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History of Havens Wharf

Havens Wharf is in the middle of it all – nestled between the gorgeous Pamlico River waterfront and an array of local, downtown Washington, NC shops. It is home to many businesses and a modern marina. Every iconic landmark has a story. As one of the most recognizable features on the Washington waterfront, Havens Wharf is no different. Even 200 years ago Havens Wharf was in the middle of the action serving as a commerce destination bustling trades from other colonies, Europe and the Caribbean. Havens Wharf, along with other ports along the waterfront, made Washington, NC an important stop for trading.

It all started when a New Yorker named Johnathan Havens and his wife, Sally, moved to the area. Under the direction of Sally’s father, Johnathan learned the art of shipbuilding. The couple built a home on West Main Street, then later built a warehouse on the water across the street, known today as Havens Wharf. The building has been the centerpiece of many Civil War stories in the area; including one that Union soldiers buried silver in the basement of the warehouse.

Considering Washington’s connections to the Pamlico and Tar Rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean, it is also told that slaves seeking freedom would sail from western cities and plantations until they arrived at a shipyard, like Havens Wharf. As a part of “freedom road” and considered one of the oldest commercial buildings in the state, Havens Wharf has a rich history within the community.