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.

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. […]

Author Scott Huler

Retracing John Lawson’s Voyage of Discovery

November 3, 2019

Author Scott Huler Speaks at Historical Society Annual Lore Lecture November 17 NEW BERN, NC, John Lawson did it in the 18th century, why couldn’t he in 21st? In truth, Scott Huler found he could! On November 17 at 2pm at the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center, Huler will tell you about his own marvelous journey following in Lawson’s footsteps. The result, his book, A Delicious Country: Rediscovering the Carolinas along the Route of John Lawson’s 1700 Expedition, chronicles that unlikely journey. In December 1700 John Lawson, a young man from London hoping to make a […]

Weeping Arch Gate

Earl of Craven Questers Offer Free Daytime Cemetery Tours

October 21, 2019

Historical Society Ghostwalk Sees You Through in the Evening New Bern, NC – While the New Bern Historical Society is preparing for Ghostwalk evenings on Oct.24 – 26, the Earl of Craven Questers are offering special free daytime tours of Cedar Grove Cemetery on Fri & Sat, Oct 25 – 26 at 2pm. To take the tour, meet at the Weeping Arch cemetery main gate on Queen Street at 2pm on Friday, Oct. 25, or Saturday, Oct. 26. Tours will start from there. Reservations are not required, and the tour is free, although donations will be gratefully accepted.  Learn ghostly […]

Ghostwalk Spirited Ladies

Historical Society’s 29th Ghostwalk Appears October 24 – 26

October 14, 2019

Spirited Skirts Headline the Apparitions NEW BERN, NC – For the 29th year in a row, lively historic spirits and specters return to New Bern at the behest of the New Bern Historical Society.  Each Ghostwalk the Historical Society brings a whole new batch of characters from New Bern’s colorful and varied past to tell you their stories right in the very places they might have been seen in life. Don’t worry though, all these spirits are from history, not scary ones from science fiction. This year’s theme is “Spirited Skirts and the Shadows they Cast”.  Watch for intriguing women […]