Cupola House Association

cupola house, circa 1920

Cupola House before citizens saved it from destruction.

Cupola House Mission Statement, 2019

Cupola House Vision Statement, 2019


After years of watching this architectural jewel fall into disrepair news spread that the owners of the Cupola House had sold all of the fine interior woodwork to the Brooklyn Museum. Realizing the potential loss of the house had become a reality; citizens of Edenton went into action.

Citizens met and formed the nucleus of a group to save the Cupola House from further destruction. The first recorded minutes of the new organization include the following entry: “The following citizens met in Mr. Pruden’s office and agreed to organize an association for the purchase and preservation of the Cupola House, and subscribed the sums affixed to their names for that purpose.” The organization was referred to as “The Cupola House Library and Museum.”

Solicitation of funds began and, on March 11, the upper section of the house was purchased by a group of wealthy Edenton citizens, with the intent of saving as much as possible of the remaining structure.

On April 25, 1918, the association acquired the Cupola House and property.


Last of the property immediately surrounding the Cupola house was acquired. From this period to present the Cupola House has served the community in many ways. For 45 years it served as home to Edenton’s first public library, as a Tea Room and Museum. The interior woodwork was replaced based on exacting copies of the original, which was in the Brooklyn Museum. The Cupola House was saved and became a single entity of great importance to the city and the nation’s colonial history.


The Association acquired additional land surrounding the Cupola House. Thus, the Association finally acquired all the property constituting the present Cupola House site.


The Cupola House is designated a Registered National Historic Landmark.


The Cupola House Association (name approved 1970) qualified for federal internal revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Thus the Association became eligible to receive contributions, which qualified on a tax-deductible basis. The Cupola House Association is the result of the earliest community preservation effort in North Carolina to save an historic structure.

In 1918, citizens rallied to form an organization to save the Cupola House. This organization eventually became The Cupola House Association, dedicated to the protection of this historic landmark. The Cupola House Board is committed to the stewardship of the Cupola House itself - both present and future. The Association has overseen the establishment of the gardens in accordance with plans for a colonial garden appropriate to the period. Be sure to visit the Garden section to see the beauty of the Cupola House gardens.

Period furnishings have been purchased and some original pieces have been reacquired. Renovations continue on a yearly, if not daily, basis to maintain the structure and grounds.

cupola house

The Cupola House today, thanks to the vision and dedication of the Association founders.

The Association depends greatly on membership for funding these ongoing expenditures.

We encourage you to consider membership in the Cupola House Association. Please go to the Membership Page to see how you can join in to help this worthy project.

Directors and Trustees of the Cupola House Association 2021-22

Vonna O’Neill, President
Sam Dixon, Vice President
Sally Slaughter, Secretary
Richard Mayer, Treasurer
Sue Willhauck, Membership Chairperson
Henry Smith, House & Grounds
Gay Chatham, Events Chairperson
Tom Newbern, Collections
Sherry Jordan, Gardens Director

Gay Chatham, President Ex-Officio


Read about early architectural changes we just discovered.

View a photo gallery of the Cupola House gardens.

View a beautiful UNC-TV documentary on Frances Inglis and the Cupola House.

View a WRAL-TV news report on the Cupola House Restoration.

View a UNC-TV “North Carolina Weekend” video about the Cupola House