New Bern’s Downtown Renaissance Closes Historical Society’s First Virtual Series July 29

New Bern’s Downtown Renaissance

Susan Moffat-Thomas’ compelling tale of New Bern’s journey from waterfront eyesore to beautiful award-winning downtown will finish the Historical Society’s first virtual series of presentations from New Bern’s past. New Bern’s Downtown Renaissance, the fourth in the series, will be presented on the New Bern Historical Society’s Facebook page on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. The online audience will be able to comment and ask questions in real time.

Susan Moffat-Thomas

Susan Moffat-Thomas, retired Executive Director, Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corp, is intimately familiar with that part of New Bern history. She’ll describe that 40-year process that brought New Bern to its current delightful state.  She’ll provide an overview of the post WWII decline of downtown, the demolition of its waterfront and how the establishment in 1979 of Swiss Bear, Inc., a private nonprofit, in partnership with local government, was the catalyst for downtown New Bern’s rebirth as a vibrant center of civic and social activity. Her presentation includes numerous before and after photos that reinforce the dramatic changes that took place over the past 40 years.

Historical Society Executive Director, Mickey Miller thinks this is the perfect choice to round out the Society’s first Virtual History Series. “We selected four of our most popular presentations. All four sold out in their first offerings. We’ve received such a great response, we’re already working on a second series. We invite everyone to visit our Facebook page for these fascinating New Bern stories.”

Susan Moffat-Thomas was Executive Director of Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation from 1985 to December 2014. Under her leadership, Swiss Bear received numerous national and state awards. Susan provided the management and leadership of an award winning downtown New Bern revitalization effort that was recognized nationally as a Main Street success story. She received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine presented by the Governor, the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Special Recognition Award from the NC Board of Transportation NC Main Street Champion, New Bern Rotarian of the Year Award, and Civitan Citizen of the Year Award.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education. Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go or

Submitted by Kathy Morrison on behalf of Mickey Miller