Located in historic Jamestown, North Carolina’s “Mendenhall Plantation” is the former residence of the city’s founding family.
The plantation is unique in that it was one of the few southern plantations that did not employ the use of slaves.
“Mendenhall Plantation” consists of the main plantation house and a several outbuildings. As such there are many interesting things to see.
What follows are brief explanations of each of the primary buildings that encompass “Mendenhall Plantation.”
Mendenhall’s Main Plantation House
Built in 1811 and located in the center of Jamestown sits an austere two-story main plantation house. It was the residence of a well established family of Quakers. They were known as the Mendenhall’s.
The Mendenhall’s consisted of renowned tanner Richard Mendenhall, his spouse and their children. Richard was a direct descendant of the town’s founding father, James Mendenhall.
The Mendenhall’s Pennsylvania Quaker roots were not lost in the building’s utilitarian design and sparse décor.
The main house consists of three parlors, two bedrooms, a gathering room, kitchen, two bedrooms, basement and a garret clad in a Flemish Bond brick style.
The main house retains much of its original décor and furnishings so visitors are able to get a glimpse at what it was like to be a Quaker living in the 1800’s.
The three story “Spring House” is named as such due to an artesian spring and well that are contained within it. The Mendenhall’s used the “Spring House” as a dry goods pantry, smoke house and make-shift refrigerator.
The “Banks Barn” stands out from the other barns in the region in that it was constructed in the style of most Pennsylvania barns and not of North Carolina.
Within the barn is a large collection of period style buggies and wagons including one of the rarest wagons of the period; a false bottom wagon.
Only two false bottom wagons from the 1800’s are believed to still exist in the United States, with one of them being kept on display at the “Mendenhall Plantation.”
False bottom wagons gained notoriety for their use in the Underground Railroad by abolitionists like the Mendenhall’s.
Lindsay House and Medical School
The “Lindsay House” was the site of North Carolina’s first medical school. It was operated by Doctor I. J M Lindsey from 1820 until 1830.
Mendenhall Plantation Museum
Highlights of the museum contain an original circa late 1900’s “Jamestown Rifle” and an outstanding collection of Native American relics.
Prior to the Mendenhall family settling Jamestown, the region was the home of the Keyauwee Indians. The tribe later disappeared and was believed to have joined with the neighboring Catawaba tribes.
Rare remnants from the Keyauwee tribe are included in the “Mendenhall Plantation Museum’s” Native American exhibits.
Old 1825 School House
The “Old 1825 School House” was one of the last buildings to be excavated and restored on the “Mendenhall Plantation” site.
It contains period furnishing and affords visitors a unique glimpse into the early Quaker education system.
Hours of Operation and Admission
“Mendenhall Plantation” is open for the majority of the year. It generally closes from December 22nd until January 8th in observance of the winter holidays. Hours and days of operation vary by season, with the most limited hours occurring during the months of January and February in which it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
During most of the year, tours of “Mendenhall Plantation” are available Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm, 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm on Saturdays and from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm on Sundays.
As of 2010 admission to “Mendenhall Plantation” is $2.00 per adult and $1.00 per child. There are student and senior citizen discounts available.
603 West Main Street
Jamestown, NC 27282
Those that would like more information about “Mendenhall Plantation” and the other things to see and do in historic Jamestown, North Carolina should log onto the state’s tourism website.