Local News

Investigators Suspect Arson in Fire at State Historic Site

Posted February 2, 2008 8:07 a.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2008 3:45 p.m. EST

— Investigators suspect that someone deliberately set the fire that damaged the home where former Gov. Charles B. Aycock was born.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Department confirmed Friday that was investigating the fire at the state historic site in Fremont as a case of arson. A reward for the arrest and conviction of the arsonist will be offered by state officials and the Aycock Birthplace support group.

Fire broke out around 4 a.m. in the main house, but numerous fire alarms and a rapid response by firefighters kept the fire from spreading, officials said. The fire was confined to the house's parlor, back porch and loft.

Most of the house and its furnishings sustained some smoke and water damage. One original Victorian turntable was destroyed.

The Aycock Birthplace will reopen on Tuesday and offer exhibits and a video in the visitors center and tours of a one-room schoolhouse and the farm grounds. The main house will remain closed until repairs are completed.

Aycock was born in the house in 1859. He was elected governor in 1900 and focused on improving public education in North Carolina. Critics of Aycock's legacy have claimed he promoted segregation and white supremacy.

Contributions to the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace Recovery and Restoration Fund can be sent to

Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace
P.O. Box 207
Fremont, N.C. 27830

State officials were also looking for a local craftsman willing to volunteer to reproduce the Victorian turntable destroyed in the fire.

For information about the reward or the reopening, call 919-242-5581. Click here for more information about the Aycock Birthplace.