Haywood Hall, built in 1799, is the oldest residence within Raleigh’s original city limits still in its original location. Its builder, John Haywood (1755-1827), was prominent in the early history of the city and the state of North Carolina. Haywood descendents, many of whom also attained noteworthy status, lived in the house until 1977. John Haywood was born in Edgecombe County. He served in the militia during the War for Independence, later clerked for several North Carolina sessions of congress and in 1787 was appointed State Treasurer, a position he held for 40 years. Haywood was the first Mayor of Raleigh. He also helped found the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Raleigh Academy and Raleigh’s Christ Church and remained active in the operations of all three institutions.
In 1792, when Raleigh was created as the seat of state government, the legislature passed a law requiring state officials to reside in the city during their term of office. John Haywood subsequently purchased a square of land two blocks east of the State House. On it he built a two-story frame residence of symmetrical floor plan, featuring a central portico and extensive interior woodwork. The house displays chimneys of Flemish bond brick and modillion trim along the roof cornice in the early Federal style. During the construction of the house Haywood occupied a small two-room cottage on the lot; he later used the building as an office. After 1900, the building was moved to the rear of the main house and joined to it through a back porch. A kitchen and two other original dependencies also remain on the property.
After Haywood’s death in 1827, the house was purchased by his youngest son, Dr. Edmund Burke Haywood. A locally eminent physician, Haywood was appointed to organize the state’s military hospitals during the Civil War; in 1890 he was named Chairman of the Board of Public Charities by Gov. Daniel Fowle. Haywood’s son Ernest, a lawyer of statewide prominence, later inherited the house. In 1977, the family donated the house to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina. A Raleigh Historic Landmark, the house is now operated as a museum, outfitted with many of its original furnishings.
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