Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2017 Azalea Festival Home Tour!

Posted by


Azalea Festival Home Tour 2017

April 8 & 9 

Cross the threshold into a very special part of Wilmington…the Azalea Festival Home Tour.  Nine beautiful homes and one historic church will welcome visitor April 8 & 9.  Reaching as far back as 1840, these historic homes will be open for you to explore.  A part of Wilmington’s Azalea Festival, the Home Tour will take place April 8, 1-6pm and April 9, 1-5pm.  From cottage to mansion, this Tour is not to be missed!


David Reid Murchison House, 305 S. Third Street

A ribbon cutting ceremony will kick-off the Tour on Saturday, April 8, 12:30pm, at the grand David Reid Murchison House, 305 South Third Street.  Join City and County Dignitaries and the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles as we cut the ribbon, tour the home and enjoy free ice cream provided by Dairy Queen.


Tickets are good for the entire weekend.  Tour goers can attend either or both days, and can start and end at any point along the route.  Docents at each location will share a bit of the home’s history and features.


To view all of this year’s church and homes click here:  2017 Tour


Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at all participating locations during the weekend of the Tour, April 8 & 9.


You can buy tickets online, here, and we’ll mail them to you for just .50 a ticket!  Order by March 30th for this service.

Tickets are also available through these outlets:
HWF offices ,
2011 Market Street (inside the Wilmington National Cemetery gates) (tickets are available at this location through April 7 only)
All area Harris Teeter stores
Azalea Festival Office,
5725 Oleander Drive
Fisherman’s Wife
, 1425 Airlie Road
The Ivy Cottage
, 3020 Market Street
The Transplanted Garden
, 502 S. 16th Street
Occasions…Just Wright
, 313 N. Front Street, in the Cotton Exchange
A Proper Garden
, 2 Ann Street, #5
Wake N Bake Doughnut Shops, 2 locations
– 114 Princess Street & 1401 N. Lake Blvd, Suite 46, Carolina Beach (Food Lion Shopping Ctr)
, 201 N. Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
Momentum Companies
, 103 S. Front
Wild by nature
, 411 N. Howe Street, Southport
Southport Chamber of Commerce
, 4433 Long Beach Road, Southport

Tickets will also be available, during the Tour weekend for $35 at each location.  Cash only except for the David Reid Murchison House at 305 S. Third street, where we will also be taking credit cards.


Six Practical Reasons to Save Old Buildings

Posted by

1. Old buildings have intrinsic value.

Buildings of a certain era, namely pre-World War II, tend to be built with higher-quality materials such as rare hardwoods (especially heart pine) and wood from old-growth forests that no longer exist.

Prewar buildings were also built by different standards. A century-old building might be a better long-term bet than its brand-new counterparts.

Take, for example, the antebellum Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherrill House in West Knoxville, Tennessee. Until the City Council approved a zoning deal, the house was threatened by developers’ interests. However, following its classification as a historic site, the house―and its five-brick-thick walls―will be reborn as an office building that could withstand the fiercest of tornadoes.

2. When you tear down an old building, you never know what’s being destroyed.

A decade ago, the Daylight Building in Knoxville was a vacant eyesore. A developer purchased the property with plans to demolish the building to make way for new construction.

However, following multiple failed deals to demolish the building, the Daylight went back on the market. Dewhirst Properties bought it and began renovations only to discover the building’s hidden gems: drop-ceilings made with heart-pine wood, a large clerestory, a front awning adorned with unusual tinted “opalescent” glass, and a facade lined with bright copper.

Beyond surviving demolition and revealing a treasure trove of details, the Daylight reminds us that even eyesores can be valuable for a community’s future.

3. New businesses prefer old buildings.

In 1961, urban activist Jane Jacobs startled city planners with The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which Jacobs discussed economic advantages that certain types of businesses have when located in older buildings.

Jacobs asserted that new buildings make sense for major chain stores, but other businesses–-such as bookstores, ethnic restaurants, antique stores, neighborhood pubs, and especially small start-ups―thrive in old buildings.

“As for really new ideas of any kind―no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be―there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error, and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction,” she wrote. “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.”

4. Old buildings attract people.

Is it the warmth of the materials, the heart pine, marble, or old brick―or the resonance of other people, other activities? Maybe older buildings are just more interesting.
The different levels, the vestiges of other uses, the awkward corners, the mixtures of styles, they’re at least something to talk about. America’s downtown revivals suggest that people like old buildings. Whether the feeling is patriotic, homey, warm, or reassuring, older architecture tends to fit the bill.

Regardless of how they actually spend their lives, Americans prefer to picture themselves living around old buildings. Some eyes glaze over when preservationists talk about “historic building stock,” but what they really mean is a community’s inventory of old buildings ready to fulfill new uses.

5. Old buildings are reminders of a city’s culture and complexity.

By seeing historic buildings―whether related to something famous or recognizably dramatic―tourists and longtime residents are able to witness the aesthetic and cultural history of an area. Just as banks prefer to build stately, old-fashioned facades, even when located in commercial malls, a city needs old buildings to maintain a sense of permanency and heritage.

6. Regret goes only one way.

The preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving buildings of historic significance―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.

This toolkit originally appeared on March 3, 2014, and was adapted from Jack Neely’s article, “Nine Practical Reasons to Save Old Buildings,” at Metro Pulse.

Julia Rocchi is the director of digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and gawks at buildings.

Spring Fling Antique Market & Yard Sale – Legacy Architectural Salvage

Posted by

Be a part of Legacy Architectural Salvage’s Spring Fling Antique Market and Yard Sale, Saturday March 11th, from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

Shop from up to 15 vendors and enjoy discounted items in the Salvage warehouse. The sale includes items from the Wilmington filmed movie “Bolden” and our extensive inventory. This fun event will be held rain or shine. Please park along the east side of the Stevens Hardware building and in designated areas.

OR SELL – Vendor Registration
To participate as a vendor in this year’s Spring Fling costs just $10 for a 10’x10′ space. To register, contact Spring Fling Coodinator Katrina Tokay at hwf@historicwilmington.org by March 7th. Space is limited. Vendor sale items are limited to antiques, household goods and arts & crafts.

Joint ROW & HWF Brick Streets Policy Proposal

Posted by

The following is a brick streets policy proposal crafted by a joint task force composed of  Residents of Old Wilmington and Historic Wilmington Foundation representatives.  It was sent to Wilmington City leadership urging its incorporation into the City’s brick streets policy which is currently being reviewed and discussed.



Proposed by Historic Wilmington Foundation and Residents of Old Wilmington


According to the City’s recent study, Wilmington has approximately 6 miles of streets and alleys paved with historic paving materials. Approximately 4 miles are paved with historic brick pavers, cobblestones, or asphalt paving bricks and approximately 2 miles are mixed historic pavers and asphalt. The City also has historic slate and granite curbing. Many of the streets paved with these historic materials are more than 100 years old.   [In this paper, the term “brick streets” includes streets paved with all the historic paving materials listed above.]

Wilmington’s brick streets are important historic, cultural and economic assets of the City. They define historic districts and are part of what is unique about Wilmington.

Brick streets contribute significantly to the economy of Wilmington and New Hanover County. They attract and support heritage tourism, a multi-million dollar industry. (According to TripAdvisor, the historic districts, where exposed brick streets are concentrated, are the third most popular tourist destination in the Wilmington area.) Brick streets also enhance the local economy by attracting the film industry, which uses brick streets in filming.

Brick streets are very cost effective long term. A properly laid brick street can last 150 years or more with minimal maintenance, while an asphalt street, especially those in high traffic areas, may last as little as 12 to 15 years and may require extensive maintenance.  In the 1970s, when Wilmington began covering its decades old brick streets with asphalt, most were still very serviceable.  The aggregate long term costs associated with the construction and maintenance of brick streets are substantially less than the aggregate long term costs of construction, maintenance and periodic resurfacing of asphalt streets.  (J. Bedard, “Follow the Red Brick Road,” Masters of Urban Planning Program, University of Buffalo, 2008, pp.10-11; Columbia OH, “Brick Street Policy Resolution FAQs,” 2011, pp. 1-2.)

Brick streets have considerable aesthetic appeal and enhance property values.   Studies find that brick streets may increase property values of developed adjacent properties by 25 to 33 % and undeveloped lots by 200%.   (J. Bedard, p. 9.)

Brick streets provide significant traffic calming.  They lower driving speeds and thus reduce accidents. A Winter Park Florida study found that average traffic speeds dropped from 41 mph to 29 mph after streets were restored to brick. (J. Bedard, pp. 2-3; Columbia OH Brick Street FAQs, p. 3.)

Brick streets are more environmentally friendly than asphalt streets.  They are more permeable and thus mitigate storm water runoff. (J. Bedard, pp. 4, 8-9.) They also are cooler than heat generating asphalt.


Currently, it is the City’s policy to preserve brick streets in specified local historic districts.  The current Brick Street Policy, adopted in 1987, states: “All brick streets located in the Historic District (HD) and the Historic District Overlay (HDO) zoning classifications will be maintained as brick streets….  Brick street repair work (for utility cuts etc.) in the HD and HDO should be done with salvaged brick wherever possible.”  (Wilmington Administrative Policy 87-3). This policy has been interpreted to apply also to brick streets in the Historic District Residential (HD-R), a zoning district created after 1987.

The 1987 Policy does NOT protect brick streets outside these local historic districts. It expressly states that streets outside these districts will be repaired and resurfaced with non-brick materials.  The 1987 Policy does not provide for restoration of additional brick streets. [When the terms “restore” or “recover” are used herein, they refer to restoration of brick streets by removal of asphalt or other overlaying material.] Finally, the 1987 Policy does not provide any funding for brick streets. Presumably because of lack of funding, many brick streets are in poor condition.

City staff has proposed a brick street policy that primarily addresses utility cut repairs (hereinafter the “Repair Policy”). We commend the staff for their work. It is a good starting point. However, it is a repair policy, NOT a preservation policy, and it is NOT a substitute for the City’s existing 1987 Brick Street Policy.  The Repair Policy does not require the preservation of brick streets, not even those in the local historic districts; it has provisions that limit brick street preservation; and it does not address funding.  A comprehensive brick street preservation policy is needed.  Many cities across the country already have adopted such preservation policies because they recognize that once a brick street is lost, it is lost forever.  (See Resources, attached.)


In the first quarter of 2016, the City sought public input on brick streets, including through two public meetings and an online survey. The survey responses overwhelmingly favor preserving all existing brick streets (87%); restoring all asphalt covered brick streets by removing the asphalt (67%); and repairing brick streets with brick rather than asphalt patches (93%).  The survey shows that Wilmington residents want preservation of all of the City’s brick streets, whether or not in historic districts, even if the upfront costs are greater (71.38%) and the ride is less smooth (84%) than those of asphalt streets.


HWF, ROW, and our community partners urge City Council to direct staff to develop a Brick Street Preservation Policy that strengthens the City’s current 1987 Brick Street Policy and extends its protection to all of the City’s brick streets. Specifically, we urge Council to adopt a Brick Street Preservation Policy that includes the following:

  1. The Broadest Possible Preservation Requirement.
  2. With few if any exceptions, the Policy should require the preservation of all of the City’s streets and alleys paved with historic pavers (brick, cobblestone or asphalt brick), whether exposed or covered with asphalt, and their related granite and slate curbs (collectively referred to herein as “brick streets”).
  3. The Policy should require that City Council expressly approve any exceptions to this preservation requirement. Brick streets (whether exposed brick or asphalt covered brick) should not be paved over, repaired or replaced with asphalt or other non-brick materials, unless: a) there is a significant demonstrated safety or other public purpose for the change from brick to non-brick; and b) City Council votes to approve the change, after appropriate public notice and hearing.  If the brick street is within a historic district subject to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), then the City should also seek the HPC’s recommendation as to whether the street may be paved over, repaired or replaced with asphalt or other non-brick material.
  4. Ongoing Funding.
  5. The Policy should provide ongoing funding for brick streets. It should include a “20 Year Brick Street Plan” to: a) repair and maintain existing brick streets; and, b) restore to brick the streets that are covered in whole or in part with asphalt. Repair, maintenance and restoration should include, where necessary, removing the brick, re-doing the foundation, and re-laying the brick in accordance with best practices. To develop the Plan, the City should survey all brick and asphalt covered brick streets to determine their condition and what repairs, restoration and maintenance are needed. The 20 Year Plan should include projections of the costs to implement the Plan and estimates of the amounts that must be budgeted each year to achieve the Plan.
  6. Pursuant to the 20 Year Plan, the City should develop guidelines for prioritizing the order in which brick streets are to be repaired, restored and maintained. Using those guidelines, the City also should develop a renewing 5 Year Schedule for brick street for repair, restoration and maintenance. In the 5 Year Schedule, priority should be given to: a) brick streets and asphalt covered brick streets that have a poor ride, for instance because of extensive asphalt patching or erosion of the asphalt cover; b) brick streets that are in relatively good condition and need only minor repairs; and c) brick streets and asphalt covered brick streets in areas of historic and/or economic importance or need (tourist areas, historic districts, areas in need of economic stimulus).  Each 5 Year Schedule should be subject to public comment before it is adopted, incorporated in any City Transportation Plan, and available on the City website.
  7. The Policy should require that the City set aside in every annual budget an amount specifically designated for brick street repair, restoration and maintenance. The budgeted amounts should be based on the projected estimated costs necessary to achieve the 20 Year Brick Street Plan and each successive 5 Year Schedule.
  8. The City should investigate Federal, State, and private grants (including historic preservation, economic development and environmental protection grants) for the preservation, repair, restoration, and maintenance of the City’s brick streets. Grants should be used to expedite the 20 Year Plan and 5 Year Schedules, and may reduce the amount of City funding for brick streets during the periods covered by the grants. However, grants should not eliminate the requirement that the City include funding for brick streets in its annual budgets.

III.   Provision for an Adequate Supply of Appropriate Historic Pavers and Curbs.

  1. The Policy should include salvage requirements and procedures for historic paving and curb materials so that those removed from existing streets are preserved for future use. The Policy should require all persons and entities doing work that disrupts a brick street (including property owners, contractors and utility companies) to comply with these requirements and procedures. (Section 4.3 of the staff’s proposed Repair Policy, “Handling and Storage of Bricks Removed from City Streets,” is a good approach to salvage.)
  2. The Policy also should provide for the purchase of an adequate supply of appropriate new substitute brick pavers for future repair and restoration of brick streets in the event sufficient salvaged bricks are not available.
  3. Requirements for Brick Street Repair in the Event of a Disturbance.
  4. The Policy should include requirements for appropriate timely repair of brick and asphalt covered brick streets that are disturbed by utility cuts or other work. The policy should require that brick streets be repaired with identical salvaged pavers (if available) or appropriate substitute pavers in the same in material and dimensions as the original; that the pavers be laid in a pattern consistent with the original pavement; and that all repairs be done in an appropriate manner, consistent with best practices.
  5. The Policy should include requirements that hold accountable any person or entity doing work that disturbs a brick or asphalt covered brick street. They should be required to obtain a permit and provide a one year warranty of the repair work. If the street is in a historic district subject to the HPC, they also should be required to obtain a COA from the HPC.  If the project may cause a significant disturbance to the street, they might also be required to post a bond. All repair work should be subject to inspection and acceptance by the City.
  6. Restoration of Asphalt Covered Streets to Brick, Especially in the Event of a Major Disturbance.
  7. The Policy should provide, with few exceptions, that asphalt covered brick streets will be uncovered and restored to brick over time, and that they will be repaired with brick when there is a utility cut or other disturbance.
  8. When an asphalt covered brick street is subject to a significant utility cut or other disturbance, this is an opportune time to restore the street to brick. The proposed Repair Policy recognizes this fact. It provides that portions of some asphalt covered brick streets (those with traffic volumes of fewer than 4000 vehicles/day and speed limits of 25 mph or less) MUST BE RESTORED TO BRICK when they are repaired after a disturbance: (a) if a project disturbs more than 35% of the street surface (per block), then the entire block shall be restored to brick; and (b) if the project disturbs less than 35% of a “Main” or “Special Character” street, then brick shall be used to restore the length of the disturbance, from curb to curb. (Proposed Repair Policy, p.15). This Repair Policy is a good starting point, but it raises concerns.  Its traffic volume limitations will result in the loss of brick streets as Wilmington grows and downtown becomes more congested; its 25 mph speed limit and street type classifications are subject to change making future brick street preservation uncertain; and the 35% provisions could incent contractors and utilities to make multiple smaller cuts to avoid the policy and could result in block by block checkerboards of brick and asphalt.  Significantly, we find no engineering justification for these limitations.  In fact, studies show that while heavy truck weight and high speeds may undermine brick streets, the higher traffic volumes and speeds typical of urban areas (35 mph or less) do not:  “Busy downtown areas where traffic is heavier but moves slowly have also successfully preserved brick streets.” (R. Baier, Illinois Brick Street Study, p. 12; see also Columbia OH Brick Street FAQs noting avg. speeds of 29 mph on brick streets.)  We urge that the Comprehensive Brick Street Preservation Policy include the broadest possible brick street restoration provisions, instead of the traffic volume, 25 mph speed limit and other limitations contained in the proposed Repair Policy.
  9. Oversight.

The Policy should provide oversight for any repair, re-pavement or other significant change to brick or asphalt covered brick streets. There should be a review and approval process for resolving questions like these: May the brick street be temporarily resurfaced with asphalt? What substitute pavers are appropriate for the repair or restoration? Should the brick street be converted to asphalt for safety reasons? If the street is in a district subject to the HPC, then the HPC should review and determine the appropriateness of any significant change to a brick street through the COA process.  There also should be a review and approval process for streets that are not in a historic district. One option is to give the HPC oversight over all brick street repairs, regardless of where the street is located.

Thank you for considering our proposal.

Respectfully submitted, this _____ day of August, 2016.

Residents of Old Wilmington, Inc.                                              Historic Wilmington Foundation

_________________________                                                   ____________________________

Sylvia Kochler, President                                                              George W. Edwards, Executive Director


This proposal was prepared on behalf of Historic Wilmington Foundation and Residents of Old Wilmington by the HWF/ROW Brick Streets Working Group: Charles Boney, Jr.; Terry Bragg; George Edwards; Sylvia Kochler; Gene Merritt; Dale Nixon; and Maggie O’Connor.



  1. Brick Streets Technical Studies and Summaries

Baier, Royce, “Preservation and Maintenance of Brick Streets,” Illinois Preservation Series, No. 12, pp 5 – 16

Bedard, Janel Claire, “Follow the Red Brick Road: A Plan to Restore Brick Streets in Buffalo NY,” Masters of Urban Planning Program, University of Buffalo, 2008

Blair Historic Preservation Authority, “Brick Streets FAQs,” 2008

City of Columbia, OH, “Brick Street Policy Resolution FAQs,” prepared for Columbia City Council, 2011

Kelso, Harry B. and J. Dunn, “Preservation and Maintenance of Brick Streets,” SW Prologue Series, Oklahoma Historic Society

Newber, J. F., “A Study of Brick-Paved Streets in Wilmington NC,”  “A Study of Stone-Paved and Other Stone Pavements in Wilmington, NC,”  and “A Study of Street Curbing in Wilmington, NC”, 2006-07

Residents of Old Wilmington (R. Erb, D. Nixon, and B. Wallen), “Survey of Wilmington’s Brick Streets,” 2009

Seapker, Janet, “HPC Historic Pavement Study,” 2010


  1. Representative Municipal Brick Streets Plans and Policies

Bloomington IL, “Brick Streets Strategic Plan,” Sept. 17, 2009

Rock Island IL Municipality and Rock Island Preservation Commission, “Brick Streets Plan,” adopted 1988, last amended 2012.

St. Petersburg FL, “Citywide Brick Street Preservation Policy,” (Resolution No. 92-780) and “Traditional Streetscape Preservation Policy, “(Resolutions Nos. 2004-170, 2008-419, and 2010-282)

Topeka KS, “Brick Street, Alley and Sidewalk Policy”

Winter Park FL, “Brick Streets Policy,” June 2001


Great fun! Great Cause! Trick or Trot for Preservation!

Posted by

PCJ logo - 8.2016happy jack-o-lantern

PCJ presents Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Trick or Trot for Preservation in support of the educational third grade walking tour Tar Heels Go Walking

 Saturday October 29
Greenfield Lake Park
8:30 am 5k Start
9:00 am Trick or Treat 1 Mile Walk Start
9:30 am Awards


Super heroes, princesses, ghosts, ghouls and goblins will invade Greenfield lake park for the most fun 5k and one mile walk in Wilmington!  Whether you want to burn a few pre-Halloween calories with our fall 5k or get started adding them on with a family 1 mile un-timed trick or treat walk, we have you covered.  Register today for what will no doubt be a great Halloween tradition in the making!!

Register Now

5k registrants will receive a race T-shirt, while supplies last, and free entry to the 1 mile walk.  Participants can also purchase a 1-mile-walk-only-registration for a reduced price.

Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 5k finishers in each age group by gender, to the best costume, and more!!

Want to reach out to families, athletes or Historic Wilmington Foundation members?  Sponsorships for this race range from $50 – $1000.  To find out more or to volunteer, contract Christine Divoky HERE.

Halloween run collage.ii