Deconstructing Tryon Palace : exploring the colonial revival in twentieth century New Bern, North Carolina

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jeanne L. Barnes (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
William Moore

Abstract: This thesis examines Tryon Palace, the reconstructed colonial governor’s mansion of North Carolina. Located in New Bern, the Palace was originally designed and constructed from 1767-1770 by John Hawks for Royal Governor William Tryon. In 1798, the Palace burned after a fire accidentally started in the basement. Homes, businesses, and a highway were built on the original site of the Palace. A movement to reconstruct the Palace began in the 1930s, but did not gain real strength until the 1940s when Maude Moore Latham, a Greensboro resident and native of New Bern, established a trust fund for the reconstruction of the Palace. Based on original plans of the Palace found in New York and England, the reconstructed Palace opened to the public in 1959. Today, Tryon Palace still operates as a historic house museum. This thesis will trace the history of the original and reconstructed Tryon Palace, examine the motives for the reconstruction in the 1940s and 1950s, discuss the impact of the Colonial Revival movement on New Bern and the restoration, and explain the significance of Tryon Palace for North Carolina. This thesis draws upon a variety of sources to suggest new perspectives on Tryon Palace. By examining the roots and context of the founding of the Palace, we will be better able to understand the messages conveyed at the Palace. This thesis argues that the reconstruction of Tryon Palace in the 1950s connected the people of New Bern and North Carolina to their colonial past while creating a shared identity that revolved around idealized notions of history that were typical of the Colonial Revival of the twentieth century.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Historic sites--Conservation and restoration--North Carolina, Tryon Palace (New Bern, N.C.)--History
Tryon Palace (New Bern, N.C.) -- History
Historic sites -- Conservation and restoration -- North Carolina

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