Somerset Place State Historic Site mission is to preserve and interpret the history of enslaved and free individuals who established, developed, and maintained Somerset Place plantation, circa 1775-1860.
Somerset Place offers a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation.
Originally, this unusual plantation included more than 100,000 densely wooded, mainly swampy acres bordering the five-by-eight mile Lake Phelps, in present-day Washington County.
During its 80 years as an active plantation (1785-1865), hundreds of acres were converted into high yielding fields of rice, corn, oats, wheat, beans, peas, and flax; sophisticated sawmills turned out thousands of feet of lumber. By 1865, Somerset Place was one of the upper South's largest plantations.
In 1986, descendants of African American slaves from Somerset Place planned a gathering known as Somerset Homecoming. The event inspired a book titled "Somerset Homecoming" written by the property's former manager Dorothy Spruill Redford, who retired in 2008.
Somerset Place was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.