Historic Bath salutes centennial with WWI exhibit

Published 5:24 pm Sunday, April 30, 2017

From the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

BATH — In tribute to victory acres, war bonds and heroic efforts in battle, a traveling exhibition commemorating the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I opens in Bath on Wednesday. Historic Bath will present this free exhibit of 10 informational panels and related artifacts through June 9. The centennial exhibit will travel across the state in 2017 and 2018. Historic Bath also will host a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony May 20.

WWI began with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife on July 28, 1914. The U.S. was reluctant to enter the conflict as the casualties to European armies approached a million by 1916. Although initially a neutral state, continuing German atrocities and its attacks on American vessels led President Woodrow Wilson to declare war on Germany in April 1917.

There were 23 people from Beaufort County who lost their lives during the Great War. Soldiers, sailors, a nurse and a member of the Lafayette Escadrille, were among the casualties from Beaufort County. Photographs, a shaving kit, binoculars and an original uniform are among the items loaned to the site by Beaufort County residents.

The May 20, 10 a.m., wreath-laying ceremony at the Bonner House is part of the annual Bath Fest celebration. The wreath-laying will be in tribute to the 23 residents of Beaufort County who gave their lives for their country during World War I.

In addition to Historic Bath, the WWI exhibit will travel to Historic Edenton State Historic Site, Bennet Place State Historic Site, the Charlotte Public Library, the Museum of the Cape Fear, the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum and other venues across the state. For a complete schedule, visit www.ncdcr.gov/worldwarI.

Historic Bath became North Carolina’s first town and was incorporated in 1705. It was the colony’s first port of entry and was home to North Carolina’s first public library. The Visitor Center is located at 207 Carteret Street. The site is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information about special events, tours, weddings and parties, please call 252-923-3971. Tickets are $2 for adults, $1 for students and apply separately for the Bonner and Palmer-Marsh Houses. Historic Bath is within the Division of State Historic Sites of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.