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:

Please call ahead as they may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

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

Teacher Liz Henderson

Creekside Elementary Students and Teachers Celebrated Constitution Week

September 23, 2020

Creekside Elementary Teachers arranged for their Students to learn about Constitution Week through Tryon Palace re-enactments and stepping back in time during Constitution Week! They took a field trip to Tryon Palace and enjoyed the Commemorative March by the Sons of the American Revolution. What better way to celebrate the Constitution as the Palace is the landmark for North Carolina’s First Colonial Capital! Did you know? – New Bern Native, Richard Dobbs Spaight signed the Constitution. – New Bernian, Gertrude Carraway, was instrumental in establishing National Constitution Week. The Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution […]

Fall Heritage Plant Sale

Fall Heritage Plant Sale

September 22, 2020

Garden Lovers’ Weekend at Tryon Palace Want to take home some of that fall blooming splendor? The Fall Heritage Plant Sale will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10, on the Daves House Lawn just inside the Palace main gate. This annual plant sale offers a selection of plants grown locally and in the Palace’s nursery yard, as well as a wide variety of perennials, herbs and other fall favorites. The Fall Heritage Plant Sale will be open Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Supplies are limited so come early for the best selection. By […]

Morticians by Gray Whitley

30th Annual Ghostwalk: Both Live and Virtual

September 17, 2020

New Bern Historical Society Event Adapts for Safety Yes, the New Bern Historical Society knows where all the skeletons in New Bern are buried! And they’ll share some of those hidden secrets during the 30th Annual Ghostwalk, “Tales from the Underground,” October 22 – 24. This year’s Ghostwalk will bring you the same great 13 vignettes featuring some of New Bern’s most intriguing historical characters telling their fascinating tales. But with the challenges and restrictions of the pandemic in place, you can expect major changes in the structure of this year’s event. A safely reimagined, scaled-down and all-outdoor Live Ghostwalk […]

New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 156

Living in New Bern and Beyond – Episode 156

September 14, 2020

Spotlighting Local Nonprofits and Coming Together during the Pandemic! We’re connecting you with the community by talking about the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC and surrounding areas! The Podsquad: Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Colleen Roberts (City of New Bern) and I talked about all kinds of things related to living in the greater New Bern area. We were joined by Special Guests: Antoinette Boskey, Zanetta Padiall, and Tova Hairston. Watch: Listen: Show notes: 00:51 – Trivia Contest Question 2:05 – Neuse River/Flanner’s Beach Campground 4:57 – Constitution Day Celebration 6:50 – New Bern Ghostwalk […]

Tryon Palace Gates

Tryon Palace and North Carolina History Center Opening to the Public

September 11, 2020

Visitors can tour the first floor of the Palace beginning September 14 Tryon Palace is excited to announce that the site will open to the public Monday, Sept. 14 for Palace tours, and museum exhibits in the North Carolina History Center. The health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount and the new guidelines under North Carolina’s “Safer At Home Phase 2.5” executive order will be followed. Guest capacity on tours of the Palace and visiting the History Center will be limited, and some historic sites and exhibits will remain closed. Guided tours will follow strict occupancy […]

Seth Thomas Clock

The Seth Clock Chimes Once Again, Thanks to Students and Faculty at Craven Community College

September 4, 2020

The Seth Thomas Clock chimes with its rebuilt hammer In a collaborative effort with the Craven Community College, the Seth Thomas Clock, located in the North Carolina History Center, is repaired. Erected in 1911, the Seth Thomas Clock was originally located in the New Bern City Hall tower. The clock was decommissioned in 1999 due to ongoing mechanical problems. Volunteers began restoring it in 2007, and it was placed in its permanent home of the North Carolina History Center three years later in 2010. Its presence above the History Center’s lobby doors has captured the attention of thousands of visitors […]

New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 154

Living in New Bern and Beyond – Episode 154

August 31, 2020

Arts, Pets, Driving and Life in a River Town! We’re connecting you with the community by talking about the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC and surrounding areas! The Podsquad: Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Colleen Roberts (City of New Bern), and I talked about all kinds of things related to living in the greater New Bern area. Watch: Listen: Show notes: 00:39 – Today’s Trivia Contest 2:46 – Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Deeds 3:04 – Historical Society Golf Tournament 5:55 – Hurricane Laura 6:58 – Special thanks to EMT’s, CarolinaEast Medical Center and J & S […]

Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace opens 7 days a week

August 19, 2020

The gardens at Tryon Palace will now be open 7 days a week. Still following the Governor’s Phase 2 restart orders, the Palace, North Carolina History Center, and historical homes are not open to the public. The grounds will be open to ticketed visitors. Tickets to view the gardens will be available at the Waystation ticket office, located at 610 Pollock St. The updated hours of operations are: Gardens Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun: Noon – 5 p.m. Museum Store Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. In addition to the extended hours, visitors can also expect historic interpreters on-site […]

New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 151

Living in New Bern Now and Beyond – Episode 151

August 10, 2020

Compassion, Learning, and Happenings in New Bern, NC We’re connecting you with the community by talking about the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC and surrounding areas! The Podsquad: George Oliver (Oliver & Cheek), Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Jane Maulucci (The Reactive Voice), and I talked about all kinds of things related living in the greater New Bern area. We were joined by special guests, Aimee Schulze and Rob Jones. Listen to the audio version here:  Show notes: 1:18 – Today’s Trivia Contest 4:12 – Small Town News 7:52 – Absentee Voter Ballot Applications from The […]

Ghostwalk 2020

New Bern Historical Society receives NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grant

August 3, 2020

Going Virtual to Replace Programs Impacted by the Covid Pandemic The New Bern Historical Society has received a $4900 NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council. This emergency grant funding was provided to North Carolina cultural organizations experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant will help fund the Historical Society’s work to move their programs into the virtual sphere. “We are grateful to be one of 59 organizations the North Carolina Humanities Council selected for this funding,” said Executive Director Mickey Miller. “We are very excited to be able to present New Bern’s fascinating […]