The land surrounding present-day Historic Hope Plantation was originally granted to the Hobson family in the 1720s by the Lords Proprietors of the Carolina Colony. In the 1760s, Zedekiah Stone purchased the property and gave the property to David Stone in 1793.
The centerpiece of the site is the grand c.1803 Hope mansion built by Governor Stone. Built on an “above ground” basement, the house portrays basic Palladian design with some neoclassical elements. The five bay facade features a pedimented double portico. The hipped roof is topped by a “widow’s walk” surrounded by a Chinese Chippendale balustrade. The floor plan is adapted from Abraham Swann’s The British Architect, a copy of which David Stone owned.
The first floor rooms are entered from a center through hall. On the second floor are a large drawing room and a library, which housed Stone’s 1,400 volumes. In addition to the main stair, a service stair runs from the basement to the attic. Hope was a self-contained plantation, as was Stone’s other plantation, Restdale, in Wake County. He owned at one time 8,000 acres in both Bertie and Wake. His estate inventory lists by name 138 slaves of African descent. At Hope he operated a water powered grist mill, a still, and as indicated by his inventory, a saw mill, a blacksmith shop, a cooper’s shop and houses for spinning and weaving. His farm lands produced wheat, corn, oats, rye, flax, and cotton, for which he had a cotton machine. On his pastures he raised cattle, sheep and horses, in his woods he raised hogs, while his forests produced timber for the sawmill.
Moved four miles from its original site to Hope is the 1763 King-Bazemore house, one of only two gambrel roofed houses in North Carolina with brick end walls. The King-Bazemore house and the Hope mansion represent a continuing agrarian culture during the Colonial and Federal periods in northeastern North Carolina.
In 1992 the Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center was added to the site. The 13,000 square foot building serves as a visitor’s center and includes: a large two and half story lobby with atrium; museum space; meeting/dining room; commercial kitchen; library; classroom; archival storage rooms; gallery; bookstore; offices; restrooms; and, an outdoor patio. Portions of the site, including the Heritage Center are available for meetings, reunions, weddings, and other events.
Today, Historic Hope Foundation owns and manages 45 acres of the original 1,051-acre site owned by the Stone family. The mission of the Historic Hope Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization, is to provide educational, cultural and recreational benefits for the public by the preservation, maintenance and the administration of Historic Hope Plantation as an element of the heritage of the Roanoke-Chowan Region and as an illustration and interpretation of agrarian life in Eastern North Carolina from 1760 through 1840.