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.

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 […]

Read More >>
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 […]

Read More >>
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 […]

Read More >>
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 […]

Read More >>
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 […]

Read More >>
Live & Local - Tryon Palace

Live and Local! returns to the North Carolina History Center

July 28, 2021

Craft beer, Food and Music, Saturday, August 21st Join us for Live & Local! On Saturday, August 21st, Tryon Palace presents their third annual craft beer, food and music festival featuring local and regional breweries, food trucks, and the upbeat tunes of the Joe Baes Project. The fundraising event takes place inside the North Carolina History Center in New Bern, and outside on Bate Commons. All proceeds benefit the Tryon Palace Foundation in support of Tryon Palace. Doors at the NC History Center open at 5:00 p.m. for VIP ticket holders. VIP tickets provide early access from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., two craft beer sample cards, access to […]

Read More >>
New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 190

New Bern Now Podsquad – Episode 190

July 20, 2021

The Podsquad: Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Talina Massey (Business Savvy) and Wendy Card, were joined by special guests Mari Schultz, Mari’s Hella Fat Food and The Garage and Marin Narron, Office Manager, Craven Arts Council & Gallery. We talked about New Bern’s arts and culture, businesses, history, upcoming events, outdoor life, and all kinds of topics related to living in the greater New Bern area and surrounding towns. Watch: Listen: Podcast Show notes: 00:50 – Trivia Contest Question 2:00 – Craven Arts Council Community Outreach 2:30 – Juneteenth of New Bern Volunteer Cookout 5:12 – Ghostwalk Auditions 6:31 […]

Read More >>
New Bern Board of Aldermen

New Bern’s “First” Leaders recognized during reopening of City Hall Courtroom

July 19, 2021

New Bern’s City Hall was damaged by Hurricane Florence in September 2018 and after months of renovation, the staff, contractors, and all involved did a terrific job restoring the Courtroom. The reopening and dedication ceremony took place last week, July 13, 2021. As the unofficial historian, Alderman Sabrina Bengel detailed the history of City Hall, historic firsts and the Courthouse restoration process in this video: She recognized the late Kathleen Orringer, New Bern’s first woman Alderman; Barbara Lee, first African American woman Alderman; the late Leander Morgan, Sr. as the first African American Mayor; and the late Ella Bengel as […]

Read More >>
Eddie Ellis

Live Presentations Return for New Bern Historical Society

July 14, 2021

Eddie Ellis Leads Off This Year’s Offerings It has been many months since we were able to attend live presentations and have a casual discussion with the presenter afterward. The New Bern Historical Society brings us back to lively learning and conversation with Eddie Ellis on Thursday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6) at the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are available at starting July 15 at  NewBernHistorical.org/tickets or by calling 252-638-8558. Ellis will present Whispers of the Long Departed, from his book […]

Read More >>
Ghostwalk Auditions

New Bern Historical Society looking for a few good ghosts, auditions July 21

July 8, 2021

The New Bern Historical Society is looking for a few good ghosts.  Whether you are a spirited novice or have lots of ghostly experience, the Historical Society wants you to portray the historic characters in this year’s Ghostwalk.   Ghostwalk brings to life noted personalities from New Bern’s past. There’s no need to worry though, all the apparitions in these stories are from the pages of history, not from science fiction. Each year a new and different batch of spirits appear. Auditions will be Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 5:30 pm at the Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New […]

Read More >>