|Historic Edenton & Its Cotton Mill Village|
Edenton is a charming village in North Carolina's scenic Coastal region that is brimming with community spirit, solid American values and three centuries worth of vintage character and charm.
Established in 1712 on the north shore of the Albemarle Sound, Edenton, was named for Gov. Charles Eden and served as the state's colonial capital from 1722 until 1743.
Edenton grew quickly as a leader in political, social, and educational activity, and served as a major shipping hub during the 18th and 19th centuries. More than 800 ships in trade with Europe and the West Indies passed through Edenton Bay between 1771 and 1776. The town prospered, leading to the construction of many fine homes and commercial buildings before and after the Revolutionary War.
Edenton remained an important center for economic, social and political activity on the East Coast even after the shipping industry shifted to Virginia in the 1790s. Hometown heroes include Joseph Hewes, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Penelope Barker, who organized the Edenton Tea Party in 1774, the earliest known example of political action by women in the American colonies. Almost a century later, Edenton native Harriet Jacobs wrote Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which has been reprinted in more than 20 languages. Edenton also has been home to two North Carolina governors and U.S. senators and an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today, the town is known for its many fine examples of Jacobean, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural styles spanning more than 250 years. An extensive historic district includes two National Historic Landmarks and numerous buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1767 Courthouse and the 1758 Cupola House are among the nation's most illustrious colonial-era buildings.
Another important chapter in Edenton's architectural history began when the Unifi cotton mill closed in 1995. Local citizens helped forge a plan to turn the mill property into a community asset. The mill's owner donated the property to Preservation NC, which added protective covenants and sold the homes and lots to renovation-minded buyers. The mill itself was converted into condos. Thus was created a charming waterfront village on 49 acres. With its small and mid-sized homes, walkable streets and close proximity to downtown, Edenton Cotton Mill Village represents the essence of good neighborhood design, further enhanced by the development's historic roots.
Value is easily apparent in the Edenton housing market. In the downtown historic district, a small unrestored home recently listed for $40,000, while a renovated 2,300-square-Victorian — with double balconies, sensitively restored original details, and a spacious gourmet kitchen — bore a $215,000 asking price. Home prices in the mill village range from $85,000 to more than $200,000, depending on size and the degree of restoration.
Regional Director, Preservation NC Northeast Regional Office
The location, the people, the architecture and the attitude of Edenton make it the perfect place to buy an old house. Three centuries of housing stock offer plenty of choices for historic-home buyers, whether they are looking for a restoration project or a home that is move-in ready. Though steeped in history, Edenton is every inch a modern community, blending charm with convenience. The storybook downtown is filled with bustling shops and businesses that cater to residents and visitors. The waterfront offers park space for picnics and scenic views of Edenton Bay, with canoe and kayak trails nearby along the Albemarle Sound.
With a population of only 5,000, Edenton offers quality of life and natural beauty that is unrivaled. As a result, the area attracts entrepreneurs, artisans and other creative residents who contribute to a progressive and welcoming atmosphere. The Chowan Arts Council hosts gallery exhibits monthly. Ocean lovers can be swimming, sunning or collecting shells along the beautiful Outer Banks beaches with slightly more than an hour's drive.
For more urban fare, a day trip to Norfolk, Virginia, approximately 70 miles away, offers access to upscale shopping, fine dining, theater and an international airport. Raleigh, the state capital of North Carolina, is less than a three-hour drive away. Other mid-size cities in close proximity to Edenton include Greenville, home to East Carolina University and a nationally renowned medical center.
It's often said that life goes slower in Edenton, a pace just right for savoring all the wonderful qualities this area has to offer.