About The Commission
The Edenton Historical Commission is housed in the Penelope Barker Welcome Center, in the heart of Edenton, NC. Edenton is truly one of the South’s most beautiful towns and is located on the Albemarle Sound, in eastern North Carolina. Our mission is to preserve and educate our visitors on the history of our area, as well as help guide you on your visit. The staff and volunteers at the Penelope Barker Welcome Center look forward to your visit and hope to see you soon. This website serves to provide you with information that will make your visit to Edenton more enjoyable.
Be sure to visit our Events page for more information on all of our upcoming events! You can search the calendar and click on events for more details.
If you missed the broadcasts of UNC TV’s NC Weekend Traveler that featured Edenton, you have another chance to see them. The segment entitled ‘Collecting Carolina, Historic Edenton,’ can be found here. The segments on our Christmas Candlelight Tour can be found here and here.
Planning a weekend trip to Edenton? Start here!
The little town that 300 years ago served as the Colonial Capitol of the newly defined territory of North Carolina invites you to help celebrate a rare anniversary in American history – 300 years of continuous existence. To help navigate your trip, we have established a Museum Trail that provides continuous guidance around town. You will find carefully preserved, original buildings. Because Edenton is over 300 years old, our streets have seen all kinds of fashions and ways of life! For videos of what life in Edenton, NC might have been like throughout our history, click here. In addition, we have lots of historical photographs of the area! Check those out here.
Your first stop while visiting Edenton should be at the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center, home of the courageous Penelope Barker, the organizer of the first (1774) political action by women in western cultures. Situated at the base of South Broad Street alongside Edenton Bay, the house serves as “Edenton’s Living Room”. Or, take a Trolley tour and see the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, the oldest functioning courthouse in America, the Cupola House and several fine examples of colonial architecture. The Courthouse stands today where it was plotted to stand in 1712 and is still used, on occasion, by the NC Supreme Court. In Edenton, you will be seeing originals, not reproductions. Our quaint downtown has plenty of specialty shops and restaurants, owned by the friendliest folks around who would love to meet you!
Forbes.com included Edenton in their article “America’s Prettiest Towns”. Edenton is, indeed, a photographer’s playground. From the scenic Edenton Bay and colonial architecture to the nearby swamps and miles of colorful crops, there are so many “aha” moments just waiting for you to capture! Spend a few minutes on our pictures page, and you begin to get a feel for just how beautiful this area really is. Feel free to send us your best shots to share!
A Center of Scholarship
Edenton is blessed with a rich cultural history dating back well before the American Revolution. Edenton served the colony’s capitol and main commercial center during the first half of the 18th century. Craftsmen, some native born, some immigrants, some in bondage, created the elegant houses and furniture for which the town is now known. The Edenton Historical Commission has taken the lead in preserving and exploring this history. In addition to our local student engagement, we are one of only a few locations in the country that publish scholarly articles on Southern culture. In our Decorative Arts section, you will find articles on regional southern architecture, furniture, and historic trades. From the Perquimans County cabinetmaker who searched for the best location to practice his craft, to the African American house joiner who lived between the worlds of slavery and freedom as he created striking houses based on a New England pattern book, we have a bit of everything! Delve in and enjoy the Edenton adventure, starting with our latest article!
What is Edenton to you? Let us know – we would love to hear from you!