The McDowell House

Entered in the National Register of Historical Places
Located at 119 St. Mary’s Church Road, Morganton, NC
Open on Sundays, 2-4:00PM April through October, and by appointment with two weeks notice.

The McDowell House at Quaker Meadows, the oldest brick house in Burke County, was built in 1812 by Captain Charles McDowell, Jr. in anticipation of his marriage the following year to his cousin, Anna McDowell of Pleasant Gardens. This restored house of vernacular federal style architecture portrays the history of life in the 19th century.

Charles McDowell, Jr. created a thriving plantation of over 1500 acres and owned 52 slaves by 1850.  Here he and Anna reared their six children and three orphaned relatives, one of which was Harriet Espy who became the wife of Zebulon Baird Vance who served as governor of North Carolina from 1870 – 1874.

Every September, the Overmountain Victory Trail re-enactors gather at the McDowell  House to commemorate the September 1780 gathering of patriot soldiers under a giant oak tree known as the “Council Oak” in Quaker Meadows.  Here Joseph McDowell and his brother Charles McDowell, the father of Captain Charles McDowell, Jr., along with the other patriots laid plans that led to the defeat of the loyalists under British Major Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

The house was donated to Historic Burke Foundation by Crescent Land and Timber Corporation in 1986. It has been restored to its 1812 appearance, and the detached kitchen, known as the Kistler Kitchen, has been reconstructed on its original foundation.  A lovely kitchen garden, located at the back of the house, is maintained by the Mimosa Garden Club.

The house is open this year from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon from April 19th through October. To visit the  house at other times, call our office at (828) 437-4104 to make arrangements.

The McDowell House and grounds are available for rent for meetings and special occasions such as weddings, receptions, dinner parties and family reunions.