This colonial banknote from circa 1775 was engraved by William Tisdale (1734-1796). A New Bern resident and silversmith, he served in several political offices during the Revolutionary Era and early American republic. In 1779 Tisdale was responsible for engraving the Great Seal of North Carolina. This banknote features the only known image of Tryon Palace rendered in its original lifetime. A close examination of the image suggests that Tisdale was indeed familiar with the palace. It features the familiar Georgian architectural details; the east and west wings carefully mirror each other while the windows in the main hall all align from the first to the second floor. The engraving also shows the enclosed colonnades which run between the east and west wings or Kitchen and Stable offices. The smoke emanating from the east wing chimney also indicates that Tisdale was familiar with the layout of the Palace and the busy schedule of the Kitchen Office.
Maude Moore Latham (1871-1951) was the original chairman of the Tryon Palace Commission and served in that position until her passing in 1951. A native of New Bern, Latham held a life-long dream of seeing the Palace rebuilt. In 1939 she began actively campaigning for the reconstruction by financing the publication of Old Homes and Gardens of North Carolina, which advocated for the restoration of Tryon Palace. In January 1944 she established the Maude Moore Latham Trust Fund, for the restoration of the palace and later gave the remainder of her estate—$1,115,000—to the Tryon Palace Commission in 1951.
Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1896-1993) was one of the original Tryon Palace Commission members from 1945. She served as commission member until 1956 when she became administrator of the Tryon Palace Restoration, a position she held until 1971. Carraway located the original building plans and played a key role in the reconstruction of Tryon Palace. As administrator, she worked tirelessly to ensure that the Palace guides were well versed in the building’s history and decorative arts. Carraway rejoined the Commission in 1976, when she served as a member until her passing in 1993.
May Gordon Latham Kellenberger (1893-1978), the daughter of Maude Moore Latham, was born in New Bern. Kellenberger dedicated her life to preservation and conservation efforts from an early age. Following in her mother’s footsteps she was a strong and continuous advocate for the reconstruction of Tryon Palace. Kellenberger served as vice chair for the Tryon Palace Commission from its founding until 1951 when she became chairman after her mother’s passing. She remained the chairman of the Commission until her own passing in 1978, tirelessly working to support and promote the Palace.
John A. Kellenberger (1885-1973) came to North Carolina for business, and during WWI he worked extensively with the Red Cross in Greensboro where he met his wife May Gordon Latham. Kellenberger strongly supported his wife’s work on behalf of Tryon Palace and joined the Commission in 1951 as the finance officer; in 1953 he took on the additional responsibility of treasurer for the Commission. He held both of these positions until his passing in 1973.
Morley Jeffers Williams (1886-1977) served as archeologist and landscape architect for the Tryon Palace reconstruction. Before coming to New Bern, Williams had worked on several projects at Stratford Hall, Monticello, and Mount Vernon. For his work, he relied heavily on his background in engineering and horticulture, and the training he received at Harvard University in landscape architecture and city planning. As with many of his projects, he worked with his wife Nathalia Uhlman, a MIT-trained architect. Williams’ archeological investigations revealed few details about Tryon Palace’s original gardens, which forced him to base his designs on information discovered at other historic sites and common 18th-century garden plans.
Gregor Norman-Wilcox (1905-1969) was hired in 1957 as the Palace’s first curator to oversee the furnishing plan. A graduate of the Cleveland School of Art, Norman-Wilcox worked briefly as an interior designer before joining the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There he became curator of decorative arts, and took sabbaticals for special projects like furnishing Tryon Palace. On these special projects he frequently worked with his wife Grace A. Steen, a specialist in Oriental art.
In this aerial photograph of the George Street neighborhood taken Friday August 13, 1954, many of the area’s original features that were either demolished or moved during the reconstruction can still be seen. Along the Trent River the George Street Bridge exits over the water, and most of the original houses and trees are still standing.
The Esso Station was located at the southeast corner of George and South Front streets. It was one of several filling and service stations that served the South Front Street businesses and customers using the George Street Bridge. This photograph was taken c. 1958, before the Esso Station was demolished as part of the Tryon Palace reconstruction.
There were several small markets located in the George Street area, which were supplied by shipping on the Trent River. Parrott’s Market, located at the northwest corner of George and South Front streets, was one of those markets. The building was demolished as a part of the Tryon Palace reconstruction.
This photograph shows the east side of the 200 block of George Street. Many of the buildings in the area were rented, making it difficult to discover who resided in the homes; however property deeds reveal who owned the land and buildings. Building 2 was owned by Eveline Land. Buildings 3 and 4 were owned by Jennie Coward, and Building 5 was owned by Nena Hamilton. Nena Hamilton owned several properties in the George Street area.
This photograph shows the west side of the 200 block of George Street. Building 1 was owned by Nena Hamilton. Building 2 was owned by Mamie Broadstreet. Building 3 was occupied by Mrs. W.J.B. Burrus. Building 4 was owned by W.H. and Ida Winfield. Building 5 was owned by Katie B. Gaskins. Building 6 was occupied by Mr. R. Nassef. Building 7 is the McKinley-David-Duffy House.
Object photographs by Cole Dittmer
Historic images from the Tryon Palace Collection.