Trail of Flames
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Trail of Flames Tour

Good Shepherd Hospital - 603 West Street

- The fire of 1922 demonstrated the need for a hospital to treat the black population of New Bern. The building of Good Shepard Hospital, more than 15 years after the fire, was a direct result of that tragedy. The 58 bed facility provided much needed medical care for the black community. Good Shepard, orignially built by the Episcopal Dioceses, is now a nursing home.

The Charlotte S. Rhone Cultural Center - 608 West Street

- Originally constructed as West Street Colored Library in 1936, the cultural center is now used for community cultural events. It is named in honor of Charlotte S. Rhone who was among the first African American women to be registered as a nurse in North Carolina and the first black social worker in Craven County.

West Street School - 700 West St.

- West Street, rich in the history of education, survived the fire of 1922, however it was central to the recovery efforts, serving as a distribution center, kitchen, and housing center for homeless victims. There were thousands of people who received daily meals at the West Street location, requiring a tremendous effort utilizing countless volunteers. In addition, the school was also used for services for St. Peter’s A.M.E. Zion Church.

First Missionary Baptist Church - 819 Cypress St.

- This church, which endured several fires, has undergone extensive repairs and restoration over the years. While the fire burned to the front doors, the building was spared. Victims were sheltered in the basement. The building was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. 

The Greenwood Cemetery - Corner Cypress & Bern Streets 

- Like Cedar Grove, Greenwood Cemetery became an overnight home for many residents fleeing the fire. People camped out among the tombstones with whatever they’d been able to save of their possessions. The walls of the cemetery were lined with furniture. Among those buried in Greenwood are Civil War veterans and James Edward O’Hara, a Republican Congressman. 

Ebenezer Presbyterian Church - 720 Bern St.

- Founded in 1878, Ebenezer Presbyterian is an outgrowth of the First Presbyterian Church distinguished as one of the oldest black congregations in eastern NC. The fire destroyed the sanctuary and manse sacrificing all records and furnishings. A new church rose within a year due to the dedication of its members. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its history and unique structure.

Cedar Street Recreation - 800 Cedar St.

- The Recreation Center, which was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in August, 2003, was built to serve the Dryborough district, which was mostly destroyed in the Great Fire. A large number of African Americans rebuilt the area with both homes and businesses and erected Cedar Street as a recreation center for African American youths.

Cedar Grove Cemetery - Queen and George Streets

- The Cemetery established in 1798 by the Episcopal Church, became a haven of safety for many fire victims who spent the first night after the fire sleeping there. Many black families camped out among the tombstones with whatever they had been able to save of their possessions which included several prized pianos. Even so, Cedar Grove was not able to halt the advance of the fire. Numerous cedar trees were burned along with wooden mausoleums and caskets leaving their remains in public view.  

St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion - 617 Queen St.

- St. Peter’s is the granddaddy of black churches in New Bern and the patriarch of A.M.E. Zion churches in the South. Its founder, James Walker Hood was an influential leader of the black community in North Carolina and a bishop within the A.M.E. denomination. The original St. Peter’s building was completely destroyed by the fire as it hosted the fifty-nine sessions of the NC Conference. The bishop, ministers, delegates and parishioners had to flee for their safety. Until the church was rebuilt, the West Street School auditorium was used for worship services.

Cyprian’s Church - 604 Johnson St.

- The fire did not seriously damage St. Cyprian’s, however, it was converted into a hospital for the African American community. Doctors tended to patients in the basement as well as upstairs and downstairs. The first African-American baby born after the fire was born here. He was named St. Cyprian’s Emergency Dillihunt. After the fire, the rector of St. Cyprian’s, Rev. R.I. Johnson began an effort to provide medical care for blacks in New Bern which led to the financing and construction of Good Shephard Hospital.

The Rhone Hotel - 512 Queen St.

- The historic Rhone Hotel was built in 1923 and owned by three sisters: Henrietta, Amy and Charlotte Rhone. It was used as lodging for blacks who were not welcomed in white hotels. At that time, there were no accommodations for black people. There were a lot of north-south travelers and they needed someplace to stay. Charlotte Rhone was the first black woman registered as a nurse in North Carolina. 

Contributions to help in this special project can be sent to Uptown Business & Professional Association (UB&PA), PO Box 14182, New Bern, NC 28561.

Please contact the UB&PA at 252-288-5716 to arrange a Tour of the Trail of Flames!
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