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Azalea Festival Home Tour 2018

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Azalea Festival Home Tour

April 14 & 15, 2018

Climb the porch, cross the threshold and enter in to a very special part of Wilmington and its history. Eleven beautiful homes will be open for you to explore.  As part of Wilmington’s Azalea Festival, Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Home Tour, presented by Delinda Harrelson and Associates, will take place April 14, 1-6pm and April 15, 1-5pm.  From cottage to mansion, this Tour is not to be missed!

Included with your ticket is a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick-off this area’s largest Home Tour on Saturday, April 14, 12:30pm, at the Daniel-Poisson House, 315 S. Front Street.  Join City and County Dignitaries and Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles as we cut the ribbon, explore the home and enjoy free ice cream provided by Dairy Queen.

Docents are present at each location to share the homes’ highlights and history.  Tickets are good for the full weekend.  Tour goers can attend either or both days, and can start and end at any point along the route.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 during the weekend of the Tour, on April 14 & 15.  You can now purchase Azalea Festival Home Tour tickets through Eventbrite!  And you’ll still get your souvenir brochure.  Hold on to your Eventbrite ticket (digital or paper ).  We will scan that Eventbrite ticket out on the Tour and trade it for our traditional brochure/ticket featuring all our homes on the Tour, or for your convenience we can take care of that for you before the Tour at our office, 2011 Market Street, inside the National Cemetery gates.  Tickets will also be available at each house on the Tour.  Cash only.  No credit cards will be accepted on the Tour.

OR  Purchase tickets at Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Office, 2011 Market Street, inside the National Cemetery gates, open 9am -5pm M-F or at one of many ticket outlet partners:




  • Daniel-Poisson House 315 S. Front Street (1866) This Queen Anne home was built for Nathaniel Green and his wife Harriet Hartshorn in 1866. After the Daniels, it was owned by the Poisson and related Pickrell families. Today it is the home of Lynne and Charles Boney, Jr.
  • Parker–Saunders House 401 S. Front Street (1844) Built in 1844, this Italianate/Greek Revival hybrid home is famous for Woodrow Wilson having lived there while home from Davidson College. The home was built for John A. Parker, a sign, ship and house painter, and his wife Elizabeth White. It was owned by the Saunders family from 1904 to 1948 and is currently the home of Katherine and Donald Britt. who purchased the home in 1975.
  • Edward Payson Willard House 15 S. 4th Street (1908) This Neoclassical Revival style housewas built for Edward Payson Willard, secretary and general manager of the Willard Bag & Manufacturing Company, and his wife Mary Love West in 1908. The house remained in the Willard family until 1987. It was purchased and renovated by Umbaugh Enterprises, LLC in 2017.
  • Miles Costin House 20 S. Fifth Avenue (1855) A welcoming “come and go porch” leads you to this 1855 home built for Miles Costin and his wife Catherine Letitia Robeson. It was designed by James F. Post, the architect for local museum houses the Bellamy Mansion and the Latimer House. Costin was a wealthy property owner, merchant, planter and Wilmington Town Commissioner. This grand home is characterized by its mansard roof, which was added in 1885. Now owned by Tony and Gary Kirkegaard.
  • May and Eugene Cook House 816 Dock Street (1910) May Henrietta Hall, wife of Eugene Holland Cook, purchased the lot for this Queen Anne home in 1910 and the house was built later that year. Cook was the owner of Wilmington winery Sol Bear & Co. The current owner is Delinda Harrelson and Associates, our presenting sponsor,who has completed a full renovation.
  • Charles O. McNair House 402 N. Seventh Street (1915) Originally erected for Charles O. McNair, a wholesale grocer, this Neoclassical Revival house has been home to two African American physicians, Dr. John S. Perry and Dr. John Kay, as well as to black funeral homes, the Robert H. Scott Funeral Home and the Smith Family Funeral Home. Current owners Harry and Nancy Smith (no relation to the Smith Funeral Home) are renovating and restoring the home with guidance from the Historic Preservation Foundation of NC’s Endangered Properties Program.
  • Bowdoin-Moore House 617 Red Cross Street (1904) This Neoclassical Revival house was built in 1904 for Edward Bowdoin, carpenter and foreman with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, and his wife Mattie Dilday. It was later owned by Reverend William Moore, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, and his wife Clara Hill. Today it is owned by Josh and Adrienne Hodges of Nora Alan Group.
  • Wolf-Webb House 412 N. 14th Street (2006) Behind a beautiful iron gate stands this Mediterranean style retreat. Now the home of artist Katherine Wolf-Webb, it was originally built for John and Cynthia Wallace by John Wallace Construction in 2006. Located in a local historic district, the home underwent the city’s design review process to ensure compatibility with its historic neighborhood.
  • Register-Lawhorne House 1919 Wrightsville Avenue (1919) Constructed amidst the expansion of one of Wilmington’s first suburbs, Carolina Place, this home is a classic Craftsman bungalow, a popular architectural style of the time. It was likely built by Rural Building & Loan Association as a rental property. In 1939, Jeannette King Register purchased the home from Rural Building & Loan. Following Jeannette’s death, it was purchased by Mary B. Lawhorne. The home is now owned by Deborah Kaeser.
  • Soverel House 221 Brookwood (1928) This craftsman style bungalow was built for Ralph Waldo Soverel and his wife Maude Elizabeth Wilson in 1928. Mr. Soverel was a career banker and Mrs. Soverel was a stenographer with the American Molasses Company. The home remained in the family for 59 years. It is owned today by Charlotte Cohen, who purchased the house in 2014.
  • Sutherland House 112 Colonial Drive (1940) This stately colonial was built between 1939 and 1941 for Benjamin Sutherland, Assistant Division Manager of Armour Fertilizer Works, and his wife Lillie Belle Wells. Later, the house was a proposal gift from David Nieves to his then-girlfriend, Lisa, in December of 2016. They were married in the front yard in 2017 and own the home today.

Map of our Homes:





To see some of last year’s fun, check out our Home Tour pictures HERE and HERE!






Proceeds from the Azalea Festival Home Tour support Historic Wilmington Foundation and its efforts to preserve and protect the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.


Historic Wilmington Foundation Announces a New Director

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Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) is pleased to announce Beth Rutledge as the new Executive Director, effective December 18, 2017. Rutledge will succeed George Edwards, who announced his upcoming retirement earlier this year and has led the organization since 2004.


Rutledge was selected after a nationwide search. With a 20-year marketing and copywriting background, she most recently worked on program development at the nonprofit Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, launching their education program and Old Home Certified, a regional REALTOR® designation. Rutledge may already be a familiar face to some, as she is currently a member of the HWF Board of Trustees, chairs HWF’s History’s Future committee, and volunteers at Legacy Architectural Salvage.


“We’re thrilled to have Beth Rutledge as the next Executive Director,” says Walker Abney, President of the Board of Trustees of HWF. “Beth is a long-time preservationist, with both an understanding of HWF’s legacy as well as fresh ideas for the future of the organization. It’s an exciting time for the Foundation.”


Founded in 1966, the Historic Wilmington Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear Region.

Executive Director Search

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Employer   Historic Wilmington Foundation
Since 1966 the Historic Wilmington Foundation (HWF) has worked to protect and preserve the irreplaceable architectural and historical resources of the Lower Cape Fear region. The Foundation was established in 1966 by a group of citizens concerned about the demolition of Wilmington’s historic buildings. A revolving fund (the first of its kind in NC) was set up to enable the HWF to save historic properties by buying them, placing protective easements on them to ensure their continued protection, and selling them for rehabilitation. The Foundation purchased and saved the Wright Murphy House in 1967 with the revolving fund. Since then the funds have also been creatively used to make loans and guarantee loans from banks. Nearly one hundred and fifty properties have been directly saved by HWF with its loans and easements. Hundreds more have been preserved because of the Foundation’s influence.


Executive Director




Professional Opportunity


Location Wilmington, NC

Historic Wilmington Foundation: Executive Director Job Description    


The Executive Director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation is the principal administrator of the organization and reports directly to the President and the Board of Trustees.


Key responsibilities:

·         Serves as liaison for historic preservation issues for residents of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.   Advances the mission of Historic Wilmington Foundation.

·         Maintains relationships with government officials and community organizations.

·         Prepares agenda and reports for Committees and Board of Trustees Meetings in conjunction with President

·         Hires, supervises, and evaluates staff. Terminates staff when necessary.

·         Manages the office lease and all relationships with vendors, service people, and utility providers.

·         Develops and oversees internship projects, volunteers, and Public History Graduate Scholarship Recipients.

·         Ensures integrity of financial records, and compliance with all financial standards and regulations. Maintains a relationship with financial auditing firm. Works very closely with the staff accountant to create clear and accurate financial reporting for board and members.

·         Ensures compliance with North Carolina employment standards, and North Carolina non-profit compliance.


 Historic Preservation Initiatives:

·         Identifies potential threatened historic properties and develops strategies for saving them.

·         Oversees maintenance of properties owned by the Foundation.  Markets the properties to buyers.

·         In consultation with the Foundations attorneys, develops and executes offers to purchase, rehabilitation agreements and easements/restrictive covenants for properties.

·         Responsible for developing and implementing preservation agenda.

·         Proposes action to the board regarding preservation initiatives and policy.


How to apply Please provide cover letter detailing your interest and resume detailing your qualifications to HistoricILM1966@gmail.com.

Should You DIY or Hire a Pro for your Historic Reno?

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Whatever approach you take, the decision involves knowing how much time and money you want to spend, what your interests are, and what skills you’re looking to hire someone for. This toolkit explains different types of professionals who can help you, plus important things to consider before hiring them.

1. Contracting with a historical researcher. A historical researcher typically provides the homeowner with a written report detailing the history and architecture of the house, along with biographical sketches of former owners or inhabitants. Researchers can also complete nomination forms to list properties in the National or state register or local list of historic buildings.

2. Choosing an architect. Architects can inspect the house to determine existing conditions; develop an architectural program to determine best uses for existing rooms; provide conceptual drawings; assist homeowners with obtaining and reviewing bids from contractors; and develop a construction schedule and oversee work.

Tip: To find an architect qualified for your project, contact your local or state chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). You can also reach out to your state historic preservation office (SHPO). Note: Neither the AIA nor the SHPO guarantees or endorses the work of the architects on the list.

blog_photo_architectural plans
Set of architectural plans.

3. Selecting an interior designer. An interior designer specializes in interior finishes, including wall, floor, and ceiling surfaces, fixtures such as lighting, kitchen, and bathroom, and furnishings.

4. Deciding on a landscape architect or designer. A landscape architect or designer can analyze the existing landscape, design one that is appropriate to your house, and prepare drawings and specifications for its restoration or rehabilitation. They can also help obtain bids from landscape contractors and oversee the work.

Tip: Check your state chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects(ASLA), as well as your SHPO. As with architects, no endorsement is given or implied.

5. Choosing a general contractor. A general contractor provides the construction services required to actually restore or rehabilitate your house. Typically, services include securing and providing materials, labor, and equipment, and managing subcontractors and craftspeople. General contractors also usually obtain building and other permits required by the local government.

Tip: The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) can provide you with a list of general contractors who have listed their expertise in residential remodeling. Like the others, NAHB does not endorse or guarantee the work of the contractors on the list.

6. Considering a design/build firm. When architects and contractors join together, they become a design/build firm, offering a full range of design and contracting services. On one hand, hiring a design/build firm instead of an architect and contractor separately may save you time and possibly money. On the other hand, you will not have the benefit of an independent architect acting on your behalf to oversee construction and make sure the contractor is doing work properly.

7. Understanding your subcontractors. Subcontractors provide specialized building trades or services, such as finished carpentry, plastering, masonry work, and plumbing. The general contractor is usually responsible for selecting the subcontractors, coordinating their work, ensuring that it is done correctly, and paying them.

blog_photo_stained glass craftsman
Stained glass craftsman demonstrating his skill.

8. Hiring appropriate craftspeople. Craftspeople provide specific crafts or services not typically used in new construction, such as repairing or installing stained glass or applying gold leaf to surfaces.


9. Finding qualified professionals. Reference Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Preservation Resource Network or contact the NC State Historic Preservation Office or other trade associations. These lists are reference tools and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement or guarantee for contractors’ work. Ask family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations as well, then interview those you’re considering hiring — as well as their former clients — and visit completed projects.  Ultimately, select professionals on the basis of the quality of their work, how well you like their work, and how well you think you can work with them.

10. Talk with former clients of potential professionals you are considering hiring. If possible, visit completed projects. Some questions you can ask include:

  • Did the professional listen to the owner’s ideas and explain how they could be incorporated into the design, or why they should not be?
  • Did the professional help define a reasonable project to fit your budget?
  • Was the design sensitive to the historic and architectural character of the house?
  • Was the design produced on schedule and for the agreed-upon fee? If not, were the changes reasonable?
With the exclusion of the reference to HWF’s PRN, this article was written by Emily Potter and published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

New study shows that restored 200 year old windows are as airtight as brand new replacements

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200 year old window

© Shannon Kyles and Walter Furlan with 200 year old window, before restoration

Tell those replacement window salesmen to go away; fix your old window instead.

One of the first things many people do in a renovation is change the windows. For years, historic preservation groups like the National Trust for Historic Preservation have tried to show that this was an aesthetic and environment crime. I have railed on against the lying replacement window manufacturers with posts like If I See Another Full Page Pella Window Ad I Am Gonna Scream. We have discussed studies that showed that the payback period for replacement windows can be as much as 250 years.

tiny house© Shannon Kyles/ Tiny House to test windows

But now a new study headed by Shannon Kyles, Instructor at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, settles the question once and for all. Her team built a tiny house, 12 feet by 8 feet, with two new windows and two restored 200 year old windows and tested them for air infiltration (the biggest source of heat loss with windows). “The test results demonstrate that there is no difference in air infiltration between new windows and restored pre-war windows.”

Some modern windows (like those designed for passivhaus use) are really energy efficient and airtight with special glazing, gases and coatings. However the majority of North American replacement windows are not engineered to such high standards. There has long been a debate, particularly in historic preservation circles, about whether old windows, particularly in century old buildings should be replaced or repaired. Shannon’s study shows that restored windows can do the job.

There are lots of reasons to save old windows instead of buying new. There is the aesthetic, as noted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

If you had a beautiful piece of art that was custom designed, crafted by hand, made from native old-growth wood, and imbued with clues to its age and crafting traditions, would you throw the authentic piece in the dumpster if a simulated plastic version suddenly became available? Seems ridiculous, right? However, this is precisely what people all over the country are doing when they rip out their historic wood windows and replace them with new windows.

Then there is the embodied energy saved, the energy that it takes to make the new replacement window. Shannon writes:

An existing 200 year-old window essentially consists of wood and glass with paint or varnish. The energy needed to restore it is minimal. Comparing this to a new window, one must consider first the embodied energy required to extract raw materials to produce the new product, then the direct energy used to remove the existing window and dispose of it in a land fill. More direct energy is needed to then take the new window to the building.

Then there is the issue of the longevity of new replacement windows- as Donovan Rypkema has noted: “ That is why they are called ‘replacement’ windows- you have to replace them every 30 years.”

But then there is the big question: do new windows actually save energy? Shannon and her team built the tiny house and installed four windows.

restored windows© Shannon Kyles/ Restored windows installed in tiny house

Two 1830s Georgian windows were purchased. One was restored by Furlan Conservation in Hamilton Ontario. The other was restored by Paradigm Shift Customs in Brantford. Two new windows were purchased from Pollard Windows. One was a wooden sash window. The other was a vinyl casement. All four windows were installed by John Deelstra, Professor of Carpentry at Mohawk College. All windows were installed with foam insulation. To make a complete comparison, other considerations including ease of opening and access to air circulation were also considered. The restored windows had opening windows and storms that were hinged so that no lifting or access from the exterior was needed for air circulation.

sealing window© Shannon Kyles/ sealing window

On May 10, Surrounded by a gaggle of politicians, building officials and restoration experts, poor Certified Energy Advisor Michael Masney of Green Venture did a very public blower test. The results:

test resultsGreen Ventures Test results /Screen capture

The air infiltration test is accurate to plus or minus three percent. The results as shown in the report show that there was virtually no difference between the performance of the restored old windows and the new windows.

TreeHugger favourite Ted Kesik has said that “Preserving historic windows not only conserves their embodied energy, it also eliminates the need to spend energy on replacement windows.” Donovan Rypkema has noted that renovation and restoration uses twice as much labor, and half as much material as new construction; with windows, it is almost 100 percent labour and it is pretty much all local. Now Shannon Kyles and her team at Mohawk College demonstrate that in fact, it is pretty much just as energy efficient to use old windows as it is to buy new.

Shannon notes that “current energy retrofit funding is limited to replacement of windows, and is not available for window restoration.” Perhaps it’s time to change that; these tests prove once and for all that for many reasons, restoration is in many cases as good as replacement. Throw in the issues of embodied energy, labor and durability, and the balance can tilt in their favor.

Door Blower readings on test building measuring energy efficiency of old versus new windows – virtually no difference in air infiltration

Download PDF of Shannon Kyle’s report here.