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New Bern




& Interesting Things To See

Another Partners in Progress project by the Kinston-Lenoir County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Pride of Kinston. 327 North Queen Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501

Pride of Kinston, Inc. Published by




Raleigh Greensboro





Hampton Norfolk Virginia Beach



owntown Kinston is rich in museum qualities with numerous places devoted to the “care, study and display of objects of lasting interest…” The city’s museums – indoor and open air—create an exciting classroom for the curious student of today, young and old, visitor and resident alike, seeking to learn about the past, present and future.



Ne u s eR i

r ve

The places “devoted to the care, study and display…” touch on the full span of Kinston’s recorded history…English captains Arthur Barlowe and Phillip Armadas wrote about the “goodly river called Neuse” in the “country Neusiok” (present-day Lenoir County) in an 1585 report to Sir Walter Raleigh, reporting on what they found after landing on the North Carolina coast July 2, 1584 in their exploratory trip to the New World.


Durham 85


Newport News


AppomatoxRiver Richmond





Kinston, North Carolina More than a natural boundary, the Neuse River has been the one constant eyewitness to Kinston’s history. Our river has seen it all: war and peace, poverty and prosperity, fires and floods, people going and coming. A downtown park named for early civic leader Tiffany West hugs the eastern bank of the Neuse overlooking the 55-acre Neuseway Nature Center and Planetarium on the other side.




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The Neuse and its parks represent just the beginning of this tour. A stroll through MUSEUM ROW takes one to the CSS Neuse II on Herritage Street, to the Civil War Museum, the Cultural Heritage Museum, the Firemen’s Museum, all on Queen Street; then to Harmony Hall, built in 1772, on King Street; and then to three historic cemeteries bordered by Shine, South, Lincoln and Davis Streets containing the earthly remains of most of Kinston’s early civic and political leaders and wartime heroes.


You are 20 invited to visit Kinston SavannahRiver past and present along our Museum Row! SaludaRiver


26 Greenville


Charlotte 26

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Winston-Salem YadkinRiver


— Webster’s Dictionary 81

An institution devoted to the procurement, care, study and display of objects of lasting interest or value.”


¯ m\ n : Mu-se-um \myu-'ze-


66 Arlington Alexandria



1. Neuseway Nature Center & Planetarium, Health & Science Museum and Campground 2. CSS Neuse II 3. Civil War Museum 4. Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum 5. Harmony Hall 6. Cultural Heritage Museum 7. Colonial Cemetery 8. Cedar Grove, Hebrew & Maplewood Cemeteries



Neuseway Nature Center & Planetarium, Health & Science Museum and Campground Location: Riverbank Road & Caswell Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: Located on 55 acres along the Neuse River, this beautiful nature-based park is an extraordinary indoor-outdoor classroom that proves learning can be fun. It offers eco-tourism opportunities for the entire family: camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, picnicing, canoeing and a 16 x 24 foot rock climbing wall. Campground is open 24/7. For more information call 252-939-3367 regarding the campground and its education and training center which is available for rent. www.neusewaypark. com This same campus includes: • Neuseway Planetarium, a 52-seat theater with a giant 24 foot dome onto which is projected the sky: sun, moon, stars, planets. For more information call 252-939-3302. • Lenoir Memorial Hospital Health & Science Museum, a 5,000 square foot museum featuring hands-on health and science exhibitions and programs. For more information call 252-939-3302. • Exchange Nature Center contains numerous exhibitions of plants and animals indigenous to North Carolina, including live poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, flying squirrels, talking birds, bears, bobcats, turtle tanks and aquariums depicting life along the Neuse River. For more information call 252-939-3367. • Hours: Open all year Tuesdays through Saturdays 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; Sundays 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Harmony Hall Location: 109 East King Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: Harmony Hall, the only surviving 18th century building remaining in Kinston, is owned and managed by the Lenoir County Historical Association. It was built in 1772 by merchant-soldier-politician Capt. Jesse Cobb and his wife Elizabeth Herritage Cobb, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1776, Capt. Cobb served with George Washington and the Continental Army in the New York and New Jersey campaigns and endured the bitter winter at Valley Forge with the fabled general. • With Cobb’s concurrence and at the direction of North Carolina’s first elected governor Richard Caswell, another Lenoir County resident, Harmony Hall served as North Carolina’s de facto state capital 1777-1781 in the first stages of the war to win freedom from British rule. Caswell was Cobb’s close friend and brother-in-law. • Meetings of the State’s War Board and other official gatherings were held at Harmony Hall during that period. Over the years, the home was enlarged twice, and served as a war-time hospital, church, school, boarding house, library and meeting place for the Kinston Women’s Club. It was deeded to the historical organization in 1975 and lovingly restored over the next nine years. The history of this home is indelibly linked to Kinston and North Carolina’s history. An early 20th century one-room schoolhouse and a smokehouse are also located on the site. • In addition to publishing local and regional histories, and producing historical programs, Harmony Hall hosts Spring beach parties, July 4th ceremonies to induct new US citizens, and a chamber music series. • Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Group appointments and rentals also available. • For more information call 252-522-0421. Email:

CSS Neuse II Location: Herritage & Gordon Streets Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: An exact replica of the 158-foot long CSS Neuse is being constructed in downtown Kinston by the CSS Neuse Foundation and a group of volunteers led by professional Shipwright Alton Stapleford. It is the only one in existence. Open for tours • Hours: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Mondays through Fridays. Weekends by appointment. • For more information call 252-523-6742.

Civil War Museum CSS Neuse State Historic Site Location: 100 North Queen Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: Exhibitions highlighting artifacts taken from the CSS Neuse, an ironclad ramming vessel commissioned by the Confederate Navy during the Civil War and completed in 1864, fills an exhibition hall at this site. Personal effects of the sailors, artillery projectiles, the ship’s bell and stove and every day items such as tools and cookware comprise the show. The exhibition also features text and graphic panels that tell the history of the ship from its construction to its recovery from the bottom of the Neuse in 1963. The CSS Neuse was torched by its Confederate masters to prevent capture by Union forces in the Kinston Battle of 1865. The remains of the original CSS Neuse are on display at the CSS Neuse State Historic Site & Governor Richard Caswell Memorial located at 2612 West Vernon Avenue in Kinston. • The downtown exhibition is open Thursdays 9:00 am 3:00 pm. Otherwise by appointment. For more information about the downtown Civil War Museum and the CSS Neuse State Historic Site, call 252-522-2091.

Cultural Heritage Museum Location: 242 South Queen Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: The Cultural Heritage Museum and its advocate, the Black Heritage Society, views the American Civil War from the perspective of 200,000 Black soldiers and their 7,000 white officers who fought in the war between the states 1861-1865. Emphasis is given to the US Colored Troops from North Carolina. The museum, in its programs and special exhibitions, celebrates the contributions of Black military veterans from Eastern North Carolina; pays tributes to Black athletes such as baseball great Carl Long and other local heroes; and serves to galvanize interest in Africa and Black History in general. • A new institution, the Cultural Heritage Museum Project (CHMP) is raising funds to renovate its existing facility, to build a 10,000 square foot exhibition center and lecture hall, to organize a collection of original artifacts, and to create an endowment to fund operations. • Hours: Thursdays from 12:00 noon - 4:30 pm. Otherwise the museum is open for special programs and seminars. • For more information call 252-523-1873.

Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum “The Firemen’s Museum” Location: 118 South Queen Street Kinston, North Carolina 28501 Description: You might call the firemen’s museum a “boutique museum.” Officially called the Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum, the facility portrays fire fighting in Kinston since the late 1800’s. The building itself emerged from the ashes of a disastrous 1895 fire which destroyed most of downtown. It is the oldest brick building in Kinston and its exhibitions depict that historic inferno. Dramatic photographic exhibitions capture the destruction of other major downtown fires as well. • One of the features of the Firemen’s Museum is a 1922 American LaFrance Pumper which once protected Kinstonians from fire. A collection of alarm systems, helmets, nozzles, ladders, fire extinguishers and other memorabilia span a century of fire fighting techniques. • A dedicated group of private citizens who helped save the structure from demolition 1986-87 staff the museum. • Hours: Year round Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Individual and group tours are welcome. • For more information call 252-527-1566.

Four Historic Cemeteries The Colonial Cemetery Cedar Grove Cemetery Hebrew Cemetery Maplewood Cemetery Description: The tombstones in Kinston’s four oldest cemeteries tell stories of faith and joy, pain and suffering, youth and old age, war and disease, wealth and poverty, racial divide and architectural grace. The people whose lives are condensed into three or four lines carved into stone represent not only their families but also their times….and much of Kinston’s history. As memorials to the dead, Kinston’s burying grounds are sacred reminders of the human spirit. The Colonial Cemetery: Located on Shine Street between Herritage and Queen Streets, this is the oldest of the three. According to a feature in the 1957 edition of the Kinston Free Press, the earliest readable tombstone dates back to 1818, erected for “Susannah, wife of Alexander Kilpatrick, who departed this life January 12, 1818, aged 43 years, 11 months and 21 days.” The Colonial Cemetery is also the family graveyard for the Peebles family which owned Harmony Hall from 1845 until 1925. The gravestones illustrate how fragile life could be in those days: John and Harriette Peebles had nine children buried all in a row. One had lived for four years. One lived for one year, four months. Another lived for 11 months. Two lived for nine months, another for 2 and a half months; yet another for 22 days, one for 10 days and another for 8 days. Cedar Grove, Hebrew and Maplewood Cemeteries: These three cemeteries bounded by Shine, Davis, Lincoln and South Streets are shrouded in mysteries. One majestic marker celebrates 44 unknown Confederate soldiers. A more modest headstone signifies the final resting place for an unknown Union soldier whose body was found after the Battle of 1865. A Kinston city map of 1882 identifies an area as the African Cemetery for what is now Cedar Grove. The Kinston Cemetery was reserved for white people… and a fence kept the races separated in death just like in life. The divisive fence was removed some years ago. Stories abound how, during the Great Depression years when they could not afford the opening and closing fees for grave diggers, families would slip into the cemetery at night to bury their kin. • The Lenoir County Historical Association, with the help of a private citizens group, has undertaken a program of preservation of Kinston’s historic burying grounds. A survey to identify and publish the names of people buried in the cemeteries is being conducted. Landscaping plans, walking tours and other special programs and conservation efforts are to be undertaken. • Hours: Sun up to sun down year round. • For more information call 252-522-0421. •


e 1. Neuseway Nature Center & Planetarium, Health & Science Museum and Campground Published by Arlington Alexandria ShenandoahRiver...

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