History

Civil War Weekend

Tryon Palace marks the landmark for North Carolina’s first Capitol Building. The Palace was built for Governor Tryon in 1770 and the Capitol was later relocated to Raleigh in 1778.

Besides being the First State Capitol in North Carolina, New Bern is a town full of history. Here are a few of numerous historical events:

  • James Davis opened the First Printing Press in North Carolina
  • Pepsi was invented in New Bern by Caleb Bradham
  • First Public School in North Carolina
  • First Chartered Fire Department in North Carolina
  • New Bern’s Devastating Fire of 1922

The North Carolina History Center is currently offering Virtual Tours until they reopen.

Learn about the 1862 “Battle of New Bern” by visiting New Bern’s Civil War Battlefield located at the entrance of Taberna (off Hwy 70 E). For details, contact New Bern Historical Society, 512 Pollock St., New Bern, 252-638-8558.

New Bern showcases buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places dating back to the 1700s. The Isaac Taylor House was built in 1792 by Isaac Taylor, the great-great-great-grandfather of musicians Livingston and James Taylor. Union troops arrived in New Bern in 1862 and took hold of the house. The occupants withdrew to the third and fourth floors and remained there for the duration of the war, using a basket with bracket-and-pulley system to transport food and supplies. You can still see the device on the south side of the building.

New Bern’s Historical Homes are well worth the visit to New Bern! Why not stay at one of the “Historical” Bed and Breakfast and experience the history yourself!

New Bern’s Historic Landmarks:

  • Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens, 610 Pollock St., New Bern, 252-514-4900 or 800-767-1560
  • Bellair Plantation, 1100 Washington Post Rd., New Bern, 252-637-3913
  • Birthplace of Pepsi, 256 Middle St., New Bern, 252-636-5898
  • Cedar Grove Cemetery, George St., Greenwood Cemetery, Cyprus St., and New Bern Cemetery, New Bern, 252-639-7515
  • Centenary United Methodist Church, 309 New St., New Bern, 252-637-4181
  • Christ Episcopal Church and Cemetery, 320 Pollock St., New Bern, 252-633-2109
  • City Hall, 300 Pollock St., New Bern, 252-636-4000
  • First Baptist Church, 239 Middle St., New Bern, 252-638-5691
  • First Church of Christ, 406 Middle St., New Bern, 252-638-6269
  • First Presbyterian Church, 418 New St., New Bern, 252-637-3270
  • Hebrew Cemetery, National Ave., New Bern
  • Isaac Taylor House, 228 Craven St., New Bern, 252-649-1712
  • New Bern National Cemetery, 1711 National Ave, New Bern, 252-637-2912
  • Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 604 Johnson St., New Bern, 252-633-3816
  • Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, 510 Middle St., New Bern
  • Saint Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 604 Johnson St., New Bern, 252-633-3816
  • Temple B’Nai Sholem Synagogue, 505 Middle St., New Bern, 252-638-4545

Museums:

  • Attmore-Oliver Civil War House Museum, 510 Pollock St., New Bern, 252-638-8558
  • New Bern Fireman’s Museum, 408 Hancock St., New Bern, 252-636-4087
  • New Bern Academy Museum, located at the corner of New and Hancock Sts.
  • USMC Aviation Exhibit, 201 Tourist Center Drive, Havelock, 252-444-4348

Tours:

  • New Bern Tours and Convention Services, 333 Middle St., New Bern, 252-637-7316 or 800-849-7316
  • Walking Tours, Tryon Palace, Corner of Pollock and George Sts., New Bern, 252-514-4900 or 800-767-1560
  • Self-Guided African American Heritage Tour sponsored by the Craven County Convention and Visitors Center, 252-637-9400
  • Trail of Flames Historical Tour of the Great Fire of 1922, New Bern, 252-288-5716

New Bern’s Historical Resources:

Note: If you notice important historical facts about New Bern that have been left out, please send an Email and they will be added.

Visiting spirits from previous Ghostwalks in New Bern, NC

Historical Society Readies 31st Annual Ghostwalk

September 27, 2021

Tales of New Bern’s Past with “The Skeletons in our Closets” Oct. 28 – 30 Ghostwalk is back!  For the 31st year in a row the New Bern Historical Society will conjure up historic characters from bygone days who will tell you all their secrets with “The Skeletons in our Closets”. Local costumed actors will portray some of the most spirited characters and stories from New Bern’s past, appearing October 28 – 30 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. All outdoors this year, expect to see ghost sites at everyone’s favorite haunt, Cedar Grove Cemetery, and on front porches along […]

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NC State Extension Garden

Garden Lecture on Heritage Plants of ENC and Trade Specials

September 17, 2021

Tryon Palace is excited to announce the return of the annual Garden Lecture Series in September, co-hosted with the Craven County Agricultural Center. “Heritage Plants of ENC and Trade Specials” will be presented on Saturday, September 18th, at 10 a.m. in the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center. Featured speakers are Jennifer Knight, community gardener, Craven County Master Gardener, and owner of Knightscapes, a local design/build landscape firm, and Hadley Cheris, Tryon Palace Gardens and Greenhouse Manager. The lecture will focus on plants best adapted to face the weather challenges of Eastern North Carolina. It will also include a […]

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Coastal Photo Club

Coastal Photo Club’s Documenting Changes to City

September 13, 2021

Starting September 13th, the Coastal Photo Club will be hitting the streets to photograph the neighborhoods of Spencer, Rhem, DeGraffenreid Park and surrounding areas. This is not idle hobby picture taking, they are recording the way New Bern looks in the 2020s for posterity, to keep a record of the city’s changes for future residents and historians to reference. This is a phase three of a project in conjunction with the New Bern Historical society. So, should you see strangers with cameras walking on your street don’t be alarmed, the police have been already advised of the venture. Perhaps some […]

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Barnhill Cottage Ground Breaking

Barnhill Garden Cottage breaks ground

September 10, 2021

A ground-breaking ceremony for Tryon Palace’s new garden cottage building was held on September 8th. The new facility will be named after Robert and Penny Barnhill, Jr. of Barnhill Contracting Company, who generously contributed to the project. All funding for the Barnhill Garden Cottage was raised privately through the Tryon Palace Foundation. Jeannie Tyson, President of the Foundation, spearheaded the project after visiting the current facility and vowed, “If there is one thing I am going to do while on this Board, it is to raise the funds to replace this building!”  Now a reality, at the ceremony she said, “I am grateful […]

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John Thomas Barber High School

50th Anniversary Celebration of John Thomas Barber High School Class of 1970

September 2, 2021

“Embracing the Warriors Journey with Pride”  September 2 – 5th, 2021 We would like to announce that the J. T. Barber High School Class of 1970 has proudly served the New Bern community since graduating on June 3, 1970, and remains committed to educational, cultural, and civic activities that enrich our community through public service. This year we are honored to commemorate 50 years, a historical milestone since graduating from this African-American institution, with our supportive partners and associations, and the community at-large. This monumental event will be held on September 2, 2021, at the North Carolina History Center at […]

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Stanly-Spaight Duel

Join Tryon Palace for Exciting Stanly-Spaight Duel Re-enactment

August 27, 2021

Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 4 p.m. Tryon Palace will stage a re-enactment of the infamous Stanly-Spaight duel on the front lawn of the New Bern Academy, 514 New Street, New Bern. The event is free and open to the public. The event interprets one of North Carolina’s most famous duels. After years of political differences, venomous insults, and name-calling, on September 5, 1802, John Stanly and Richard Dobbs Spaight met behind the Masonic Lodge in New Bern, armed with smoothbore flintlock pistols and ready for the challenge. Spaight, a Jeffersonian Republican, was North Carolina’s first native born governor and helped write the […]

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New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 194

New Bern Now Podsquad – Episode 194

August 18, 2021

The Podsquad connects you with the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC and surrounding areas! Susan Moffat-Thomas, Kathy Morrison and Wendy Card, were joined by special guests Jonathan Burger, Amanda Delgado, and Mitch Lewis. We talked about the latest from the Craven Arts Council & Gallery, Coastal Women’s Shelter, and Arts to End Genocide along with entertainment, culture, history, outdoor life, upcoming events, and much more! Watch: Listen:  Show notes: 01:35 – Trivia Contest Question 1:43 – “Crown of Life” and Weathervane on Christ Church’s Spire 3:18 – New Bern Resolves 6:20 – Featured Artist Maya […]

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Weathervane and Crown of Life

Re-Gilding of the Christ Church “Crown of Life” and Weathervane

August 9, 2021

On the morning of August 14, 2021, the newly gilded Crown of Life and weathervane will be restored to their rightful place on the spire of Christ Episcopal Church on Pollock Street in downtown New Bern. The original crown, symbolic of everlasting life, and weathervane were placed on the spire of the new steeple, 150 feet in the air and higher than anything in the city, was added to the front of the Church in 1885. This was the third Church built on the property at the corner of Pollock and Middle Street. The second Church, built in 1824, was […]

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New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 192

Living in New Bern and Beyond – Episode 192

August 3, 2021

The Podsquad connects you with the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC and surrounding areas! Susan Moffat-Thomas, Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Pat Drake and Wendy Card, were joined by special guest Jeremy LeRay (New Bern Web Design). We talked about ways to promote your nonprofit or business online, arts and culture, history, outdoor life, upcoming events, and so much more! Watch: Listen: Show notes: 00:58 – Trivia Contest Question 1:42 – Re-gilding Christ Church’s Crown and Weathervane 6:24 – Pat and Mack go daytrippin’ among other things 9:05 – Author Eddie Ellis presents “Whispers of […]

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New Bern Houses Move

Jim Hodges and Lunch & Learn Return with New Bern on the Move

August 2, 2021

Everyone’s favorite Curator, New Bern native Jim Hodges, returns to kick off the New Bern Historical Society’s Lunch & Learn series with a fascinating new program about the history of moving houses in downtown New Bern. This special two-hour lunch program will take place Sept. 15 at 11:30am at Carolina Colours Pavilion at 3300 Waterscape Way. Curator Jim will share how, in the spirit of preservation, structures large and small were carefully relocated to save them from demolition. With his folksy and humorous delivery, he will present a pictorial history of the challenging journey of sixteen buildings that have been […]

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