2022 US Trip – Day 11 (North Carolina Museum of History – An Old Brick)

I do like an old brick with some heritage to it. This one comes from the New Bern structure known as “Tryon’s Palace”, important because the building was used as the Colony of North Carolina’s first permanent Capitol, as well as being used as a home for the royal governor.

The building takes it name as the Governor of North Carolina between 1765 and 1771 was William Tryon and he then went off to become the Governor of New York between 1771 and 1777 after he managed to annoy most of the local residents. Just to show that nothing ever really changes, there was a lot of controversy about the construction of the building as it was so opulent that taxes rose sharply to fund it. It took three years to construct, between 1767 and 1770, meaning that Tryon was only able to live in it for one year before he was replaced by Governor Josiah Martin. Martin enjoyed living there until 1775 until it was taken from him during the American War of Independence and although it was used for a few meetings, it was soon replaced by a new Capitol building in Raleigh. But more on that later as I went to see that.

The building was used for a few purposes after political activity moved to Raleigh, including as a school, a Masonic lodge and a boarding house. It was damaged in a fire in 1798 which destroyed nearly all of the buildings in the complex. In the 1950s, it was decided to rebuild the Palace, which was slightly problematic as they had to move a road, knock down 50 private dwellings and reconstruct a bridge. I’m not entirely sure whether that was worth it, but anyway, it is possible to visit the Palace now, although it’s nearly all a reconstruction.

Of the original building, only the Stable Office remains. Well, and also this brick, a memory of an opulent and mostly unnecessary British structure that became very briefly a centre for political activity and then went up in flames before falling down. We’ve just had a Prime Minister like that, but I mustn’t get distracted by politics.