Category: History

June 22nd, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

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 there used to be the Hotel Queen Anne.

“New Bern Then and Now” by New Bern Historical Society Curator Jim Hodges is chock full of historic photos and images and is one of the Society’s most popular presentations, selling out 4 times.

Now it is going virtual and free of charge.  Be sure to be on the New Bern Historical Society Facebook page at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 when they will live stream the presentation, and he will be on hand to answer questions.

He will reveal the past and current status of more than 30 New Bern landmarks.  He has scoured the New Bern Historical Society collection to share with you these images from the city’s past.  In some cases, the buildings have been carefully renovated and saved in their original condition.  In others they have been saved and re-purposed, while sometimes they are simply lost.

New Bern Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said of this new project, “Jim’s ‘Then and Now’ is the first of several presentations we’ll bring to live stream this summer.  We are delighted to explore a new venue to share New Bern’s stories with an even wider audience.  And we want to thank Charles Tendell for guiding us through this technology.”

Hodges was raised in New Bern and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a post graduate dental degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After satisfying a military commitment and enjoying several years of international travel, he returned to New Bern and practiced dentistry until his retirement in 2012.

His current life chapter involves his passion for New Bern and its rich history as a member of the Historical Society’s Board of Directors.  As the volunteer Curator of the New Bern Historical Society he spends his days maintaining, conserving and finding ways to share the collection.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go or .

Posted in Community, Entertainment, History, New Bern Historical Society

June 17th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

The city is proposing that Stanley White Recreation Center be moved to a new location with Broad Street frontage so that it won’t be further damaged by future flooding.

Here’s why it’s important to do as much as humanly possible to keep it exactly where it is.

In a map of the predominately black Duffyfield area of New Bern, Stanley White Recreation Center is located toward the center. The city proposes moving the center to Duffyfield’s very edge. It would be more of a Broad Street-oriented structure, almost right next door to the tony, nearly all white DeGraffenreid neighborhood.

Stanley White Recreation Center was built during a different time, when “separate but equal” facilities were required in lieu of integration.

But race remains an issue in our society. Period. I need provide no further proof.

The fact remains, black residents don’t feel comfortable in Downtown New Bern. The New Bern Riverfront Convention Center’s bookings are for events that, whether intentionally or not, are white events. Blacks don’t feel comfortable being out at night. They can’t even cross the river and visit Bridgeton or Pamlico County without encountering racism.

Stanley White Recreation Center is the only example of the city investing the same kind of resources in the black community, as it does elsewhere in predominately white areas.

Now the city plans to move it away from the center of Duffyfield and put it on Broad Street.

There are other options.



Posted in Community, Community issues, Downtown New Bern, History

June 17th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Stanley White Recreation Center is named for Stanley Augustus White, who was athletic director for Cedar Street Recreation Center and a minor-league baseball player who died in an electrical accident during a game on Father’s Day, June 20, 1971.

More about Stanley White

Cedar Street Recreation Center was built between 1948 and 1952 for $258,200 and was built for New Bern’s African American residents during a time when courts ruled that segregation was permissible as long as facilities were “separate but equal.”

“Separate” was taken literally, but “equal” was another matter.

Around the corner on George Street, a much nicer facility for whites had been built a few years earlier at twice the cost.

Cedar Street was eventually replaced by Stanley White Recreation Center, whereas George Street was replaced by West New Bern Recreation Center.

The old Cedar Street facility was deeded to a non-profit and renamed the Jasper G. Hayes Omega Center. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

The George Street facility was repurposed as the Craven County Senior Center.

The current Stanley White Recreation Center gymnasium was built in 1975 for $690,900 just under a half mile west of Cedar Street Recreation Center. An adjoining 11 acres was added and is known as Henderson Park. It includes two ballfields, a playground, a walking trail, and a restroom facility.

The main building is subject to flooding and the playground areas are frequently too soggy to be reliably useful.

West New Bern Recreation Center was built in 1975 to replace George Street Recreation Center for $1.096 million. It is not subject to flooding.






Posted in History

May 25th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Craven County continues to outpace its neighbors in the growth of COVID-19 cases, rising 11 cases in the past 24 hours by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services records, or three cases by Craven County Health Department records.

The two agencies often differ in their daily count but jibe over longer periods of time.

The Craven County Health Department keeps more detailed records, however.

Three of the active COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized.

There are 132 active cases, a number that has risen sharply over the past two weeks, while 45 cases are reported as recovered, a number that has stayed the same for much of the last week.

There have been four deaths related to COVID-19.

Of the 186 cases, seven have been related to out of state travel, 26 are from community transmission, and 153 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case.


Total Confirmed Cases Craven County

Active Cases

Craven County


Craven County


Craven County

Currently Hospitalized 

Craven County







The Craven County Health Department works with state, commercial, and private labs to track the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Craven County. Health care providers determine which lab they send their COVID-19 tests to. There are multiple hospital and commercial labs that conduct COVID-19 tests. These labs manage their own supplies and operate independently from the Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.

Craven County will continue to track and post the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases; however, it is important to recognize there are many people with COVID-19 who will not be included in daily counts of laboratory-confirmed cases, including:

  • People who had minimal or no symptoms and were not tested.
  • People who had symptoms but did not seek medical care.
  • People who sought medical care but were not tested.
  • People with COVID-19 in whom the virus was not detected by testing.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases will increasingly provide a limited picture of the spread of infections in Craven County as COVID-19 becomes more widespread and the number of infected people who are not included in the daily counts of laboratory-confirmed cases increases.       


Although still third in its eight-county region of neighboring and nearby counties, Craven County’s growth rate continues to outpace them all. At its current pace, it is about to overtake Lenoir County for the second highest case count, although Lenoir County still leads the region in deaths, with seven.














Posted in Craven County, History, State news

March 14th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

In light of Gov. Roy Cooper’s state of emergency declaration and guidance regarding canceling or postponing large gatherings in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, some upcoming special events and programs scheduled for March and April at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras have been canceled. These events include:

North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort


19           Beaufort’s Dolphins, Getting to Know Them (lecture)

              25           By Hook or By Crook (lecture)

              26           Vanishing Sail: The Story of a Caribbean Tradition (film screening)

              28           Carolina Maritime Model Society Meeting


              3            5th annual North Carolina Whales and Whaling Symposium

              8             Merry-time for Tots: Whale of a Time (preschool program)

              16           Exploring Tidal Flats (field program)

              17          Naval Support during the Battle of Plymouth (lecture)

              18–19    Introduction to Wooden Boat Building Class

              23           Sea Turtles, A Feast Fit for a Pirate (lecture)

              28           Kayak the Salt Marsh (field program)

             25           Carolina Maritime Model Society Meeting

Demonstrations in the on-site conservation lab will not be offered through the rest of March and into April.

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras


              4             Underwater Heritage Symposium 

              *A decision about the other programs scheduled in April will be made early next week.

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport


              17           Alcohol and the Irish (lecture)

              21           Seaside Scenery (members-only painting party)

              27          Homeschool Friday: Menhaden Fishermen


              4             Sensory Saturday: Underwater Egg Hunt

              4             Spring into History: Remembering Reconstruction Symposium

              4             Santa Fe Clam Chowder (history/cooking program)

11 Springtime Sloop

“While we are disappointed not to be able to offer these experiences, the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff is always our priority. If these events can be rescheduled, we will announce new dates in the future,” they said.

Currently, the museums and associated sites remain open for individual visits. However, if visitors are currently sick or belong to a group at high risk per the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, they are encouraged to postpone their visit.

During this time, the sites are taking extra precautionary measures, including:

•​More frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas.

•​Hand sanitizer provided for visitor use.

•​Frequent handwashing by staff.

•Encouraging staff to telework to the greatest extent possible.

For up to date information on other upcoming events, visit the website,, and social media channels. More information on health precautions can be found at the NCDHHS website at

Posted in Health, History, Tourism

December 23rd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin


I am reading a prize-winning history by Philip Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: A History of Lynching of Black America (2002).  A Pulitzer-prize finalist, I don’t recommend the book to either the weak-of-heart or the weak-of-stomach.

Mr. Dray does not attempt a complete account of all lynchings in the United States, and North Carolina and New Bern, are, fortunately,  not mentioned often, but when they are, at least in three incidents, mistakes of either omission or commission are made.  New Bern is mentioned as follows:

In 1919 a lynching occurred of a man accused of murdering someone at the Roper Lumber Company, then on North Craven Street.  But the lynching did not subsequently occur in New Bern, as Dray relates.  The suspect was hustled to Onslow County for safekeeping where a mob, nevertheless, killed him in his cell by shooting.

Not mentioned is an incident occurring in 1905 and recounted in John Green’s A New Bern Album (1985.) A black man accused of attacking a woman in Clarks was taken to the Craven County Jail, then near the courthouse at the corner of Broad and Craven.

In the early morning hours a mob overcame the sheriff, took the victim to the old Neuse River bridge (then at the foot of Johnson Street) and hanged him from a bridge trestle (and shot him repeatedly).

A more egregious error in the narrative, at least in my opinion, is Mr. Dray’s telling readers Strom Thurmond was a  NC Senator.

Pardon me- Mr. Dray’s book may have earned a Pulitzer nomination, and I very much think it deserves it, but putting Thurmond in North Carolina also earns Dray’s proof-readers and editors, not to mention Dray himself, dunce awards.

Our senators have included some of the worst- let’s not add to the historical record one of South Carolina’s own.

John Phaup, New Bern

Posted in Commentary, Community issues, Crime, History, In Box, Opinion

June 27th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

It has been 100 years since World War I, the “War to End All Wars.”

Mark Sandvigen will join the New Bern Historical Society once again at the Chelsea Restaurant July 10 at 11:30 a.m. for Lunch & Learn with a look back from the United States entry into WWI in 1917 to the return of our service men and women in 1919.

His presentation, A Distant Mirror: Craven County and Reflections on the Great War, 1917-1920, is a Craven County story as well as North Carolina story covering the impact of the War and how it changed every facet of our lives. This is not a presentation about dates and battles but rather a thoughtful look at society as a whole and how the War brought changes in almost everything: what we thought about, our patriotic values, what was popular, what was funny, what was known and what we would find out. This was presented in May and sold out quickly, so be sure to get your reservations early.

Mark Sandvigen

Mark Sandvigen, a retired U.S. Naval Officer and senior executive for several Fortune 500 companies, brings a unique perceptive to this forgotten chapter in our history. Mark’s interest in the Great War began with his Grandfather who fought in the 91st Pine Tree Division during the 100 days leading to the Armistice. Pursuing his Grandfather’s legacy led to walking the battlefields and trenches of the Western Front along with visiting the WWI memorials and museums of the allied powers. His investigations and perspective will provide an illuminating, and sometimes amusing look at the home and military life of North Carolinians and New Bernians of that era.

Lunch & Learn starts at 11:30 a.m. at The Chelsea Restaurant, 335 Middle Street, New Bern. The cost is $17 for Historical Society members and $22 for non-members; lunch is included.
Advance reservations must be made by calling the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558, or can be ordered at

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go to its website or Facebook page.

Posted in History, New Bern Historical Society

June 25th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Here is your opportunity to be a part of a world premiere event telling one of New Bern’s most compelling stories, the Stanly-Spaight Duel.

Auditions for Honour, The Musical with book and lyrics by Bill Hand and music by Simon Spalding will be held July 10 at 6 p.m. and July 13 at 10 a.m. at Craven Community College at Orringer Auditorium.

Participants will be asked to present a one-minute monologue of their choice and to read from the script.  They will also be asked to sing one of two songs.  The songs and more details are found at

Performance dates are Jan. 23-26 and Jan. 31-Feb 2, 2020. .

Honour, The Musical first tells the story of the 1802 duel between Richard Dobbs Spaight and John Stanly and, second, that of one of Spaight’s slaves, Sarah Rice, who was the mother of a child by John Stanly and who, one day, would gain her freedom and become an important part of New Bern history.

This project is presented through a partnership of the New Bern Historical Society and Craven Community College supported with Title Sponsorship of CarolinaEast Health System and Silver Sponsorship of the law firms of Stubbs & Perdue, and Oliver & Cheek.

Historical Society Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “We are thrilled to partner with this dynamic group to present this world premiere of Honour, The Musical, a unique New Bern story. The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education, and Honour fits our mission perfectly.”

Bill Hand

Bill Hand is a local writer, historian and journalist who is also known for his weekly history column in the New Bern Sun Journal.  He has also written the scripts and directed the Cedar Grove Cemetery Ghosts for the Historical Society’s annual Ghostwalk. Audiences will also remember his dinner theatre presentations from Athens of the South company, as well as his portrayal of Mark Twain and appearances in local theatre productions.

Simon Spalding

The music of Honour is the work of musician, historian, author and performer Simon Spalding. Simon has been a musician for 50-plus years performing with groups throughout the United States and in several European countries. His solo performances have taken him to a total of 12 European countries, and he has composed, arranged and performed music for dozens of commercial recordings and films. He also served for five years as Living History Programs Manager at Tryon Palace.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.

Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go or

Posted in Community, Craven Community College, Entertainment, History, New Bern Historical Society

May 29th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

On June 19, 2019, Eastern North Carolinians will celebrate JUNETEENTH with the launch of The African American Heritage & Cultural Center of New Bern.

June 19 is JUNETEENTH, the national celebration of the emancipation of formerly enslaved peoples. The AAHCC launch is June 19 from 6-8 p.m. at 408 Hancock St. in New Bern.

Rick Fisher, newly elected Board President said, “JUNETEENTH was chosen because of its significance to African Americans throughout the country. Launching on JUNETEENTH in New Bern demonstrates our organization’s commitment to presenting the historical impact and progression of African American heritage and culture in Eastern North Carolina.”

The African American Heritage & Cultural Center (AAHCC) launch on JUNETEENTH is one event among many planned that week throughout New Bern.

“Our leadership looks forward to all the events and encourages families throughout the region to come to New Bern for the JUNETEENTH celebrations,” Fisher said.

“We are planning an evening of fellowship, good traditional food, music, and art”, said Board Vice-President Ann Herndon. “I’m honored to be on the founding Board of Directors and look forward to AAHCC’s first public event.”

Details and tickets for the event are available on EventBrite. The program begins at 6 p.m. and registrants are encouraged to park in the nearby free parking lot and arrive by 5:45.

AAHCC is strategic group of community leaders, elected officials and nonprofit organization leaders that gathered early in 2018 to discuss the continuing need to increase the visibility of the heritage of eastern North Carolina’s African American community.

Beyond the recorded history of the region that is included in traditional educational environments exists an important legacy of remarkable and determined individuals who contributed to the development of this region. As 2018 discussion continued, these early AAHCC leaders determined to established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which would collaborate with existing nonprofits, organizations and groups to secure resources to present a broad spectrum of the African American Experience.

Future AAHCC programs will include developing an oral history library with universal access, and presenting creative performances, seminars and lectures, exhibitions of artwork including murals, artifacts and personal collections, along with music, food and live art events.


AAHCC’s June 19 launch is one of many JUNETEENTH events throughout New Bern:

• Friday, June 14 at 5-8 p.m. JUNETEENTH Opening Reception featuring a month- long exhibit of eight local African American artists at Craven Arts Council, Bank of the Arts, 317 Middle Street

• Monday June 17 at 7 p.m. Juneteenth Week Kickoff with Charles Tendell Podcast

• Tuesday June 18, Community Service/Health Day Health and Mental Health Free Screenings at the OMEGA Center. Watch for publication of registration details

• JUNETEENTH Wednesday June 19 at 6-8 p.m. AAHCC Public Lunch – register on EventBrite.

• Thursday June 20 at 7 p.m. Tryon Palace African American Lecture, NC History Center

• Friday June 21 at 7 p.m. “Celebration of Cultures” hosted by Y.U.P. Annual Rooftop Social, 401 Middle Street. Registration required.

• Saturday June 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. DufFest Presents Juneteenth hosted by GDRC, Stanley White Field

• Saturday, June 22, HBCA DAY at Omega Center. Watch for publication of registration details

• Sunday June 23 is Community Freedom and Fellowship Day at Local Churches and Union Point Park Recreation. Watch for publication of details

• Sunday June 23 Gospel Concert being planned at OMEGA Center. Watch for publication of details

The African American Heritage & Cultural Center of New Bern is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New Bern North Carolina and serving communities throughout Eastern North Carolina. Contact information: Post Office Box 1354, NBNC 28563-1354 or

In early 2019, AAHCC became a nonprofit organization and elected is founding Board of Directors and Officers.

  • Officers are Rick Fisher – President
  • Ann Herndon – Vice-President
  • Kathy Adolph – Secretary
  • Jim Copland – Treasurer
  • Board Directors – Carol Bonner Becton, Maria Cho, and Tahira Coble Copland.
  • AAHCC is staffed by Executive Director Carrie Gallagher.

Posted in Activities, Community, Events, History

April 5th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Heritage Homes Tour April 12 & 13

Celebrate New Bern’s heritage and resilience with the New Bern Historical Society’s Heritage Homes Tour April 12-13.

Traditional historic homes, restorations in progress, newly completed renovations, and beautiful gardens will all be on display, many for the very first time.  For two days visitors will be invited to tour 18 remarkable properties in five historic neighborhoods — Downtown, Dryborough, Riverside, Ghent, and DeGraffenried Park.

When you take a break at the Garden Party at the Heritage Homes Tour, you’ll be entertained by some of the area’s most popular musicians. Taking the Back Porch Stage at the Attmore-Oliver House from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday will be Simon Spalding, The Duzan Duo, The DownEast Dulcimers and Big Jim and Kathy Kohler. The New Bern Historical Society is planning an exciting two-day event and the addition of live music means an extra layer of fun, and all part of your ticket.  After a stop for refreshments and music at the Garden Party, you’ll be ready to continue your Tour.

Master Gardeners will present special Heritage Horticulture information, and guide visitors through three gardens, including the Historical Society’s Heritage Garden. Food trucks along the route will offer lunches to help guest maximize their tour schedules.

Tickets, good for both days, are available at New Bern Historical Society office at 511 Broad Street (252-638-8558) and on line They are also available at outlets at Mitchell Hardware on Craven Street, the Bank of the Arts on Middle Street, Harris Teeter on MLK Blvd and in Carolina Colours. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour, and $15 for active duty military, students, and those in groups of 10 or larger.

The New Bern Historical Society celebrates and promotes New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go


Posted in Community, Events, History, New Bern Historical Society

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