Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vanished New Bern, No. 7

a series of views of lost area buildings

By John B. Green III

Ebenezer Presbyterian Church

Engraving from L.C. Vass, History of the Presbyterian Church in New Bern, N.C., 1886
This unusual Carpenter Gothic-style church, with its gable-roofed spire, once stood on the west side of Pasteur Street opposite the Atlantic and North Carolina depot and rail yard.  It was constructed in 1880 for the recently formed Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.  This African-American congregation was organized in 1878 and initially was composed of former members of First Presbyterian Church.  The church was constructed by African-American builder and church member William O. Randolph.  The corner stone of the church was laid with great ceremony on May 13, 1880 and the church was dedicated on November 7, 1880.  The unusual spire was not completed until 1884.  The last detail was the installation of a bell donated by Mrs. Julia P. Wickes of Poughkeepsie, New York, which bore the inscription "John Witear Fairfield, Fecit, 1770."  This spire was blown down and the bell broken during a strong storm on February 16, 1903.  The tower was rebuilt  by November of that year.  Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, along with its manse, was destroyed in New Bern's Great Fire of 1922.  It was replaced in 1924 by a new brick church erected on the southeast corner of Cedar and Bern streets.