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.

Governor and Mrs. Max O. Gardner

Historical Society Celebrates 97 Years

May 11, 2020

New Bern, NC – Not many folks are around to remember 1923.  Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President following the death of Warren G. Harding.  Time Magazine was launched and Hollywood produced The Ten Commandments.  King Tut’s burial chamber was opened in Egypt while Mt. Aetna erupted in Sicily.  Here in New Bern we were in the middle of the Roaring 20s, just 58 years past the Civil War and four years past World War I. On April 19, 1923, a notice appeared in the New Bern Sun which read:  “Persons interested in the organization of a Historical Society […]

New Bern King Solomon Lodge BEFORE

New Bern Preservation Foundation partners with King Solomon’s Lodge #1

April 20, 2020

A quiet non-profit in town, the New Bern Preservation Foundation, has been quite busy, working in a partnership with the leadership of King Solomon’s Lodge #1, the first African American Masonic Lodge in North Carolina, and one of the first South of the Mason Dixon Line. KSL #1 is operating in a structure completed in 1870, has been in continuous use since that date, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for North Carolina. Only good news to share with you and your readers. A superb grants writer has already raised $70,000.00 from a number of foundations, […]

Tryon Palace Live

Tryon Palace Live

March 22, 2020

While Tryon Palace is closed, we want to make sure you are still able to access all our site has to offer… from the safety of your homes and miles of social distancing. For more than 60 years, you’ve supported us, and now we’re here to support you. We’re beyond excited to announce new programming and services to help you bring a little Tryon Palace (and history) into your homes! Introducing Tryon Palace Live! We will broadcast tours, demos and lectures weekdays at 10 am on our Facebook page. *Schedule subject to change and will be updated accordingly. Friday 3/20: […]

Attmore-Oliver House

New Bern Historical Society Events Cancelled/Postponed

March 17, 2020

NEW BERN, NC – With the health and welfare of all of our community in mind, and in light of the Governor’s Executive Order and the guidelines set by the CDC regarding the Corona Virus, The New Bern Historical Society is cancelling its upcoming April events.  In each case, we are working to re-schedule later in the year. The April 8 Lunch and Learn at the Chelsea and the added presentation on April 7 at the North Carolina History Center have been cancelled.  We are working with Dr. Marchi and the venues to re-schedule his “French Lost Colony in North […]

Tryon Palace

COVID-19 Update: Tryon Palace Closed to Public

March 17, 2020

New Bern, N.C. – In accordance with Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 117, and to help limit the spread of COVID-19, Tryon Palace will suspend public operations beginning Mar. 17. All events and programs are cancelled during this time. Until we reopen, we invite you to visit us online at www.tryonpalace.org or through social media. Submitted by: Regina A. Ochoa, Director of Public Affairs, Tryon Palace

Dudley Marchi

Historical Society Adds Presentation of French Lost Colony – April 7

March 12, 2020

New Bern, NC – The New Bern Historical Society’s April 8 Lunch & Learn sold out super early, but speaker, Dr. Dudley Marchi, has graciously agreed to do a second presentation. He’ll discuss “The French Lost Colony in Eastern North Carolina” on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the North Carolina History Center. Prepaid reservations are strongly suggested as another sell-out is expected. Cost is $10 for Historical Society members and $14 for non-members. There is no meal provided. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Dr. Marchi will have his book The French Lost Colony of North Carolina available […]

Leesa Jones

Encore! The Underground Railroad in New Bern

February 25, 2020

Leesa Jones Returns March 14 New Bern, NC – When Leesa Jones spoke at the New Bern Historical Society Lunch & Learn recently, the room was filled immediately, and folks were clamoring for her return! March 14 brings another opportunity to hear this dynamic woman speak about the Underground Railroad in Eastern North Carolina. On March 14 she will appear at St. Peter’s AME Zion Church at 617 Queen Street at 3:30pm, presented jointly by the African American Heritage & Cultural Center and New Bern Historical Society. There is no charge and no reservations are necessary. The Maritime Underground Railroad […]

Becky Stone as Harriet Tubman

Special Invitation for Students

February 19, 2020

Students from local schools will have the opportunity to meet Harriet Tubman on March 26 at the Cullman Performance Hall in the North Carolina History Center. Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist and led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad. She’ll share her story and interact with the audience, answering questions as both Harriet and Mrs. Stone. Through her storytelling and presentation of history, Becky Stone will offer our guests a memorable and fun learning experience they won’t forget. Becky Stone is a storyteller and has told stories and taught […]

Confederate Hospitals Lunch and Learn

Confederate Hospitals in Coastal North Carolina

February 11, 2020

Historical Society Lunch & Learn with Wade Sokolosky on March 11 New Bern, NC – Author and historian Wade Sokolosky returns to the New Bern Historical Society’s Lunch & Learn at the Chelsea restaurant on Wednesday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the extensive efforts to take care of wounded during the Civil War. At the start of the Civil War there existed a misconception that the conflict would be short and not the bloody and drawn-out struggle that ultimately transpired. The horrific losses during this early period highlighted just how ill-prepared both sides were when it came to […]

Noche de Romance

Tryon Palace’s Cultural Arts Series Presents: Noche de Romance

January 28, 2020

February 22, 2020 Avoid the crowds and join us in the North Carolina History Center to celebrate Valentine’s Day belatedly. That evening, we’ll escape to the Andaluz region of Spain and experience music performed by Raleigh-based Ed Stephenson and the Paco Band. This talented group of Flamenco musicians from around the world is also known to incorporate contemporary favorites such as Led Zeppelin, Santana, and the Eagles all in the band’s signature flamenco style. Add ambiance and the emotional power of their talented flamenco dancers and we have a show you’ll not want to miss! Doors will open at 7 […]