Harvey Mansion is one of the last remaining structures from the time when New Bern was a bustling seaport and thriving colonial city. is a great example of the many transitions New Bern has endured.
John Harvey, a ship owner and merchant originally from England, moved to New Bern with his wife Mary in 1797. Construction of the 9,000 square foot home began that same year and continued until 1804. During the Civil War when New Bern was under Union occupation, the house was used as a military provost headquarters. The home remained in the Harvey family until after the Civil War. In the ensuing years it has seen various uses, including a boarding house, a dormitory for the New Bern Military Academy, apartments during WWII (for Cherry Point) and the original location of Craven Technical Institute (Craven Community College).
In 1974, the Harvey house was vacant and in poor repair. The city attempted to have it torn down, however the Keeper of the National Register denied the request and it was added to the National Historic Registry. Quoting from the National Register nomination form, “The Harvey Mansion was a major New Bern Structure, both in size and in finish, and a trubute to Harvey’s taste and affluence. Though the residences and businesses of New Bern merchants were often housed under one roof… John Harvey seems to have built office, storerooms, and even warehouse areas into his residence. It was an unusually large and elegantly furnished house… and the ballroom, by far the grandest early nineteenth century room in New Bern, is an elegant embodiment of the Adams style.”
There are rumors of ghosts that inhabit the mansion. One is a lady who walks though rooms and out walls, and another is a five year old girl. While we’ve not made their acquaintance, some have sworn they have felt their presence. History continues at the Harvey Mansion, combining the best of the past and present. Restored and reopened in February of 2003, Owner Gene Simon, invites you to enjoy a bit of New Bern’s congenial history. “The Harvey’s” comfortable atmosphere, historic surroundings, and luxurious rooms are guaranteed to make this a highlight of your New Bern experience.