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New Bern, North Carolina

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Bern, North Carolina
City of New Bern
Main façade of the New Bern City Hall
Main façade of the New Bern City Hall
Coat of arms of New Bern, North Carolina
Location in Craven county and the state of North Carolina
Location in Craven county and the state of North Carolina
New Bern is located in North Carolina
New Bern
New Bern
Location in the United States
New Bern is located in the United States
New Bern
New Bern
New Bern (the United States)
New Bern is located in North America
New Bern
New Bern
New Bern (North America)
Coordinates: 35°06′30″N 77°02′40″W / 35.10833°N 77.04444°W / 35.10833; -77.04444
Country United States
State North Carolina
FoundedOctober 1710 (1710-10)
CharteredNovember 23, 1723 (1723-11-23Tmdy)
Founded byBaron of Bernberg
Named forBern, Switzerland
 • TypeCouncil–Manager
 • CouncilNew Bern Board of Aldermen
 • ManagerFoster Hughes
 • Total29.77 sq mi (77.10 km2)
 • Land28.28 sq mi (73.25 km2)
 • Water1.49 sq mi (3.85 km2)
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total31,291
 • Density1,106.39/sq mi (427.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
28560, 28562
Area code(s)252
FIPS code37-46340[2]
GNIS feature ID1013911[3]

New Bern, formerly called Newbern,[4] is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 29,524,[5] which had risen to an estimated 29,994 as of 2019.[6] It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Metropolitan Statistical Area.

It is located at the confluence of the Neuse and the Trent rivers, near the North Carolina coast. It lies 112 miles (180 km) east of Raleigh, 80 miles (130 km) north of Wilmington, and 162 miles (261 km) south of Norfolk. New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi.

New Bern was founded in October 1710 by the Palatines and Swiss under the leadership of Christoph von Graffenried. The new colonists named their settlement after Bern, the Swiss region from which many of the colonists and their patron had emigrated.[7] The flag and arms of the American city are virtually identical to those of the Swiss canton. The English connection with Switzerland had been established by some Marian exiles who sought refuge in Protestant parts of Switzerland. There were also marriages between the House of Stuart and notable people in the history of Calvinism. The colonists later discovered they had started their settlement on the site of a former Tuscarora village named Chattoka. This caused conflicts with the Tuscaroras who were in the area.

New Bern is the second-oldest European settled colonial town in North Carolina, after Bath.[8] It served as the capital of North Carolina from 1770 to 1792. After the American Revolution (1775–1783), New Bern became wealthy and quickly developed a rich cultural life. At one time New Bern was called "the Athens of the South,"[8] renowned for its Masonic Temple and Athens Theater. These are both still very active today.

New Bern has four historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places; their numerous contributing buildings include residences, stores and churches dating back to the early eighteenth century. Within walking distance of the waterfront are more than 164 homes and buildings listed on the National Register. Also nearby are several bed and breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, banks, antiques stores and specialty shops. The historic districts contain many of the city's 2,000 crape myrtles—its official flower—and developed gardens. New Bern has two "Local Historic Districts", a municipal zoning overlay that affords legal protection to the exteriors of New Bern's historic structures.


British governor's palace (Tryon Palace), by John Hawks (rebuilt 1959)

New Bern was settled in October 1710 by the Palatines and Swiss under the leadership of Christoph von Graffenried.[9][10] The new colonists named their settlement after the Canton of Bern, home state of their patron. Bernberg had the original plat of the town laid out in the shape of a cross, though later development and additional streets have obscured this pattern within the regular street grid. The British governor’s palace (present-day Tryon Palace) served as the capitol of North Carolina from 1770 until the state government relocated to Raleigh in 1792, after a fire had destroyed much of the capitol. This became the first permanent capital city of North Carolina.

There was no printer in North Carolina until 1749, when the North Carolina Assembly commissioned James Davis from Williamsburg, Virginia to act as their official printer. Before this time the laws and legal journals of North Carolina were handwritten and were largely kept in a disorganized manner, prompting them to hire Davis. Davis settled in New Bern and was appointed by Benjamin Franklin as North Carolina's first postmaster, who also became active in North Carolina's politics, as a member of the Assembly and later as the Sheriff. Davis also founded and printed the North-Carolina Gazette, North Carolina's first newspaper, printed in his printing house in New Bern.[11][12]

During the 19th-century Federal period, New Bern became the largest city in North Carolina, developed on the trade of goods and slaves associated with plantation agriculture.[13] After Raleigh was named the state capital, New Bern rebuilt its economy by expanding on trade via shipping routes to the Caribbean and New England.[13] It was part of the Triangle Trade in sugar, slaves, and desired goods. It reached a population of 3,600 in 1815.[13]

In 1862 during the early stages of the American Civil War, the area was the site of the Battle of New Bern. Federal forces captured and occupied the town until the end of the war in 1865. Nearly 10,000 enslaved blacks escaped during this period in the region and went to the United States Army (Union Army) camps for protection and freedom. The Union Army set up the Trent River contraband camp at New Bern to house the refugees. It organized the adults for work. Missionaries came to teach literacy to both adults and children.

The advance of the Gunboats up the river to New Berne, N. Carolina. Passing the Barricade, 1862
The advance of the Gunboats up the river to New Berne, N. Carolina. Passing the Barricade, 1862

After the January 1863 Emancipation Proclamation of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, slaves within the Confederate States were declared free, but not those in the United States. His order carefully limited the Proclamation to those areas in insurrection, where civil government was not respected and his military authority, therefore, applied. Because of this proclamation, more freedmen came to the Trent River camp for protection. The Union Army appointed Horace James, a Congregational chaplain from Massachusetts, as the "Superintendent of Negro Affairs for the North Carolina District"[14] on behalf of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. In addition to the Trent River camp, James supervised development of the offshore Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony, which was intended to be self-supporting.[15] Beginning in 1863, a total of nearly 4,000 freedmen from North Carolina enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops to fight with the Union Army for their permanent freedom, including 150 men from the colony on Roanoke Island.[14]

Due to the continuous occupation by the Union Army, New Bern avoided some of the destruction of the war years. There was much social disruption because of the occupation and the thousands of freedmen camped near the city. Still, it recovered more quickly than many cities after the war. By the 1870s the lumber industry was developing as the chief part of New Bern's economy. Timber harvested could be sent downriver by the two nearby rivers. The city continued to be a center for freedmen, who created communities independent of white supervision: thriving churches, fraternal associations, and their own businesses. By 1877 the city had a majority-black population.

The state legislature defined the city and county as part of North Carolina's 2nd congressional district which, as former plantation territory, held a concentration of the state's black residents. They elected four blacks to the US Congress in the late 19th century. The state's passage of a constitutional suffrage amendment in 1900 used various devices to disenfranchise black citizens. As a result, they were totally closed out of the political process, including participation on juries and in local offices; white Democrats maintained this suppression mostly, until after passage of federal civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided for federal enforcement of constitutional rights.

By 1890 New Bern had become the largest lumber center in North Carolina and one of the largest in all of the South. During this time, as many as 16 lumber mills were running and employing hundreds of men from New Bern and the area. The competitive nature of the lumber barons, the abundance of lumber and craftsmen, led to the construction in New Bern of some of the finest homes in the South, many of which have survived. The lumber boom lasted until the 1920s. One by one the lumber mills went out of business. Today only Weyerhaeuser manufactures lumber in the area.[citation needed]

The city has four National Historic Districts and two local ones, which have helped preserve the character of the architecture. The Downtown Local Historic District is 368.64 acres (149.18 ha) or 0.576 square miles (1.49 km2); the Riverside Local Historic District covers 51.94 acres (21.02 ha) or 0.081 square miles (0.21 km2). Union Point Park borders the Neuse and Trent rivers.


New Bern's location near the Atlantic coast renders it subject to the effects of Atlantic hurricane seasons. For example, in the 18th century the town suffered severe damage in the Great Chesapeake Bay Hurricane of 1769.[16] Other hurricanes such as Hurricane Ione in 1955 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999 (just as examples) have also caused significant flooding and damage.[17]

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall in the United States just south of Wrightsville Beach, 88.4 miles southwest of New Bern. A storm surge up to 13.5 feet in addition to days of heavy rains severely flooded various parts of the town. [National Hurricane Center Storm Surge Inundation Map, Sept 13, 2018]


Aerial view of New Bern (center left) showing the confluence of Trent (bottom center) and Neuse (left to right) rivers.
Aerial view of New Bern (center left) showing the confluence of Trent (bottom center) and Neuse (left to right) rivers.

New Bern is located at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, two tidal waterways, in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.7 square miles (76.9 km2), of which 28.2 square miles (73.1 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.7 km2), or 4.87%, is water.[5]

U.S. routes 17 and 70 pass through the city, merging briefly as a four-lane expressway passing south of the city center. US 70 leads west 33 miles (53 km) to Kinston and southeast 35 miles (56 km) to Morehead City near the Atlantic Ocean. Raleigh, the state capital, is 112 miles (180 km) west via US 70. US 17 leads southwest 37 miles (60 km) to Jacksonville, and crosses the Neuse River on a new bridge to lead north 36 miles (58 km) to Washington.


New Bern experiences a humid subtropical climate typical of the Atlantic coastal plain. Summers are hot and humid, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms that account for much of the higher summer precipitation. Spring and fall are generally mild, with fall foliage occurring from late October to early November. Winters are relatively mild and drier than the remainder of the year, with infrequent snowfall.

Climate data for New Bern, North Carolina (Coastal Carolina Regional Airport) 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1933–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Mean maximum °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 55.1
Daily mean °F (°C) 44.5
Average low °F (°C) 33.8
Mean minimum °F (°C) 18
Record low °F (°C) 1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.89
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.2 9.6 10.0 8.9 10.6 11.5 13.6 13.6 11.1 8.8 8.3 10.8 127.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2010)[18][19][20]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)29,994[21]1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]

2020 census

New Bern racial composition[23]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 17,281 55.23%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,281 26.46%
Native American 86 0.27%
Asian 2,035 6.5%
Pacific Islander 23 0.07%
Other/Mixed 1,483 4.74%
Hispanic or Latino 2,102 6.72%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 31,291 people, 13,757 households, and 8,070 families residing in the city.


The population of the area was 30,291 (95% urban, 5% rural) people in 2014, a 31% increase in growth since 2000. Gender distribution is 47.5% male and 52.5% female with a median resident age of 38.8. The percentage of residents under the age of 18 was 24.2%. The 2012 racial breakdown includes White alone – 16,304 (54%), Black alone – 9,634 (31.9%), Asian alone – 1,844 (6.1%), Hispanic – 1,626 (5.4%), Two or more races – 747 (2.5%), American Indian alone – 50 (0.2%) and Other race alone – 13 (0.04%). The median income for a household in the city in 2015 was $41,285.[24]

The City of New Bern 2010 Census information shows the population of the area was approximately 29,524 people. From 2000 to 2010, the New Bern city population growth percentage was 27.7% (or from 23,128 people to 29,524 people). 22.8% of the New Bern city residents were under 18 years of age. Census 2010 race data for New Bern city include the racial breakdown percentages of 57.0 white, 32.8% black, 3.6% Asian, 5.8% Hispanic and less than 1% Native American, Also, there were 14,471 housing units in the City of New Bern, 88.2% of which were occupied housing units.

Arts and culture

New Bern has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



High schools

Middle schools

  • Grover C. Fields Middle School
  • H.J. McDonald Middle School
  • West Craven Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Trent Park Elementary School
  • Oaks Road Elementary School
  • J.T. Barber Elementary School
  • Brinson Memorial Elementary School
  • Ben D. Quinn Elementary School
  • Albert H. Bangert Elementary School
  • Creekside Elementary School
  • Bridgeton Elementary School

Private schools


Radio stations

  • 1450 AM / 104.3 FM WNOS – News/Talk/Sports
  • 1490 AM / 103.9 FM WWNB - ESPN Radio – sports talk
  • 88.5 FM WZNB - Public Radio East – Classical Music
  • 89.3 FM WTEB - Public Radio East – NPR/News/Talk
  • 89.9 FM W210BS - Classical WCPE
  • 92.7 FM WBNK - K-Love - Christian Contemporary
  • 91.9 FM WAAE - American Family Radio – Religious
  • 93.3 FM WERO - Bob 93.3 - Top 40
  • 94.1 FM WNBU - Talk
  • 95.1 FM WRNS - Country
  • 95.7 FM W239BC - R&B Oldies
  • 97.9 FM WNBB – Classic Country
  • 98.3 FM WLGT - The Bridge – Contemporary Christian
  • 99.5 FM WXNR – Hot FM – Top 40
  • 99.9 FM WTTY-LP - Oldies
  • 101.9 FM WIKS - Kiss FM – Hip Hop & R&B
  • 103.3 FM WMGV - V103.3 - Soft AC
  • 104.5 FM WSTK - Variety
  • 105.1 FM WHAR - Air 1 - Christian Contemporary
  • 105.5 FM WXQR – Pure Rock
  • 107.9 FM WNCT – Classic Hits
  • 106.5 FM WSFL – Classic Rock
  • 107.1 FM WTKF-FM – The Talk Station



Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is a public airport located 3 miles (5 km) south of the central business district of New Bern. The airport offers connecting flights to the Atlanta and Charlotte airports daily.

The New Bern Transport Corporation, a business entity owned by PepsiCo to manage its fleet of delivery trucks and other motor vehicles, is located in White Plains, New York, but was named after the town where Pepsi-Cola was first developed.

The north-south U.S. Route 17 and the east-west U.S. Route 70 pass through New Bern.

As late as 1950, the Atlantic and East Carolina Railway offered passenger train service through New Bern to Morehead City to the east, by the Atlantic coast and to Goldsboro Union Station, where timed connections could be made with the Southern Railway's trains to central and western North Carolina.[25] Service was terminated by the end of 1951.[26]

Notable people

In popular culture


  1. ^ "Board of Aldermen". New Bern, Official Website.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ Swan, Samuel, ed. (1752). A Collection of All the Public Acts of Assembly, of The Province of North-Carolina: Now in Force and Use. Newbern: James Davis. p. 37. OCLC 655409138. OL 24141080M.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): New Bern city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  6. ^ "Population".[dead link]
  7. ^ a b Colonial Records of North Carolina. n.d. pp. 985–986. LCCN 01006807. OCLC 2864657 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ a b "New Bern History". New Bern Visitors. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Bishir, Catherine (2005). North Carolina Architecture. UNC Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780807856246.
  10. ^ Dill, A.T. (1986). "Graffenried, Christoph, Baron Von". Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. University of North Carolina Press.
  11. ^ Powell, 2000, pp. 34-35
  12. ^ Lee, 1923, p. 53
  13. ^ a b c Bishir, Catherine (2005). North Carolina Architecture. UNC Press. p. 84. ISBN 9780807856246.
  14. ^ a b "The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony" Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, provided by National Park Service, at North Carolina Digital History: LEARN NC, accessed November 11, 2010
  15. ^ Click, Patricia C. "The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony" Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony website, 2001, accessed November 9, 2010
  16. ^ Hand, Bill (31 July 2016). Awash in a hurricane’s wrath in 1769, New Bern Sun Journal
  17. ^ Hand, Bill (17 September 2017). Hurricane Ione was a storm to remember, New Bern Sun Journal
  18. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  19. ^ "Station: New Bern Craven CO AP, NC". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  20. ^ "Station: New Bern Craven CO Regional Airport, NC". U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1981-2010). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  21. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  22. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  23. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  24. ^ "New Bern, North Carolina (NC 28560) profile: Population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders".
  25. ^ "Southern Railway, Table 8". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 82 (8). January 1950.
  26. ^ "Atlantic and East Carolina Railway". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 84 (7). December 1951.
  27. ^ Abernathy, Charles Laban. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  28. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  29. ^ Nathan Healy Stats, News, Bio. ESPN. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  30. ^ Julia Beazley (April 6, 2017). "HUTCHINS, WILLIAM J." Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  31. ^ "Donna Hutchinson". Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  32. ^ Bob Perry Stats. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  33. ^ Backwards to Britain, edited by William Butcher (Chambers, 1992)

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 29 June 2022, at 13:34
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