Somerset Place State Historic Site
Once encompassing over 100,000 acres, this remarkable site along Lake Phelps was one of the Upper South's largest plantations. Much of it was densely vegetated swampland, but enslaved persons ultimately cleared thousands of acres and dug over 20 miles of transportation canals and over 80 miles of drainage ditches. Beginning in 1785, three generations of the Collins family owned Somerset Place. Over its lifetime, at least 861 enslaved persons, 50 white employees, and two free black employees worked here. Seven original buildings still stand, including the Collins Family Home (c. 1839), Colony House (c. 1840), Dairy (c. 1840), Kitchen/Laundry (c. 1808), Kitchen Rations Building (c. 1830), Smokehouse (c. 1830), and Salting House (c. 1830). There are also four reconstructed buildings, including the Plantation Hospital, Overseers' House, and two slave houses: the Lewis and Judy Home and the Suckey Davis Home, named after the original structures' occupants in 1843. The site is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and offers visitors a comprehensive social history of the enslaved and free persons who lived and worked on the plantation. Somerset Place State Historic Site is a part of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.