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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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by Catherine W. Bishir, 2006

Architecture in North Carolina has been transformed over four centuries by ever-evolving design trends, techniques, and purposes. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the first generations of British and African settlers in North Carolina built small frame buildings and log structures. Such short-lived and expedient buildings met the immediate needs of the frontier settlement in the subtropical forest. Later in the eighteenth century, colonists began to construct larger buildings and employ more permanent materials and methods that required the skilled labor of trained artisans. The small, brick Newbold-White House in Perquimans County typifies the modest scale of the earliest durable houses, including its two-room plan with an entrance directly into the principal room. Representing the most elaborate work of the mid-eighteenth century is the Cupola House in Edenton, a massive frame house with the eccentric combination of a cupola and an overhanging jetty.

Keep reading >> Part 2: Architectural Influences and Achievements in Early North Carolina Keep reading


John V. Allcott, Colonial Homes in North Carolina (repr., 1975).

Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).

Bishir and others, Architects and Builders in North Carolina: A History of the Practice of Building (1990).

Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).

Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas T. Waterman, The Early Architecture of North Carolina (1941).

Mills Lane, Architecture of the Old South: North Carolina (1985).

Additional Resources:

Bishir, Catherine W. 2005. North Carolina architecture. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press.

Bishir, Catherine W., Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin. 1999. A guide to the historic architecture of western North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Built Heritage of North Carolina: Historic Architecture in the Old North State,

North Carolina Architects and Builders,

North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Bibliography at

Preservation North Carolina,

Triangle Modernist Houses,

Learn NC resources on architecture.

Resources in libraries [via WorldCat].

NC LIVE search results on architecture and North Carolina.


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