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Tryon Palace [NC]

The grounds of this site include several historic structures, including the Tryon Palace, the George W. Dixon House, the Stanly House, the Robert Hay House, and the New Bern Academy. Tryon Palace was originally built between 1767 and 1770, as the first permanent capitol of the Colony of North Carolina and a home for the Royal Governor and his family. Josiah Martin, the second royal governor to live in the Palace, fled in May of 1775 at the beginning of the American Revolution. Patriots made the Palace their capitol and the first sessions of the General Assembly met there to begin designing a free and independent state. Four state governors used the Palace: Richard Caswell, Abner Nash, Alexander Martin, and Richard Dobbs Spaight. The George W. Dixon House was built in the early 1830s for George W. Dixon, a merchant tailor and one-time mayor of the city of New Bern. The Stanly House was built in the early 1780s for John Wright Stanly, a prominent New Bern citizen. John Hawks, the architect who designed Tryon Palace, may have designed the Stanly House as well. Built of hand-hewn longleaf pine, the Stanly House remains one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the South. The Robert Hay House, built in the first decade of the 19th century, is modest by comparison to other homes on the Palace complex. Robert Hay, a Scottish immigrant and wagon maker, bought this Federal-style wood frame townhouse in 1816, the same year he married Nancy Carney, and resided there until his death in 1850, at the age of 96. Today, it functions as a "living history" museum. Visitors get a firsthand feel for life in 1835 by talking with character interpreters who portray Hay household members and neighbors, and by hands-on experiences with the reproduction furnishings of this "Please Touch" museum. The New Bern Academy was the first school in North Carolina to be established by law; the legislative assembly incorporated it in 1766. Fire destroyed the original building in 1795. The present building was constructed between 1806 and 1809, and served as a school until 1971, making it one of the oldest continuously used school buildings in America. Today, it serves as a museum of local history.

The sites offer a short video, exhibits, tours, demonstrations, performances, and educational and recreational events (including living history events).