Historic Sites and Buildings
The Battle of Alamance took place near the western frontier of North Carolina on May 16, 1771. Gov. William Tryon's militia force defeated overwhelmingly a numerically superior mob of rebellious frontiersmen, climaxing the 7-year socioeconomic-political struggle called the "War of the Regulation." The battle is sometimes viewed as a preliminary engagement of the War for Independence, but it was not that. Instead, it was the most dramatic example of the rising struggle between the frontier West and the conservative East. Conditions common to the American frontier along with local complaints produced the Regulator Movement and this battle. Alamance Battleground State Historic Site, 40 acres, administered by the State Department of Archives and History, includes the central part of the battlefield. A small visitor center and several field exhibits and markers tell the story of the struggle.
Bethabara, or "Oldtown," was the place settled by the Moravian sect that came from Pennsylvania in 1753 to found the Wachovia Colony on land purchased from the proprietor. The town throve at first, but in the latter 1760's Salem, nearby to the southeast, was established as the Moravian "capital" and gradually drew settlers away from Bethabara. Little remains today except the church, built in 1788, and a few houses, of which only two antedate the church. Churchyard markers indicate the sites of the first cabin of Bethabara and the fort (erected 1756). Headstones in the burial ground date from 1754.
NHL Designation: 01/20/99
Brunswick was the largest North Carolina port throughout the colonial period. It was important not only commercially but also politically after its establishment in 1726, although Wilmington soon became more powerful politically. Brunswick could claim to be the capital of North Carolina from 1758 to 1770, however, because of the residence here of the Royal Governor. Two important events in the town's history were a 4-day siege by Spanish privateers in 1748 and the "Stamp Act Defiance" in February 1766, a spontaneous uprising in which vessels were released which had violated the Stamp Act and the Governor was placed under virtual house arrest. Brunswick's exposed location led to its abandonment and destruction during the War for Independence. A few families moved back into the area after the war, but it was abandoned completely by 1830.
Until 1958 the site was marked only by the empty walls of St. Philip's Episcopal Church (built 1740-65), a few exposed foundations covered with underbrush, and the remains of a huge Civil War earthwork, Fort Anderson, overlying a corner of the town. Now established as Brunswick Town State Historic Site on 24 acres of donated land, the area is being excavated, producing many 18th-century artifacts. Trailside exhibits have been set up and the foundations stabilized.
The Cupola House, probably built about 1715, combines features of both colonial and Georgian architectural styles, thus affording an outstanding example of the transition from the one to the other. The second-story overhang (of which no other example survives in the South), beaded clapboards, steeply pitched roof, and great end chimneys are of colonial origin. Georgian features include the octagonal cupola, sliding-sash windows, and notable interior paneling. The house is utilized as the Edenton Public Library.
NHL Designation: 04/15/70
The Historical Halifax Restoration Association, Inc., has undertaken the restoration of the historic section of Halifax. The site has been marked of the courthouse in which the "Halifax Resolves" were adopted on April 12, 1776, the first official State action for independence. The Resolves were passed by the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina and sent to Continental Congress where they added impetus to the independence movement. The colonial clerk's office and the gaol, both built in 1758, still survive. Constitutional House, in which the first State constitution was drafted in 1776, has been moved from its original site and restored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Tryon Palace was one of the finest mansions of its time and place, and has been compared with the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg as a painstaking reconstruction of an important 18th-century building. It was built, 1767-70, to the late Georgian design of John Hawks, an English architect brought to America for this purpose. The two-story central block contained a full basement and attic, and was used for the Governor's residence and assembly meetings; of the two connecting wings, the west was stables and the east the kitchen and Governor's secretary's office. The building passed into colonial control in May 1775, and was the seat of North Carolina's State government until the capital was moved to Raleigh in 1794. Deserted, the palace fell rapidly into ruin. In 1944 Mrs. Maude Moore Latham established a trust fund for its reconstruction, and next year the Tryon Palace Commission was established. The fund has been increased by other gifts including the bequest of Mrs. Latham's entire estate, making possible a comprehensive research project and careful reconstruction of the structure. With buildings furnished and grounds landscaped, Tryon Palace has proved to be the object of great visitor interest.
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005