Camden County was created from part of Pasquotank County on May 9, 1777 by North Carolina's first General Assembly. Camden County was named in honor of Sir Charles Pratt, the first Earl of Camden. As a member of Parliament, Sir Charles opposed the Stamp Act and taxaction of the American colonies. These views won him wide popularity in the newly-formed United States.

The red-brick Historic Camden County Courthouse was constructed beginning in 1846 following a fire that burned the original wooden county courthouse (which was built in 1782). The brick Courthouse, which stands on the site of the original courthouse, was completed in 1847. It is a Greek revival brick structure with a portico of four massive columns setting on brick piers.

Through the Civil War and throughout the latter-1800's, the Historic Courthouse was used as a courthouse, meeting place, and military encampment. The first known major work on the Historic Courthouse was done in 1898 when the Commissioners awarded contracts that year for fire-proofing portions of the building holding records of the Register of Deeds and the Clerk of Superior Court.

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The earliest known photo of the Historic Courthouse pre-dates 1908 and shows an adjacent hotel building. County Commissioner records show that on May 4, 1908, the Sheriff was ordered by the Commissioners to advertise the hotel building for sale and to sell the hotel building on that June 1, with removal no later than July 30. The hotel was removed to make way for the Old Jail that was constructed on that site in 1910.

First Historic Camden Courthouse

Although no known records exist, it appears there was extensive renovation of the building done in the period 1910 to 1925 with vaults created in the offices of the Register of Deeds and Clerk of Superior Court, electricity added to the building, and new flooring installed inside the courtroom. The last known staining and varnishing of the benches occurred in 1924 with a $45.00 contract, of which $15 was for painting the courtroom walls.

Courthouse Glass DoorsGlass Doors Added to Historic Courthouse

During the 1970's or 1980's, heating, venting and air conditioning was added to the building. Also during this period, the original wooden doors were removed from the first floor and replaced with glass doors, and burnt orange carpeting was installed. These improvements modernized the building for then-current times.

 In 1996, a major addition to the Courthouse was constructed that added a new courtroom and bathrooms, expanded the area for the Clerk of Superior Court and the Register of Deeds and added an elevator for handicap accessibility. Construction of the addition did not significantly alter the Historic Courthouse, and the new brick siding complimented the old brick while differentiating between the old and new structures.

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Other than the 1920's and 1970's improvements, there has been no significant renovation of the Historic Camden County Courthouse since its opening in 1847. The current renovation seeks to maintain the historic integrity of the structure while making it a funtional building for the 21st century.

[Editors Note: In November of 2007, construction began on an addition that expanded the size of the Register of Deeds office. That construction was completed in August of 2008. The Register of Deeds office now enjoys a work area of 1496 square feet, a marked improvement over their previous office which was just under half that size.]

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