Camden County Tourism Development Authority
2356 US Hwy 17 N.
South Mills, NC 27976
E: Dismal Swamp/Camden County
W: Camden County
Camden County Tourism
Historic Travel Sites
ABOUT HISTORIC CAMDEN COUNTY
Historic Camden County was formed in 1777 and was named for Charles Pratt, First Lord of Camden. The historic Camden Jailhouse is a two story brick structure, rebuilt after a fire in 1910. The Camden Courthouse was built in 1847, in the Greek Revival Style, and is still in use today for county business. Explore Camden’s rich heritage through artifacts, miniature replicas and knowledgeable docents at the Camden County Heritage Museum and Historic Jail.
The historic Dismal Swamp Canal opened in 1805 and is the oldest continually operating man-made canal in the United States. The canal is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark, a part of the North Carolina and Virginia Civil War Trail and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It is also recognized as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Dismal Swamp provided a formidable refuge for runaway enslaved people, or freedom seekers.
During the Civil War, attempts to destroy the canal, an important supply link, resulted in the Battle of South Mills. In later years, notorious moonshiners would also hide their recreational enterprises in the deep, vine covered canopies. Logging history took place in this vast expanse of Atlantic White Cedars.
Today, the Dismal Swamp State Park’s Visitor Center provides exhibits and Ranger programs to educate the public about its colorful past.