John Haywood, the state's first elected treasurer and Raleigh’s first Intendant of Police (mayor), began construction of Haywood Hall in 1799 as a home for his family. However, his new young wife wasn't impressed with the new state capital or with the home on Edenton and Wilmington Streets, and left after only a short visit. returning to her family in Wilmington. Haywood proceeded to complete work on the house in fine style to tempt his young wife to return to Raleigh.

Descendants occupied the house until 1977, when the property and furnishings were left to The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina. It is the oldest house on its original site within the original city limits of Raleigh. The house museum contains family portraits, original furnishings and a permanent doll collection. Free admission; donations are appreciated.