The history of Jamestown

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Jamestown is a charming community with a rich history. If you’re seeking a small-town feel without compromising easy access to the busy city centers of North Carolina, you’ll want to check out some of the Jamestown apartments for rent. With a population of just over 4,000 residents, this is a great place to be – while it has an excellent infrastructure and provides support for business development, it manages to preserve its historical heritage too.

Ancient History

Dating back to 1701, the Keyauwee Indians are the first known occupants of the Jamestown region. However, archeological evidence suggests that humans may have inhabited the area for thousands of years.

European Settlers

Jamestown was first settled by Europeans in the late 18th century, when Quaker families moved to the region from Pennsylvania in pursuit of fertile farmland. The town of Jamestown, which was named after one of its original settlers, James Mendenhall, was eventually established in 1816, making it the Piedmont region’s first permanent settlement.

This was also a well-known stop along the Underground Railroad, where many Quaker families assisted runaway slaves in finding freedom in the North. Documents show that the Mendenhall family played an important role in helping with emancipation efforts.

20th-Century Through Today

Through the 20th century, Jamestown grew into a small and bustling community. As the town developed, education became the foundation of Jamestown’s culture. The “Old School” that was built in 1915 is now the Jamestown Public Library and a lively feature of the community on Main Street.  Today, the town continues to be renowned for its educational excellence and has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Historic Sites

Thanks to Jamestown’s commitment to preserving its heritage, an abundance of historical landmarks are open to the public for tours. Whether you’re just passing through or looking for an apartment to settle down in, these are some of the town’s best historical sites to see while you’re there.

Mendenhall Homeplace. Located on West Main Street, this is a fabulous spot to wander through the past. The homeplace features restorations by the Historic Society of Jamestown to display what life was like in the area’s 19th century Quaker community.

Madison Lindsay House. Built in 1817, the Madison Lindsay House was home to Dr. Madison Lindsay and used as the region’s first medical school through the 19th century. The house was restored in 1985 and today it provides visitors with a magnificent look at the period and the 200-year-old architecture.

The Oakdale Cottonmill. One of two National Register Historic Districts in Jamestown, this cotton mill was the oldest continuously operating textile factory in the entire country having opened for business in 1865. It includes the Oakdale United Methodist Church which was built in 1915 and still stands for services today. The Oakdale Schoolhouse, a one-room schoolhouse constructed in 1912, also resides on the property.

William Reece House. This home is another impressive historical site of interest in Jamestown, built between 1834 and 1844. Now located on West Main Street, the home was a stopping point along the Goldsboro stagecoach trail and was later home to J. Harper Johnston, the town’s mayor in 1881.

Potter House. Also located along West Main Street, The Historic Potter House once held a saddle and harness shop. It was constructed over 200 years ago and served as the local headquarters for the U.S. Bicentennial.