Mount Olive Museum

David John Aaron Teaching and History Museum


Historical Society

The Mount Olive Area Historical Society, Inc.

The Society was incorporated on September 8, 1997.

Society's Goals                                                                                  

  • Discover, preserve and spread the history of Mount Olive and surrounding areas
  • Designate historic districs, sites and structures
  • Print brochures and maps
  • Operate the David John Aaron Teaching and History Museum
  • Support economic development through tourism

Society's Activites

  • Conducting home, walking and ghost tours
  • Sponsoring Days of Yore, a celebration of Mount Olive's heritage
  • Spearheading the saving of the former Mount Olive High School from demolition
  • Erecting a historical marker for the Winn Family
  • Sponsoring the Historical Glimpses Lecture Series
  • Erecting a Civil War Trails marker
  • Purchasing the Kraft Photographic Collection, consisting of hundreds of thousands of prints and negatives that depict the life in and around Mount Olive between the mid-1900s and early 2000s
  • Operating the David John Aaron Teaching and History Museum

Mount Olive Historic District

The Mount Olive Historic District captures the architectural history and development of a small, bustling Eastern North Carolina town from the 1850s to 1949. Walking and driving tours, guided by The Mount Olive Walking Tour brochure, are available.

The district was entered into the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 1999 under the financial support and leadership of the Mount Olive Area Historical Society.

Encompassing approximately 200 acres, the district includes homes, commercial buildings, churches, industrial plants and schools. It is rich with architectural details, with 655 resources and 71 percent classified as contributing – at least 50 years old as of 1999 and retaining architectural integrity.


              Perry Cherry House.1904

Architectural styles of the homes include Victorian, Queen Anne, Italianate, Tudor Revival, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, and Craftsman. Churches include Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles. (photo)

Commercial buildings, particularly the 100 and 200 blocks of North Center and the 100 block of South Center, retain much of their early 19th century details. Among them, decoratively corbeled or paneled parapets, finial and signage plaques, houndstooth courses, recessed entries and large display windows.

National Register Sites

Four resources within the Historic District are individually entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

The former Mount Olive High School, at 205 Wooten Street, was built in 1925. The Classical Revival three-story school with second floor auditorium now belongs to the University of Mount Olive and is known as the Byrd Building. Named for the former UMO President J. William Byrd and wife Mavis “Marcy” Byrd, it houses student apartments, the Department of Music and the Hazel Kornegay Auditorium.


           Mount Olive High School.1925-1965

The former Mount Olive Post Office, located at 124 West James Street, is a Classical Revival building constructed in 1933 with WPA funds. It now houses the law offices of Robert Rice and John Edwards.

Two other National Register buildings are private homes, the Southerland-Burnette House at 201 N. Chestnut Street, and the Perry-Cherry House at 308 W. Main.

Walking Tour Brochure

The Mount Olive Walking Tour brochure, printed by the Mount Olive Area Historical Society, includes a one-to-two hour walking tour through the downtown district, and a longer guide to selected architectural and historical points.

The brochure is available at the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, 123 North Center Street, and the Mount Olive Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 802, Mount Olive, NC 28365 (Phone: 919-731-2779).

Another excellent resource for the history and architecture of Mount Olive and Wayne County, North Carolina is J.Daniel Pezonni (ed.) “Glimpses of Wayne County, North Carolina,” published by the Wayne County Historical Society in 1998.

Inquiries, memberships and donations

Karen Moore, President
Cell: 919-589-6932
Email: kewm2895@gmail.com
Ken Dilda, Historian
Phone: 919-731-2779
Email caroldilda@hotmail.com
Mailing Address:
Mount Olive Area Historical Society
P.O. Box 802
Mount Olive, NC 28365
The Society is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deducible