This historic home was completed in 1815 and made open to the public by Richard H. Jenrette, who donated the home in 1993. The home offers interpretive tours operated by Jenrette's foundation, the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Visitors can take guided tours that include a discussion of the history of the region in the early nineteenth century, as well as views of authentic home furnishings and replicas of clothing from the era. The home's collection of Federal period antiques are the highlight of the tour, along with original works of art and information about the history of the area from trained docents. While on the tour, notice the 14-foot tall ceiling on the first floor—a rare feature in even the most elaborate homes built in the early 19th century.


  • William Kirkland named this plantation home in honor of Ayr, Scotland-his birthplace. The home was restored in 1985 and is open to the public.
    William Kirkland named this plantation home in honor of Ayr, Scotland-his birthplace. The home was restored in 1985 and is open to the public.
  • Learn more about slavery in the colonial era with this book from UNC Press.
    Learn more about slavery in the colonial era with this book from UNC Press.
  • Map of Ayr Mount grounds.
    Map of Ayr Mount grounds.
  • The West Parlor inside Ayr Mount.
    The West Parlor inside Ayr Mount.

William Kirkland, the home’s original owner, named the house after his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. The Kirkland family occupied the home for four generations. The widow of the last Kirkland family member sold the home to Richard H. Jenrette in 1985. A portrait of William Kirkland, painted by Jacob Marling, has hung over Ayr Mount’s fireplace since 1815. A portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Ezra James is also part of Ayr Mount’s impressive collection of antiques.

The plantation originally encompassed 503 acres and included slave quarters along with many other outbuildings that were lost to the ravages of time. Today, the home and grounds sit on 60 acres that include several scenic trails that connect to the neighboring woods. The most popular trail is known as "Poet's Walk", which is a one-mile trail that stretches around the banks of the Eno River and back to the home. This trail overlooks the Kirkland family cemetery. 

The town of Hillsborough, which was briefly North Carolina’s state capital during the Revolutionary War, is home to many charming colonial-era homes. However, Ayr Mount is considered the most impressive.

"Scenic Trails," Classical American Homes Preservation Trust,  http://classicalamericanhomes.org/ayr-scenic-trails/

"Ayr Mount History," Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, http://classicalamericanhomes.org/ayr-mount-history/

"Timeline of the Kirkland Family," Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, "http://classicalamericanhomes.org/timeline-archaeology/