An intimate tour of Wilmington, with one of the Cape Fear region’s next generation of historians, Travis Gilbert.
After months at home, Historic Wilmington Foundation is providing a new (and safer!) way to reconnect with our community: Ten Tours with Travis!
On the first Sunday of each month, tour guide Travis Gilbert will lead small groups through through specialized tours of our historic downtown, tracing our region’s multi-faceted and diverse storylines through our irreplaceable built history.
Why “Ten Tours”? We want to bring our community together—in a safe and responsible manner. Here’s how:
- Tours will be limited to 10 attendees. We appreciate and value the intimacy of a small group, the questions and conversations that setting stimulates.
- Even when outside, masks are required at all times for the group’s safety. (Even your tour guide will be wearing one!)
- Social distancing will be practiced during the entirety of each tour.
These special tours are FREE, but donations are cheerfully accepted!
ABOUT YOUR GUIDE
Beyond serving on Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Travis also volunteers his time as a tour guide for both Tar Heels Go Walking and Ten Tours.
Formerly the Manager of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society at the Latimer House, Travis Gilbert now employs his vast knowledge of coastal North Carolina history as the Educator and Collections Coordinator at Old Baldy Lighthouse (North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse) and Smith Island Museum of History. He is a board member of the Southport Historical Society and volunteers at Tryon Palace.
On the first Sunday of each month, Travis will host two Ten Tours:
– First Tour: 2:00PM to ~3:30PM
– Second Tour: 3:30PM to ~5:00PM
Prior to embarking on the afternoon’s historic journey, attendees will gather at HWF’s headquarters (211 Orange Street, Wilmington, NC).
These walking tours will take you past historic places of note.
We will not be going inside any of the featured structures.
Sunday, October 4, 2020:
Architects of Wilmington: James F. Post (1818 – 1899)
Shortly after Wilmington became North Carolina’s largest city, James Francis Post arrived on the shores of the Cape Fear River. For the next fifty years, Post defined Wilmington’s cityscape as we know today, from the Bellamy Mansion to the New Hanover County Courthouse. Together, Post and Wilmington nurtured one another: the city providing the opportunities and the architect-builder providing the vision. Post’s career exemplifies life in 19th century Wilmington, from his employment of enslaved and free black laborers, contracts with the railroads, and service in the Confederate military. His career is chronicled by the ledger books preserved by the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society. This walking tour will explore 19th century Wilmington through the life and works of James F. Post.
Sunday, November 1, 2020:
Architects of Wilmington: Henry Bonitz (1872 – 1921)
Henry E. Bonitz was the son of German immigrants who ushered Wilmington’s architecture into the 20th century. With a degree from present-day North Carolina State University and the tutoring of Wilmington’s architect-builder James F. Post, Henry Bonitz forever altered the cityscape of Wilmington, from the city’s commercial heart to the quiet residential districts. Stylistically, one can trace Bontiz’s career by following the city’s pilasters and Romanesque windows. When Wilmington’s reach stretched towards the beach, Bonitz followed, by designing pavilions at Wrightsville and Carolina Beaches. This walking tour will explore Wilmington at the turn of the 20th century through the life and works of Henry Bonitz. (Fun fact: In 2019, HWF awarded Ben & Christine Cochran and The Renovation Co. a Preservation Award for the restoration of the Bonitz Building at 213 Princess Street!)
Sunday, January 3, 2020:
Places of Worship
Wilmington’s thriving port delivered unparalleled religious diversity to the hills overlooking the Cape Fear River. The Port City’s skyline is dotted with steeples, testifying to the breadth of religious activity in Wilmington and chronicling the city’s religious history. Famed architects and local contractors partnered to construct Wilmington’s places of worship. This walking tour will explore Wilmington’s rich religious history, including the Anglicans’ role in the founding of Wilmington, the 19th century evangelicalism of Wilmington, and the religious experience of minority groups, such as African-Americans and the city’s Jewish heritage.