House in Edenton found to be oldest in N.C.

By on January 17, 2013

Wood aging expert Michael Worthington and property owner Steve Lane share research findings on the oldest dated house discovered in North Carolina. (submitted photo)

After two years of investigation of what was a planned rental property, the oldest dated house in North Carolina has been identified in Edenton.

Preservationists with the N.C. Historic Preservation Office, architectural historians with the Architectural Research Department at Colonial Williamsburg and local historians participated in the research.

Timbers in the one-and-a-half story house have been dated to 1718/19.

Dendrochronologist Michael Worthington made the announcement on Jan. 11, after confirming the date by finding the age of the tree rings of timbers in the structure.

At his side was Steve Lane, who with his wife Linda had bought the house to turn into a rental property.

The house was assigned a date of ca. 1900 in the Edenton National Register Historic District, but restoration carpenter Wayne Griffin and expert cabinetmaker Don Jordan exposed timber framing, weatherboarding, ceiling joists and other features that seemed much older.

The Lanes contacted HPO Restoration Specialist Reid Thomas in the Eastern Office for guidance in learning about the unique building, and he assisted by leading and coordinating three volunteer architectural visits.

The Lanes understood the potential importance of the house and sought and funded additional study.

Originally 16 feet by 25 feet, the house was divided in two rooms on the first floor and two in the attic. It was probably constructed in 1719. The original owners are not known.

The historical significance of the house is that it offers a rare glimpse into an almost lost vernacular building type in North Carolina, the kind that would be a home for the average citizen.

It provides valuable information about building type, house form and construction technology in eastern North Carolina as early as 1719. Further research may find additional historically significant information.

Bookmark and Share


obx lover06

January 21, 2013 11:01 pm

My husband and i go on vacation every year in nc and we love to hear the history. Would love

too see pictures please!

Mike Castano

January 21, 2013 6:34 am

This is really cool to read about. Thank you to the owners who have taken the time to let this be researched!

OBX Observer

January 19, 2013 9:39 pm

I, too, would love to see more pictures!


January 19, 2013 3:27 pm

Heartwarming story plus some great comments. I,too, would love to see some pictures and updates on this ‘find’.


January 18, 2013 8:51 pm

Pics please! This is interesting.


January 18, 2013 10:59 am

I love being from Eastern NC, great culture, history, and people !


January 18, 2013 9:46 am

They are going to have a fun time removing that asbestos siding!

I’d love to see more pictures to go with your excellent reporting.

KDH Rezident Evil

January 18, 2013 9:24 am

Wow. A house that can stand up to a Revolutionary War, Civil War, and who knows how many hurricanes.

Fair to say they don’t build ‘em like that anymore.

Denise Barnes

January 18, 2013 8:13 am

I will follow the progress of this house. It will be interesting to see what happens with the restoration.

Real Busy OBXer

January 18, 2013 6:55 am

thanks to the owners for caring enough to fund and participate in a study to date the house. Too many historical structures have been razed…


January 18, 2013 5:11 am

Thank you Wayne and Don for seeing what many would not have seen. Thank you Steve and Linda for listening to Wayne and Don. And thanks to all the historians involved.

What could easily have been lost is now saved. Too often we throw away our history and our heritage. Not this time.

Well done all.

Join the discussion:

You must login to post a comment.

Not registered? Create an account.