Founded in 1754, Hillsborough was an early political and cultural center in the state of North Carolina. The town has served as home for several royal governors, an original signer of the Declaration of Independence, a former enslaved seamstress who became a successful businesswoman and the personal dressmaker and close confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, and countless elected officials and educational leaders. Key events of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War occurred in Hillsborough. Named one of the "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2007, today Hillsborough is home to a number of artists, famous writers, and a variety of other townfolk who appreciate the charm of a small town with a vibrant and healthy downtown with lots to offer. For more on the town's history, click here.
On our walk through Hillsborough's historic district, we visited the Old Town Cemetery, containing the graves of some of the town's most noted individuals and families. The cemetery sits behind the Presbyterian Church, which is believed to be the oldest Presbyterian building in continuous use in the state of North Carolina.
|Old Town Cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church|
|Old Town Cemetery|
|First United Methodist Church of Hillsborough|
Hillsborough contains fabulous Colonial and Antebellum architecture, which, is sometimes rare to find intact North Carolina, especially for a small town. Most of these early homes have been lovingly restored and cared for, many with early gardens and heirloom English boxwoods still flourishing.
|"Twin Chimneys" (notice the lovely blue color of the porch ceiling)|
|The Colonial Inn (formerly a restaurant and inn, it is undergoing rehabilitation work)|
|The Masonic Lodge, a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture in Hillsborough|
|The Burwell School Historic Site, (c. 1821, 1846) home to Margaret Anna Burwell and Robert Burwell, their twelve children and the enslaved members of their household. They operated a school for girls at their home in the two-room brick building behind the main house. Elizabeth Hobbes Keckly lived as a young enslaved woman at the Burwell household who later went on to purchase her freedom and became a successful businesswoman, talented seamstress, and personal dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln.|
I encourage you to make the day trip to visit Hillsborough, NC. Visit here for more information and a calendar of events. If you don't live close enough to visit Hillsborough, then get out and discover a historic town near you!