• 1767 Colonial Courthouse, Edenton NC

1767 Courthouse, Edenton, NC

“In November of 1712, the Colonial Assembly passed an act “to promote the building of a courthouse to hold the assembly in, at the fork of Queen Anne’s Creek”, essentially establishing the town to be the seat of the provincial government. By 1718, the first courthouse was completed, apparently unsatisfactorily, and a second building was constructed in 1724. The location of the 1724 building was on the north side of East King Street”, the same location of the courthouse to be built in 1767.

“One of the most important surviving buildings of the colonial period in North Carolina, the Chowan County Courthouse has stood at the head of the Courthouse Green since 1767. Now a National Historic Landmark, the venerable brick structure has an illustrious past, being the scene of meetings among Edenton citizens who assumed leading roles in the struggle for independence. Just as importantly, it was the county’s seat of government for over two hundred years and the town’s major public meeting place. In this role the building was the scene of innumerable events and activities, some of regional and statewide importance but many more of purely local interest, that shaped Edenton through nearly three centuries of growth and development.”

“In April of 1819, President James Monroe, our nation’s fifth President, received a twenty-one gun salute when he arrived in Edenton and accepted an invitation to a dinner in his honor in the large Assembly Room upstairs in the courthouse.”

“Although most official functions were moved in 1979 to a new structure on South Broad Street, the building remains the oldest courthouse in North Carolina still in active use.”

In 1996, when the County government realized that the cost of needed restoration was beyond the resources of the county government, ownership was transferred to the State of North Carolina. Closed in 1996 for major restoration, the state celebrated the re-opening of it’s oldest government building in 2004. The courthouse is used for court sessions, tours, and programs, and the second floor Assembly room is available for both public and private use.

Text taken from www.chowancountync.gov and Edenton: An Architectural Portrait by Tom Butchko