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Plymouth Town

Plymouth Town Hall is located at 124 East Water Street, Plymouth, NC 27962; phone: 252-793-9101.

Beginnings [1]

Plymouth, established in 1787, is located in the extreme west/northwest edge of Washington County. The town is located on the south side of the Roanoke River. The north side of the river is occupied by forested swamp. The Bertie/Washington County line carries down the middle of the river. It became the county seat in 1823 and has remained so to the present: the county court house is situated within two miles of the Washington/Martin County line to the west.

Positioned as it was on the Roanoke River, near its junction with the Albemarle Sound, Plymouth was in an ideal location to serve as a port for the farm and wood products of the up-river plantations in the counties along the Roanoke River. In pendant fashion, it was also the point of distribution for imported goods—staples of molasses, salt, etc. and luxury goods—sought by the planters. Plymouth quickly emerged as a transition point—the function of any port—for the import and export of goods. Likewise, it also served as an important stop in the overland stage and water passenger service, linking the upper Albemarle with the plantations, towns, and cities in the east central coastal plain. It was Plymouth's position here on the Roanoke River near the Albemarle Sound that made it an important part of the Albemarle Region in the period when the area's growth and economy depended so heavily on water transportation. Thus, in the later 18th century and during the 19th century, through the antebellum period, Plymouth enjoyed a prominence in the Albemarle region, and the state, an importance belied by its size and present-day appearance. It is also true that its regional role would evolve during the later-19th and early-20th centuries, and gradually wane as the 20th century progressed.

  1. David Foard Hood, Historic and Architectural Resources of Plymouth, North Carolina, nomination document, 1990, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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