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Historical Things to Do in Greenville NC

Historical Things to Do in Greenville NC

Greenville NC has over 300 years of history, dating back to before the Revolutionary War. Greenville was incorporated as Martinborough in 1774. They renamed it Greenesville in 1786 to honor Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. Over time the town became known as Greenville.

It was an important transportation hub for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Union and Confederate forces fought several important battles nearby.

Greenville has five National Register Historic Districts. It has over 30 homes on the National Historic Registry.

With its rich history, let’s discover the best historical things to do in Greenville NC.

Take a Stroll Along Dickinson Avenue

It was 100% vacant 15 years ago. Now Dickinson Avenue is home to trendy shops and great restaurants. This National Historic District features excellent examples of Classic Revival architecture. It features buildings built between 1902 and 1956. Some notables are:

  • Brown Building (c.1916)
  • Hines Building (c.1916)
  • Roxy Theater (c.1948)
  • Imperial Company Tobacco Factory (1902-1964)

Shop the Dickinson Avenue Farmers and Makers Market

The market only offers items made or grown within 50 miles of Greenville. You'll find it in the 100-year-old Chero-Cola bottling plant. 

In March 1915, the Chero-Cola plant bottled drink flavors of orange, grape, ginger ale, strawberry and root beer here. Through the years that followed, the building ownership and company name changed several times until bought by Ryan Webb reportedly. Ryan Webb, owner of the graphic design firm Seven By Design, is the publisher and editor of the Greenville Times Magazine. And today, the building houses the offices of the Greenville Times magazine. 

Browse the Dickinson Avenue Antique Market

Make a great find at this funky 2-story antique market. The Dickinson Avenue Antique Market has over 10,000 square feet and 25 antique and craft dealers.

This fun and eclectic flea market features over 10,000 square foot of antiques, crafts, collectibles, vintage clothing, jewelry, art and more! There are also many unique vendors selling handmade items, local produce, baked goods, fresh flowers, and other specialties.

Dickinson Avenue Public House

Grab a drink or a great meal at this funky gastropub. The restaurant has a great open atmosphere.

The menu features modern made-from-scratch dishes with Creole, Asian, and Upscale Southern influences. Try the Smoked Brisket Mac, a crowd favorite. Another great option is the Hickory Nut Gap Smoked Pork Belly and Scallops.

Eastern Carolina Village and Farm Museum

Discover what farm life was like in Greenville from 1840 until the 1940s. The museum is a must-see on any list of historical things to do in Greenville NC. The 5-acre museum site features restored buildings from throughout Pitt County, including…

  • A one-room schoolhouse
  • Milkhouse
  • Smokehouse
  • General Store
  • Tobacco barn and museum
  • Various houses and cabins, including outbuildings
  • Thousands of antiques and artifacts

Greenville Museum of Art

Located in historic downtown Greenville, it is considered the #1 art museum in the south. It houses the largest collection of watercolors by American artist, Andrew Wyeth. Another popular exhibit is the Southern Collection. This exhibit tells the story of American art history through southern art.

East Carolina Clocktower

This historic landmark designed by Christopher Janney towers 85 feet over Sonic Plaza on the ECU campus. He got his inspiration from the Glockenspiel in Prague.

At the stroke of midnight, a figure emerges from the clockface. The clown, as it’s known by local ECU students, has become an urban legend. Upon appearing, it talks about the nature of time.

The figure is actually a jester and is one of four figures that appear throughout the day. A rooster appears at sunrise. Horns come out at mid-day. And a cannon emerges at sunset.

North Carolina Museum of Natural History

Come explore this science and technology learning center located on Dickinson Avenue. The museum collaborates with local schools, universities, and business partners. Their exhibits inspire the next generation in science, engineering, and mathematics.

A Time for Science is a branch of the museum located in Grifton. Visit this 380-acre site on Contentnea Creek. They offer kayaking, hiking, astronomy programs, nature classes, and the Chia-yu Li Planetarium.

A Taste of North Carolina

The legendary B’s Restaurant in Greenville offers no frills. It has no indoor seating. And they don't take credit cards.

But if you’re looking for barbeque, this is your place!

The restaurant is little more than a shack. They open at 9 am and go until they sell out, usually around noon. This is traditional vinegar-based NC barbeque at its finest. The pulled bbq pork is mouth-watering and the bbq chicken falls off the bone. Discover this hidden gem that locals call the #1 BBQ in Greenville.

Greene County Museum

The Greene County Museum is southwest of Greenville in Snow Hill, NC. The museum is in the National Historic District near scenic Contentnea Creek. The historic district features some great examples of Colonial Revival architecture.

The museum features a variety of rotating exhibits. Besides history, the museum also showcases art by local, regional, and national artists.

Explore Civil War Sites Near Greensville NC

Fort Branch Confederate Earthen Fort Civil War Site

A nice country drive from Greenville, you’ll find this Confederate fort near Hamilton, NC. The fort sits 60 feet above the Roanoke River. It had a clear view of Union gunboats trying to advance up the river.

With 8 of the original 11 cannons still in place, it is the only fort in the South that still has its original artillery. The site is quiet, but during November it comes alive with a battle reenactment.

Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield

Fought in December 1862, it was the last desperate stand for 15,000 confederate soldiers. The battlefield is near Dudley, NC. It features self-guided tours, interesting trails, and historical markers.

Bentonville Battlefield

Fought March 19-21, 1865, this was the last battle of the Civil War where the Confederacy could launch an offensive. It was also the largest battle fought in North Carolina. Confederate forces tried to slow General Sherman’s advance through the Carolinas.

Visit the restored Harper House, which served as a field hospital during the battle. Hike the five miles of trails along the original trenches with battlefield markers. Or take a drive on the 10-mile driving tour featuring 8 stops.

From Civil War sites to trendy restaurants, you’ll find it in Greenville NC.

  • Take time to explore the 5 historic districts.
  • Do some antiquing on Dickinson Avenue.
  • Sink your teeth in some of the best North Carolina barbeque!

No matter what you decide, you’ll have a great time as you discover all the historical things to do in Greenville NC.

This place is for Publicity

This place is for Publicity

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