HILLSBOROUGH MARKET HOUSE

HILLSBOROUGH MARKET HOUSE

,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1758
/ Demolished in
1826
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
Type: 

Comments

No comments yet.

Add new comment

In tours

  • This building does not appear in any tours yet.

Last updated

  • Thu, 04/13/2023 - 9:47am by gary

Comments

,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1758
/ Demolished in
1826
Construction type: 
Local Historic District: 
Type: 

 

Based in design and purpose on market houses in England, a market house was one of the first public structures built in each town in colonial North Carolina.
 
The original market house in Hillsborough, once located approximately where the 1845 Orange County courthouse is now on the south east corner of Churton and King streets, was built circa 1758. The 1768 map of Hillsborough by Claude Sauthier shows its location (indicated by the letter "D") at the southeast corner of King and Churton streets (see map excerpt below).
 
 
 
There are numerous references in The Hillsborough Recorder regarding enslaved people being hired or sold at the markethouse.
 
The structure was demolished in 1826. It at one time housed the town clock that is currently in the cupola of the 1845 courthouse.
 
A letter to the editor in the June 20, 1875 Hillsborough Recorder described it (and lamented its passing) as:
"It had railings and seats and was a resort for all citizens in their leisure hours for rest and social converse. It fronted either street, and as it was approached, the eye met with the time of day from the clock and also the pinnacle of the cupola. There was the old rooster in his majectic form to tell from whence the wind came as his head would point in that direction. It was not only a place of resort for leisure hours, but it was there you would find the butchers and farmers and others with their fresh meats, and various other eatables and luxuries to dispose of, as it was arranged with iron hooks and other conveniences for such as came to market and this house would have been there now but to please and gratify a few individuals, who in 1829 or thereabouts caused it to be torn down.
 
As soon as the market house toppled, merchants and all others in business whatever toppled too, and down all went together, and the old Borough lay prostrate on a dead level ever since."

Above is a conjectural sketch of what the original market house might have looked like; however, this sketch was likely based on the 1838 Fayetteville Market House and not exactly what the original Hillsborough market structure would have looked like (From "History of the Town of Hillsborough").

The 1768 Sauthier map seems to indicate it was a "fourquare" structure with a pyramidal roof. It can't be discerned if it was a one or two-story structure from Sauthier, but what it looked like was something similar to the image below, but perhaps simplified and built from wood and without the shed overhang around the first floor.

"Market House, Market Square, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire" (image via Buckingham County Museum)

Add new comment