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History Buffs 2017-07-01T00:15:32+00:00

Historic

Goldsboro-Wayne County is a vital part of our American history. Our rich history is laden with stories of Tuscarora Indians, steam boats, Revolutionary skirmishes, and Civil War battles. Fun fact: the world’s longest railroad once ran through our county. We’re proud to be the home of the 4th Fighter Wing—one of the nation’s oldest fighter pilot communities housed by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base—recognized as the best air force base in the world!

Civil War History

Goldsboro was an important railroad junction during the Civil War. Confederate troops were stationed here to guard the city and report for duty by rail. Hospitals were established and over 800 Confederate soldiers were buried in a mass grave at Willowdale Cemetery. Breastworks were built to protect the city. Remains are still visible along Claiborne Street.

For more information on Civil War Trails, visit www.civilwartrails.org.

Governor Charles B. Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site

Living history demonstrations thrive on audience participation at the 1840’s boyhood home of North Carolina’s “Educational Governor.” The site includes a visitors’ center, a mid-nineteenth century homestead, and an 1893 one-room schoolhouse.

  • Guided tours & living history demonstrations
  • Working farm
  • Farm animals
  • Picnic area & restrooms
  • Pets allowed outside only with leash; service animals permitted in building
  • Visitors Center
  • Gift shop/souvenirs available
  • Motorcoach parking

264 Governor Aycock Rd., Fremont, NC 27830
(919) 242-5581
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Herman Park Center

Historical Park located in our beautiful downtown. Check out our website for all events and amenities you can enjoy when spending a day outdoors!

1101 Park Ave

Goldsboro, NC 27530

(919) 739-7480
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Historic Markers

  • Charles B. Aycock: Governor, 1901-1905. Birthplace stands 2/3 miles east. US 117 south of Fremont.
  • Waynesborough: First seat of Wayne County. Incorporated 1787. US 117 bypass in Goldsboro.
  • Sherman’s March: Sherman’s army, on its march from Savannah, entered Goldsboro on March 21, 1865. NC 581 (West Ash Street) in Goldsboro.
  • North Carolina Railroad: Built by the state, 1851-56. Eastern terminus a few miles north. NC 581 (West Ash Street) in Goldsboro.
  • Curtis H. Brogden: Governor, 1874-77; Home is two miles northwest on US 13 south of Goldsboro.
  • Foster’s Raid: Union troops led by General J.G. Foster attacked Goldsboro, December 17, 1862. NC 581 (West Ash Street) in Goldsboro.
  • Wm. T. Dortch: Confederate Senator. US 70 Business (Ash Street) and William Street in Goldsboro.
  • Dobbs County Court House: Formed in 1758 and named for Gov. Arthur Dobbs. 3 miles south. US 70 at SR 1719 (Best Station Road) east of Walnut Creek.
  • Seymour Johnson Air Force Base: Field used, 1942-46, for flight training by Army Air Forces; reopened in 1956. Berkeley Boulevard at Elm Street in Goldsboro.
  • Torhunta: Large Indian farming community. Destroyed in 1712. US 13 at SR 1572 (Saulston Road) 3 miles northeast of Goldsboro.
  • University of Mount Olive: Original Free Will Baptist. US 117 Bypass in Mount Olive.
  • Battle of Whitehall: On December 15-16, 1862 Union troops led by Gen. J.G. Foster damaged the Confederate Ram “Neuse.” NC 55 at Main Street in Seven Springs.
  • North Carolina Press Association: Organized May 14, 1873. J.A. Engelhard elected first president at meeting held near this spot. Walnut Street in Goldsboro.
  • Kenneth C. Royall: Last Secretary of War and first secretary of the Army, 1947-49. Home was here. NC 581 (West Ash Street) in Goldsboro.
  • Odd Fellows Home: Orphanage and school opened in 1892. The original 20-acre tract is now a city park. US 70 Business (East Ash Street) at Herman Street in Goldsboro.
  • Cherry Hospital: Opened by the state in 1880 for black citizens with mental illness. US Hwy 581 at SR 201 (Stevens Mill Road) just west of Goldsboro.
  • General Baptist State Convention: Statewide association of black Baptists organized October 18, 1867 at First African Baptist Church, then located .2 mile west. US Hwy 177 Business (George Street) at Pine Street in Goldsboro.
  • Gertrude Weil: 1879-1971; Advocate for extending voting rights to women, 1920; Home was here. 200 West Chestnut Street, Goldsboro.

National Register Of Historic Places

  • Charles B. Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site (Fremont vicinity) 02/26/70
  • Barnes-Hooks Farms (Fremont vicinity) 09/01/95
  • Eureka United Methodist Church (Eureka) 08/26/82
  • First Presbyterian Church (Christian Science Church, Goldsboro) 05/29/79
  • L.D. Giddens and Son Jewelry Store (Goldsboro) 03/19/79
  • Goldsboro Union Station (Goldsboro) 04/13/77
  • Harry Fitzhugh Lee House (Goldsboro) 03/01/84
  • Former Mount Olive High School (Mount Olive) 10/22/98
  • Mount Olive Historic District (Mount Olive) 05/27/99
  • Odd Fellows Lodge (Goldsboro) 08/03/78
  • Perry-Cherry House (Mount Olive) 03/13/80
  • Southerland-Burnette House (Mount Olive) 02/08/88
  • Former United States Post Office (Mount Olive) 06/02/95
  • Soloman and Henry Weil Houses (Goldsboro) 12/22/76

Old Waynesborough Historical Village

Our park is located on the site of the former town of Waynesborough, the original seat of Wayne County from 1787 until 1847. The park consists of a village featuring nine historic buildings brought from across the county. These buildings, including a school, lawyer’s office, and Quaker meeting house, date from the 1860’s to the 1920’s. In addition to the village we have over 150 acres along the Neuse and Little Rivers with over four miles of walking trails through open spaces, forest, and cypress swamp.

US-117 Alt, Goldsboro, NC 27530
(919) 731-1653
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Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB)

Home of the 4th Fighter Wing, which flies the F-15E Strike Eagle jet, and the 916th Air Refueling Wing, which flies the KC-135R Stratotanker, the Base has an intricate history within and around Goldsboro and Wayne County. First activated in 1942, the installation was named in honor of U.S. Navy Lt. Seymour A. Johnson, a Goldsboro native, who was killed in March 1941. By 1944, the primary mission of the base was to train P-47 Thunderbolt pilots.

Following World War II, the base was inactivated. In 1954, Goldsboro Mayor, Scott B. Berkely Sr., and a group of business leaders successfully lobbied to have the base reopened. A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted in 1955, Seymour Johnson was reactivated in April 1956 and officially reopened on July 8. Two years later, the storied 4th Fighter Group, then known as the 4th Fighter Day Wing, arrived.

In 2001, former Department of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld named SJAFB the winner of the 2001 Commander-In-Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence. The award recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations. As one of five recipients of this award, SJAFB was selected for its exemplary support of the Department of Defense mission and received $1.1 million in base improvements.

Base tours for the public are offered monthly through the Goldsboro Wayne County Travel & Tourism office. For more information, call (919) 734-7922.

The Battle Of Goldsborough Bridge: Foster’s Raid

In December 1862, Union General John Foster marched from New Bern with an army of 12,000 men. The intent was to interrupt the Confederate supply chain by destroying the railroad bridge which crossed the Neuse River, three miles south of Goldsborough. On December 17, Union troops attacked and pushed back a small force of 2,000 Confederates, then burned the bridge and destroyed miles of railroad tracks. That afternoon Confederate forces attacked the rear of Foster’s army as it was leaving the field. The Confederates suffered over 150 casualties and Union losses were under 100. Re-enactments of the battle are held on the site every two years.

Today walking trails surround the cultivated field which Confederate troops crossed during their bloody counterattack against the Union rear guard. These trails take visitors to nine additional historical markers where specific events of the battle are detailed. Two sets of well-preserved earthworks may be viewed, as well as the site of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Bridge, the objective of the Union army.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/GoldsboroughBridgeBattlefield or http://www.goldsboroughbridge.org

The Paramount Theatre

Originally built in 1882 and reconstructed in 2008, this beautiful landmark is Historic Downtown Goldsboro’s headquarters for the performing arts. In addition to an increasing amount of events produced by local organizations, the Paramount Theatre now presents an annual Performing Arts Series featuring nationally and internationally known artists. Visit the website for a complete listing of performances.

139 S. Center St., Goldsboro, NC 27530 | (919) 583-8432
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The Union Occupation Of Goldsborough

In 1865, Goldsborough was Union General Sherman’s destination on his march through the Carolinas. Three Union armies converged on Goldsborough and captured the city in March. Union hospitals were established, and the city was occupied for three weeks by over 100,000 Union soldiers.