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It's the 100th anniversary of the Great New Bern Fire

Great Fire New Bern Historical Society.jpg
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New Bern Historical Society
According to the New Bern Historical Society, the fire forever changed the face of the city; more than 3,000 people were displaced in the fire that burned through the African American community, destroying more than 1,000 buildings and destroying an area that covered 40 blocks.

Thursday is the 100th anniversary of the Great Fire of 1922 in New Bern.

According to the New Bern Historical Society, the fire forever changed the face of the city; more than 3,000 people were displaced in the fire that burned through the African American community, destroying more than 1,000 buildings and destroying an area that covered 40 blocks.

The fire started at the Rowland Lumber Company on the banks of the Neuse River, and within minutes, the largest lumber mill in North Carolina was destroyed. A second fire sparked a few hours later, converging with the first fire.

Historians say emergency services were short staffed because many of New Bern’s firefighters were out of town, attending the Eastern Carolina Football Championship between New Bern and Sanford.

New Bern community partners will be commemorating the Great Fire of 1922 with a series of events through the weekend any beyond.

Schedule of Events:

All events free but those with * require advance registration.

Thursday, December 1:

  • 7pm - Great Fire Commemoration Vigil (outdoors). Location is on the corner of Broad and Rountree. Dress for weather and bring a flashlight.

Friday, December 2:

  • 9am to noon - Fire of ’22 Exhibit at New Bern Firemen’s Museum open for hourly tours.* Free but reservation required.
  • 2pm - Presentation "Two Small Sparks, One Great Fire" by Carol Becton at St. Peter’s AME Zion Church.

Saturday, December 3:

  • Noon to 3pm - Fire of ’22 Exhibit at New Bern Firemen's Museum open for hourly tours.* Free, but reservation required.
  • 7pm - Presentation "Two Small Sparks, One Great Fire" by Carol Becton at Cullman Performance Hall, NC History Center.* Reservations required. Call 252.638.8558 to reserve your seat.

Sunday, December 4:

  • 10am - Commemorative Service at St. Peter’s AME Zion Church, led by Bishop Kenneth Monroe
  • 5pm - Closing Candlelight Vesper Service at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church

Daily through January 2023 – Tryon Palace exhibit, The Great Fire of New Bern: Images on its 100th Anniversary, in the Cannon Gallery at the North Carolina History Center. Free and open to the public.