Reconstructing Tryon Palace

 All this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past. 

Restoring North Carolina’s eighteenth-century capitol, “Tryon’s Palace,” was a daunting prospect in 1929 to all but a small network of visionary ladies, each with ties to the state’s cultural and historic societies. These influential women included Gertrude S. Carraway and Minette Chapman Duffy of New Bern, Maude Moore Latham and May Gordon Kellenberger of Greensboro, Kate B. Reynolds of Winston-Salem and Ruth Coltrane Cannon of Concord. Together, they worked tirelessly for the next 30 years to make the dream of a reconstructed Tryon Palace a reality. To ensure success, these ladies collaborated with governors, local officials, museum directors, restoration specialists and the public. The path to gaining and excavating the Palace’s complete site included moving a major highway and bridge, acquiring the one surviving colonial building, and relocating a neighborhood. Mrs. Latham and Mrs. Kellenberger further aided the cause with financial aid for constructing, landscaping and furnishing much of the Palace. These aims were achieved at a time when a woman’s right to vote was fairly new, but other advances in equal rights were yet to come. Now open for more than 50 years and welcoming nearly 175,000 visitors annually, Tryon Palace owes its very being to these determined dreamers.

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