Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Vanished New Bern, No.16

By John B. Green III

Street's Ferry

Street's Ferry, from the south shore of the Neuse, photo ca. 1950.
Today's Vanished New Bern is a place and a mode of transportation rather than a building.  For much of New Bern's history the Neuse River was considered to be too wide to be easily bridged.  As a result a number of ferries operated throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to convey people and goods across the river.

Street's Ferry underway and heading toward the north shore landing and the ferry keeper's house, photo ca. 1950.
These ferries were privately operated and were usually known by the names of those who owned or originated the service.  Starting at New Bern and going upstream, the prominent Neuse River ferries of the late 19th century were Fowler's Ferry, Pettiford's Ferry, Nelson's Ferry, and Street's Ferry.  All except Street's were made obsolete by the building of the first Neuse River bridge at New Bern between 1898 and 1899.

Street's Ferry, photo ca. 1920.
Street's Ferry was located approximately eight and half miles up-stream from New Bern where the Weyerhauser plant is now located.  A ferry had existed at that location since the 18th century and had gone by a number of names culminating in Street's for the Street family which operated the ferry in the mid-19th century.  The ferry passed into county ownership and operation in the early 20th century before becoming a state-operated service.  Street's Ferry ended its many years of service in 1962 when it was finally replaced by a bridge.

Ferry keeper James Wiggins at Street's Ferry, 1941. From the 20 December 1941 issue of The State.