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.

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

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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 […]

Ordinary Women

Virtual History Presentations Continue with Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Deeds

July 28, 2020

The New Bern Historical Society will continue its popular virtual history presentations with “Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Deeds.” Originally a Lunch & Learn crowd-pleaser, selling out twice, now it will be livestreamed on the Historical Society’s Facebook page starting August 17 at 2 p.m. It will be aired daily in five segments at no charge. This program features a visit from five remarkable women from New Bern’s past. Some will be familiar; others may surprise you. From the 19th and early 20th centuries, and varied walks of life, these women have fascinating stories that you’ll want to hear. You’ll meet Kady […]

New Bern Now Podsquad - Episode 148

Living in New Bern Now and Beyond – Episode 148

July 21, 2020

The Podsquad is connecting you with the community by talking about the people, places, and local resources in New Bern, NC, and surrounding areas! The Podsquad: Talina Massey (Business Savvy), Kathy Morrison (New Bern Historical Society), Colleen Roberts (City of New Bern) and I talked about all kinds of things related living in the greater New Bern area and beyond. Listen to the audio version here: Show notes: Look at minutes: 1:18 – Catching up with The Podquad 1:50 – Juneteenth Exhibit at the Bank of the Arts 2:13 – Young Urban Professionals of ENC (YUP) Book Series 2:27 – Optimal Performance […]

New Bern’s Downtown Renaissance

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

July 20, 2020

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, 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 […]

Citizens Bank

New Bern Then and Now Returns

June 22, 2020

Historical Society’s Popular Presentation Goes Online July 8 New Bern, NC – Stories and reminiscences of New Bern’s “used to be”. Captain Ratty’s used to be Duffy’s Drug Store; First Citizens Bank sits where used to be the Hotel Queen Anne. New Bern Then and Now by New Bern Historical Society Curator, Jim Hodges, chock full of historic photos and images, is one of the Society’s most popular presentations, selling out 4 times! Now it is going virtual. Free of charge. Be sure to be on the New Bern Historical Society Facebook page at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 […]

NBPF First Place Exterior

The Nine Prize-Winning Photos 2020 Historic Home Photo Contest Winners in Three Categories

June 11, 2020

New Bern, NC – Winners have been selected for the 2020 Historic Home Photo Contest. Judges in the 2020 Historic Home Photo Contest today announced the winners. The New Bern Preservation Foundation, with sponsorships from Tryon Palace and ASAP Photo of Greenville, awarded First, Second, and Third Place prizes to entries in the Exterior Shot, Interior Shot, and Youth Photographer Shot categories. First Place winners will received a large print of their photograph, up to 24” by 30” from ASAP Photo and Camera in Greenville and a check for $250. Second Place winners will receive checks for $75, with Third […]