Great Fire woman

the great fire of 1922
100 year commemoration

In 1922, the face of New Bern was forever changed. Over three thousand people were displaced in a fire that raged through the African American community, decimating over a thousand structures.

The fire started at the Rowland Lumber Company on the banks of the Neuse River; within minutes, the largest lumber mill in the state of North Carolina was consumed. A second fire sparked a few hours later, converging with the first fire, sealing the fate of any wooden clapboard and shingle-roofed homes. Click HERE to read more about this tragic event and its impact on New Bern.

On December 1-4, New Bern community partners will be commemorating
the Great Fire of 1922 with a series of events.

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; click here for reservations.  
  • 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. Click here for reservations.
  • 7pm - Presentation "Two Small Sparks, One Great Fire" by Carol Becton at Cullman Performance Hall, NC History Center.* Reservations required.  Click here or 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.

*Requires advance reservation

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