Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vanished New Bern, No. 14

a series of views of lost area buildings

By John B. Green III

The Glenburnie Pavilion

Glenburnie Pavilion, photo ca. 1913.
The short-lived Glenburnie Pavilion, also known as the Glenburnie Casino, was constructed between August and October 1913.  The structure was intended to be the centerpiece of Glenburnie Park which was owned by the Eastern Carolina Fair Association.  The park had been developed adjacent to the fair grounds and occupied the same area as the present city-owned Glenburnie Park as well as the land presently covered by the city's waste treatment plant.  The pavilion was also intended to attract buyers for lots in the nearby subdivision which was being laid out at the time.

The pavilion was described as being sited on a prominent hill overlooking the Neuse River with excellent views in all directions.  The building had three stories with the first floor being occupied by a skating rink, the second floor serving as a dance hall and promenade, and the third floor housing a restroom and music room.  The building would be lit in the evenings by electric lights and cooled in the summer by electric fans.  The large, nearby wharf could easily accommodate vessels bringing visitors from New Bern.

For all its amenities and the natural beauty of the site, the pavilion lasted a scant fifteen years before it was destroyed by fire late on the evening of May 4, 1928.  The fire, of undetermined origin and beginning around midnight, leveled the structure which was described the next day as long-disused and much deteriorated.

The building, which long since lost its grandeur, was property of the city of New Bern, but had not been used in several years - since the last efforts to establish the place as the city's park.  In these years it had depreciated until it was but a shadow of the original handsome structure. (Morning New Bernian, 5 May 1928, 1:6)

The next day's paper brought the news that, following the destruction of the pavilion, the wharf had also been set ablaze and destroyed.  Thus ended, at least for a time, Glenburnie's attraction for recreation-seeking New Bernians.

Glenburnie Park wharf, photo ca. 1910.