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“Overlooked surprise”

Stagville State Historic Site
Ranked #17 of 81 things to do in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Stagville is the site of the largest antebellum plantation complex in North Carolina. By 1860, this lands, owned by the Bennehan and Cameron families, spread out over 30,000 acres (47 sq. miles) and was home to over 900 enslaved people. Our goal is to provide a balanced interpretation through tours and special events that tell the story of free and enslaved people who called Stagville home.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I have lived within 30 miles of this place for over 25 years and never visited till now. Its a small but very well maintained and staffed historical site. There is a main house that the staff gives tours of on a schedule. It is very interesting and its completely free. Make sure you visit the slave quarters and barn that is about a mile off site which was the highlight for me. We visited early around 9 on a Saturday morning and had the whole place to ourselves and a personal tour being nobody else was there. Check the tour schedule before you go so you time it correctly. A great place to get some true history right in the triangle.

Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 - 78 of 87 reviews

Reviewed September 9, 2013

Even though many in our group have lived in the area for sometime, no one had ever toured Stagville. Easy walking tour or you can just watch the video in the welcome center. A very good gift shop. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. It is centered around one of the largest plantations in North Carolina and it highlights African American history.l

Thank channingway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

The Stagville State Historic Site provides a history of the largest plantations in North Carolina in the Antebellum South. The site has three main buildings left in which you can go inside. I would recommend stopping at the visitor's center first and take one of the tours offered on the hour. Parking at the main site which includes the plantation house is limited, so it could get crowded on a nice day.

The only way to go inside the house, as well as the Great Barn and slave quarters, is to take a tour. The tour, as is the site, is free and definitely worth the effort. The tour takes about an hour and requires you to drive from the visitor's center to the slave quarters and barn. There is a 15-minute video at the visitor's center that explains the history, but I didn't see it.

The guide was very informative and able to answer all of the questions. It was interesting to learn about the history of the plantation from the beginning until it opened as a historical site open to the public. The plantation started modestly with only a few thousand acres and a handful of slaves. Eventually it would grow to approximately 30,000 acres and 900 slaves. While the current site only comprises a very small amount of that land, you still get a feel of how large it is as you walk and drive to each of the sites.

The Bennehan House was considered grandeur for the area. From your first impression you might not think so if you've been to others in the deep south, but must remember that North Carolina back then was not considered one of the wealthier states. They have maintained the house as it what it would've looked like in the past. There are only three original pieces to the house which the guide will point out. The house has two floors and you get to go though all of the rooms.

The second site you visit is the Horton Grove slave quarters. You get a chance to see how the field slaves lived on the plantation. The slaves here lived in better quarters than most in the area, but was still a harsh life. Each quarters had two stories with separate rooms for one family each, and separate brick fireplaces which was unheard of back then. After the Civil War, some of the former slaves left but a lot remained as sharecroppers. One of the remaining buildings was the home of a former slave who stayed on as a sharecropper who eventually earned enough to essentially become a renter.

The Great Barn provides an opportunity to view where most of the mules and horses were held. While you might think a barn is a barn, the sheer size of it makes it unique. There was even items inside the barn that separate it from others, including a technique to bind two pieces of wood normally only found on ships.

If you are looking for a place in the Raleigh-Durham area to learn about the Nation's history, I would highly recommend the Stagville State Historic Site. They could improve the visitor's center by having more historical displays and information, but you still will come out of your visit with a better understanding of the local history (as long as you take the tour). The site is open from 1000-1700 Tuesday thru Saturday.

5  Thank wbullseye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013

Historic and accurate. The only drawback is the need to drive to other locations within the site. Great history lesson.

1  Thank Adam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

The Bennehan house is well preserved. The slave quarters were interesting to see. We learn about such things in our history books but actually seeing these things from the past has more impact than written words in a text book. Too, I have seen a plantation of Louisiana so it was interesting to compare the two plantations. On the human side, it is so sad to know that slavery was an accepted way of life. There is no fee but one can give a donation.

1  Thank KalihiKid65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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