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27 t RECONSTRUCTED HISTORY Tryon Palace is not, as one author described it, a historic restoration. It is history imagined and recon-structed. The shape of the entry pilasters, the color of the draperies, the placement of the kitchen garden, and all the understated details were taken from historic records. But that has little bearing for guests. For all intents and purposes, Tryon Palace is a historic site, the first capital of North Carolina and home to the oft-loathed royal Gov. William Tryon. Tryon choose English architect John Hawks to design his North Carolina home. Construction began in 1767 and three years later, on Dec. 5, 1770, Tryon celebrated its completion. It was a short-lived residency. After much upheaval, Tryon fled North Carolina in 1771 to become governor of New York. Josiah Martin, next in line for the post, abandoned Tryon Palace in May 1775. Soon after, Patriot forces took over the palace. It went on to serve many purposes, including as the state capital building, a boarding house, school and Masonic lodge before being consumed by fire in 1798. The stable office and one basement wall were all that remained. Reconstruction of the site was completed with painstaking detail, from the books on the library shelves to the plants in the kitchen garden. Along with the original architectural plans, Tryon left behind a complete inventory of the items that were in his home. The reconstruction of the historic palace was led by Gertrude Carraway and funded through a trust estab-lished by Maude Moore Latham. Groundwork and research began in the mid-1930s, although the project took years to gain steam. The former palace site had been developed since it was destroyed by fire more than 125 years earlier. To build the palace again, more than 50 buildings were moved, Highway 70 was rerouted, and a new bridge was constructed over the Trent River. Latham died in 1951 before construction began. Her daughter, Mae Gordon Kellenberger, carried on her mother’s mission. The site opened to the public in April 1959. The stable office not only had room for the palace horses, it was also home to the stable staff. Through the years it served many purposes, from mission chapel to schoolroom to apartment house. This area of the palace is the only original section that survived the fire of 1798. www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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