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.

Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace Foundation Receives Mariam & Robert Hayes Charitable Trust Grant

January 10, 2020

New Bern, NC – The Tryon Palace Foundation is honored to announce the receipt of a grant from The Mariam & Robert Hayes Charitable Trust. The $50,000 grant will assist the Tryon Palace Foundation with 2020 General Operating Support. “We are so grateful for the generous support of The Mariam & Robert Hayes Charitable Trust,” said Jeannie Tyson, President, Tryon Palace Foundation. “Many of Tryon Palace’s successful programs and outreach efforts are made possible due to the funds awarded by this trust. Our popular interpretive units like the Fife & Drum Corps and Jonkonnu Troupe directly benefit from funding from […]

Stanly Spaight Duel

Honour, The Musical World Premiere

January 6, 2020

Compelling New Bern Story Opens January 23 New Bern, NC – The Stanly-Spaight Duel. One of New Bern’s most compelling stories. A younger man goads an older statesman. The older man insults the younger. All in public. In newsprint. Add the story of Sarah Rice, a favored slave of the Spaights, who had a son by John Stanly. Mix it all together with the knowledge and wit of Bill Hand and the music of Simon Spalding and you have Honour, The Musical. This historic tale will be brought to life through original dialogue and music, as the full-length play sweeps […]

English Speaking Union

George Mason: Forgotten Founding Father

January 6, 2020

The January 18, program, Saturday, 1 p.m., in the Harrison Center, 311 Middle Street, downtown New Bern is free and open to ESU members, their guests and the public.   Dr. David C. Skaggs’ presentation, George Mason: Forgotten Founding Father, focuses on this founding father who served in the fourth and fifth Virginia Conventions in 1775 and 1776 and prepared the drafts for the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the first Constitution of Virginia. A delegate from his home state to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he refused to sign the document because of the absence of a bill of […]

New Bern Parks and Recreation

Experience an African American Cultural Celebration

January 6, 2020

The North Carolina Museum of History is celebrating its 19th annual African American Cultural Celebration. Travel with New Bern Parks and Recreation on Saturday, January 25, 2020 as we enjoy a day featuring musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors, artists, reenactors, and more. Departing from West New Bern Recreation Center 8 a.m. and will return at 6 p.m. Lunch will be at Bahama Breeze. Lunch is not included with registration. Registration is $20. Deadline to register is Friday, January 17, 2020. Register online at our New Bern Parks and Recreation page at NewBernNC.gov or stop by the West New […]

Middle Street 1972 and now

How Did We Get Here from There?

January 3, 2020

Susan Moffat-Thomas Outlines New Bern’s Downtown Renaissance, Feb 23 at the North Carolina History Center NEW BERN, NC – Following WWII, New Bern’s waterfront area was rather an eyesore.  Now we have the beautiful award-winning downtown we all love. How did that happen?  The New Bern Historical Society will host Susan Moffat-Thomas, retired Executive Director, Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corp, as she describes that 40-year process. On Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2pm at the North Carolina History Center, Moffat-Thomas will provide an overview of the post WWII decline of downtown, the demolition of its waterfront and how the establishment in […]

Tryon Palace Pepsi Portal History Exhibit

Tryon Palace Reopens Pepsi Portal to History Exhibit with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

December 19, 2019

Tryon Palace is pleased to announce the grand re-opening of the Pepsi Portal to History, Wednesday, December 18, at 9 a.m. in the North Carolina History Center. Senator Norman W. Sanderson helped mark the occasion by participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony with Rob Jones, Multimedia Coordinator, Tryon Palace, and members of the Tryon Palace Commission and Foundation boards. Also in attendance was Merrie Jo Alcoke, Eastern Representative at the Office of Governor Roy Cooper. The Pepsi Portal to History, also known as the Pepsi Family Center, reopens after more than a year of repairs to damage caused by Hurricane Florence in […]

Mickey Miller and Dawn Freeman

Gingerbread Awards Presented

December 18, 2019

NEW BERN, NC – The New Bern Historical Society presented its 3rd annual Gingerbread House Contest awards recently. Executive Director Mickey Miller honored all the winners and the Epiphany School Singers entertained the crowd gathered at the O. Marks building. First place winners in the four divisions and the Nancy Chiles Heritage Award won cash prizes and the People’s Choice and runners up collected Christmas Stockings full of gift cards and prizes from the local merchants. Miller invites everyone to visit New Bern’s downtown and take a Gingerbread Walk to see all the wonderful work of the talented people who […]

Baxterss Jewelers Gingerbread House

Third Annual Gingerbread Display Ready to Delight

November 26, 2019

34 Gingerbread Creations in 20 Downtown Locations! New Bern, NC – The Holidays are upon us and 34 gingerbread creations have made their way to 20 locations in Historic Downtown New Bern. The New Bern Historical Society has welcomed and installed these festive creations that run from historic buildings to gingerbread trains! A wonderful showing for the Historical Society’s 3rd Annual Beary Merry Gingerbread House Contest and Display. Take a stroll through downtown and enjoy this old-fashioned tradition.  Each location shows a list of all the participating merchants.  You can also find a map at GingerbreadNewBern.com.  The display will be […]

Great Fire of 1922 - Photo by George Moulton

The Great Fire of 1922

November 11, 2019

New Bern Historical Society Lunch & Learn Remembers New Bern, NC – It was on December 1, 1922, nearly 100 years ago. A fire started at the Rowland Lumber Company on the banks of the Neuse River. Then another fire started in a home on Kilmarnock Street near the Five Points intersection. And many of the city’s firefighters were attending a state championship football game in Raleigh. And the winds were whipping up a firestorm. The result was the Great Fire of 1922. More than 3,000 people were left homeless and 40 city blocks destroyed. At the New Bern Historical […]

Veterans Day - Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace to Honor Veterans

November 7, 2019

Free Admission for Veterans, Dependents this Veterans Day Tryon Palace will offer free admission to all active duty and military veterans and their dependents and minor children on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 10. Because Tryon Palace is closed on Monday’s, it will recognize the occasion on Sunday. This free admission will include access to the Governor’s Palace, historic homes, North Carolina History Center, and 16-acres of gardens. Military ID or proof of service is required for free admission. Upcoming Events at Tryon Palace Garden Lecture Series: Plants With Style – Nov. 9 Behind the Scenes: Museum Technology Tour – Nov. […]