North Carolina is loaded with history. I find myself writing at least one or two articles on the subject each week. Luckily, if you’re a history buff, you’re in the right state. North Carolina has so many historical landmarks it’s hard to narrow them down to just 10…but these will be great starting points for your historical journey through North Carolina.
1. Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate was built from 1889-1895 as a vacation home for George and Edith Vanderbilt. The stunning 8000-acre estate has 250 total rooms, with a lavish library, 33 bedrooms, and luxurious indoors swimming pool. Today, both the estate, the grounds and garden is an extremely popular tourist destination in North Carolina.
2. Tryon Palace
Tryon Palace was the first official Governor's Palace and seat of early US government. It was built in 1776 and Tryon moved in to the palace in 1770. It served as a meeting place and place of conduct for early colonial government. In the 1950's the palace was meticulously reconstructed. Today, it holds all the beautiful Colonial charm and glory. Stop by on your visit to New Bern, or attend one of the many events held at the palace throughout the year.
3. The USS North Carolina
The USS North Carolina played a crucial role in WWII and was awarded 15 battle stars during her service. Today, you can experience the floating slice of history in Wilmington. The historic landmark is open for tours, perfect for the history buff!
4. Bellamy Mansion
And while you're in Wilmington, make sure to stop by the Bellamy Mansion. The mansion was built between 1859-1861 and is a gorgeous mix of Neoclassical architecture style (including Greek and Italianate). The mansion was originally built as a private residence for Dr. John D Bellamy and his family. It was taken over by Federal Troops during the Civil War and survived a terrible fire in 1972. The mansion has been meticulously reconstructed and today functions as a museum of history, arts, and design.
5. Brunswick Town / Ft. Anderson
Located on the Cape Fear River, Brunswick Town was a major port of entry during the Revolutionary War. It was ravaged by British troops and what is seen today is what was left. Ft. Anderson was constructed atop the old Brunswick Town to serve as part of the Cape Fear River Defenses during the Civil War. Today, the ruins are hauntingly beautiful.
6. Newbold-White House
Built in 1730 by a Quaker family, the Newbold-White house is the third oldest home in North Carolina. It is located in Hertford and open to the public for tours. You'll love the colonial kitchen and muscadine grape vineyard.
7. Historic Bath
Bath was incorporated in 1705 and is North Carolina's first town and port. Stop by St. Thomas Episcopal Church, built in 1734. Bath also has several historic houses like the Van Der Veer house which dates back to 1790. Bath's history dates so far, the infamous pirate Blackbeard also called Bath home.
Halifax was established in 1757. It developed into a commercial and political haven during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, North Carolina's fourth provincial congress met in Halifax and adopted the Halifax resolves. Several buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are unique, architectural wonders (like the County Courthouse pictured above).
9. Reed Gold Mine
Reed Gold Mine is the first documented site of a commercial gold find in America. North Carolina led the gold mining production until 1848 when California took the lead. Today, you can take a tour of Reed Gold Mine and you might get lucky for yourself!
10. North Carolina State Capitol Building
Built in 1840, the State Capitol Building is one of the best preserved pieces of a civil building built during the Greek Revival Architecture period. The Capitol building comes with tons of history, too, and some of that history is spooky. I've written several articles before on the haunts of the Capitol building (including a possible murder). Besides the scary, it's a great place for a day tour filled with history and politics.
It’s safe to say many North Carolinians have been to these places. If so, which ones have you visited and which ones would you like to see added to the list?