On March 10, 1918, Edenton residents formed the Cupola House Association, the earliest community preservation effort in North Carolina. The association hoped to save the structure from further demise after the owners sold interior woodwork to the Brooklyn Museum.
Originally built for Francis Corbin in 1758, the Cupola House is widely considered one of North Carolina’s most significant early dwellings. In 1777 Corbin’s heirs sold the home to Dr. Samuel Dickinson, whose heirs lived there for 141 years. Over time the house fell into disrepair as family funds became more limited and the environment took its toll.
After the association was formed on March 10, funds were solicited from local residents, and the association was able to buy back a portion of the woodwork the very next day. By April 25 the association had acquired the house and most of its property. In time the association was able to restore the house, which was used as a county library, tearoom and museum.
The house became a National Historic Landmark—the highest status that the National Park Service bestows on historic buildings—in 1971.
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