Major archaeological projects in the county have included several studies of the cemeteries and habitation areas of the Black Freedmen's community of James City, plus projects on and around the grounds of Tryon Palace. Maritime archaeology work by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office includes work on remains of the Civil War vessel Underwriter, and a student field school for East Carolina University students in New Bern Harbor in 1981. Three hundred prehistoric and historic archaeological sites are recorded in the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office's statewide inventory.
Craven County was surveyed with Historic Preservation Office guidance in the early 1980s, resulting in the publication of The Historic Architecture of New Bern and Craven County, North Carolina. In 1992 to 1993, New Bern's historic African-American buildings were comprehensively surveyed.
A total of $486,000 in state appropriations and $156,944 in federal preservation grants, administered by the Historic Preservation Office, aided work on such projects as the Coor-Gaston House, Craven County Courthouse, Crockett-Miller Slave Quarters Restoration, King Solomon Lodge #1, New Bern Academy, Cedar Grove Cemetery, and the Disaway House, as well as architectural surveys throughout the county.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Forty-five individual properties and three historic districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. All are found in or near New Bern and include many private residences, schools, churches, the Masonic Temple and Theater, and the Municipal Building. A Multiple Property Listing project resulted in the nomination of five African-American churches in 1997.
LOCAL PRESERVATION COMMISSIONS
Historic Preservation Office staff works closely with the New Bern Historic Preservation Commission on many of the preservation projects and issues indicated here. The New Bern Historic Preservation Commission has designated the New Bern Historic District and Cedar Grove Cemetery. The City of New Bern is a Certified Local Government.
The Historic Preservation Office has worked with the Historic Preservation Commission, Federal Highways, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to reduce the impacts of the new Neuse River Bridge and interchange on the New Bern Historic District, James City, and Bridgeton. In 1995, the Historic Preservation Office awarded a matching federal grant to the county to prepare a case study for a guidebook to assist developers in designing rural subdivisions so that cultural and natural resources may be preserved.
PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS
Fourth in the state in the number of income-producing tax credit projects, fifty-five projects have been completed in Craven County at a total construction investment of $7,274,000, including the Academy Building and O. Marks & Coplon Building, both in New Bern. Ten additional income-producing tax credit projects are currently undergoing renovation, including the Old U.S. Customs House in New Bern. Six residences are currently undergoing renovation to utilize the state tax credit for non-income-producing structures. The Historic Preservation Office reviews and provides restoration technical services for all tax credit projects.
PUBLIC EDUCATION AND PUBLICATIONS
Historic Preservation Office-assisted preservation publications include A New Bern Album, by John B. Green III (1985), and The Historic Architecture of New Bern and Craven County, North Carolina, by Peter Sandbeck (1988). Historic Preservation Office staff, with the city of New Bern, New Bern Historical Society, and Weyerhaeuser, conducted a 1990 workshop on the preservation of gravestones and landscape features in the historic Cedar Grove Cemetery.
The Historic Preservation Office has provided technical restoration assistance to many National Register properties and Tax Act projects in Craven County, including St. John's Masonic Lodge, Bellair Plantation, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Coor-Gaston House, John Wright Stanly House, and dozens of residences and commercial buildings in New Bern's historic districts.