streets and historic buildings.

Wilmington (1739)

Wilmington, settled in 1739, is a historic city in North Carolina that holds a special place in the annals of American history. As a major port city, it played a significant role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, serving as a hub for trade and transportation of naval stores.

However, amidst its illustrious past, Wilmington also experienced one of the darkest events in North Carolina’s history. In 1898, a violent riot and insurrection took place, leading to destruction and loss of life. This tragic incident serves as a reminder of the struggles and challenges faced by the city and its inhabitants during a tumultuous time.

Today, Wilmington stands as a testament to resilience and preservation. The city is home to a sprawling 230-block National Register Historic District, where visitors can step back in time and explore the rich heritage of this historic port city. Guided tours offer a glimpse into the past, highlighting significant landmarks and providing an immersive experience of Wilmington’s captivating timeline.

From strolling along the cobblestone streets to visiting historic buildings and museums, there is much to discover and learn about Wilmington’s fascinating history. Whether drawn to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, curious about the 1898 riot and its aftermath, or simply seeking to soak up the charm of a bygone era, Wilmington promises an enriching experience for all who visit.


What are some historic cities and places in North Carolina?

Some historic cities and places in North Carolina include Bath, New Bern, Edenton, and Wilmington.

When was Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina, established?

Bath was established in 1705.

What are some notable landmarks in Bath?

Some notable landmarks in Bath include St Thomas Church, North Carolina’s oldest existing church, the Palmer-Marsh House, and the Bonner House.

Who was the infamous pirate associated with Bath?

Bath was home to the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

When was New Bern settled?

New Bern was settled in 1710.

What are some notable landmarks in New Bern?

Some notable landmarks in New Bern include Tryon Palace, the former home of the British Colonial governor, as well as the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.

What is the significance of Edenton?

Edenton served as the state’s first colonial capital and was known for its political, cultural, and commercial influence.

What are some historic sites to explore in Edenton?

Visitors can explore historic sites such as the Roanoke River Lighthouse, the Penelope Barker House, and the historic downtown area in Edenton.

Who is Harriet Jacobs, and why is she important in Edenton?

Harriet Jacobs was an African-American writer, and Edenton is her birthplace. An exhibit at the Historic Edenton State Visitor Center showcases her life and escape via the Maritime Underground Railroad.

When was Wilmington settled?

Wilmington was settled in 1739.

What is the historical significance of Wilmington?

Wilmington has a rich history deeply intertwined with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It was a major port city and witnessed the 1898 riot and insurrection.

What can visitors explore in Wilmington?

Visitors to Wilmington can explore the 230-block National Register Historic District, which offers numerous historical sites, guided tours, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the city’s past.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *