Horton Grove

36.125804, -78.839859

Cross Street
Year built
Construction type
National Register
Building Type
Can you help?
You don't need to know everything, but do you know the architect?
Log in or register and you can edit this.

Horton Grove Dwellings, 02.07.09

Horton Grove served as the farming center of the Bennehan-Cameron plantation (Stagville and Fairntosh) by the mid-19th century. Paul Cameron oversaw the building of the houses for enslaved workers on the plantation in 1850, likely based on Duncan Cameron's design. The two-story structures were highly unusual, and of very high quality for such dwellings. They are only examples that remain standing in North Carolina. Jean Anderson notes that the design the houses, 4 rooms on each floor separated by a 4 foot hallway, was nearly identical to a design Duncan Cameron devised for housing to be constructed on Bennehan Square in Raleigh.

The Big Barn associated with Horton Grove, likely designed in part by Paul Cameron, was the last structure built on the plantation by enslaved labor. It was and is an impressive structure: 135 feet long, 33 feet wide on a stone foundation. The mortise and tenon trusses, with pegged, protruding tenons are impressive enough to me in and of themselves. The structure is two stories tall and was completed in 1860.

Big Barn, 02.07.09

Horton Grove was occupied by tenant farmers after emancipation and reconstruction; at least one dwelling was still occupied in the 1970s. The site was added to the National Register in 1978, and given to the State of North Carolina by Liggett and Myers. It is part of the Stagville state historic site and can be toured for free.

Find this spot on a Google Map.



I remembeber when I toured Stagville with a group of my students being dumbstruck by the completion date of the barn: 1860. The guide pointed out to the group how much the shock of the Civil War must have been; to have invested this much time and money in building this mammoth structure just a year before the war began.

Yikes - remember.

I'll go out on a limb and say that Horton Grove is perhaps the second most historically significant site in Durham County -- after Bennett Place. I can't recommend visiting there enough. While Cameron probably did some of the design, they're pretty certain that most of the buildings were actually designed by enslaved architects and craftsmen.

The Horton Grove dwellings were so well made that they were occupied as residences into the 1950's, if I recall correctly.

I posted this in the Stagville topic, but I wanted to drop it here too. After the Juneteenth celebration in 2007 (which I think may have been discontinued) I wrote a longish essay on the place. (No such thing as too much shameless self-promotion, right?)

Gary, thanks for another great post. Count me among those who grew up in the area and never knew much about why Stagville, Fairntosh and Horton were so important. (And shame on my college NC history professor for not once mentioning Stagville!)

Michael, thanks for the link. You made me wish I could go back and attend.


    After reading this over the weekend,  I drove out to Jock Road today.  I did see the barn from 1860 and it is indeed

  really something.  I could not find the tenant houses.  Are they located on Jock Rd. or up by Stagville house?


I went to Historic Stagville Plantation a couple weekends ago awesome place never heard of it till I had to do a paper. the tenant houses are near the stagville house and horton grove area. this is an wonderful full of history place. I am trying to find location of jock road ? is it the long dirt road that leads to the preserve? by the tenant houses? Not sure what road this is we went down it and it leads to a preserve, is this going to be part of the horton grove nature preserve? beautiful place definitely will be a welcome addition to Historic Stagville thanks

Add new comment

Log in or register to post comments.