WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One home on 5th Avenue was the prototype for a famous mansion. It’s our Building History: Downtown Wilmington
Among his many talents, Chris Wilson is a student of history. His home Tuscany on Fifth avenue is historic and a work of art.
“It was built in 1854 for Jacob Wessel who had been the first German immigrant to arrive in Wilmington in the early 1840’s.” Chris explained. “By 1854 when the house was built he has amassed quite a fortune and was able to build this big fine house.”
Chris and his wife Kathy acquired the home just a few years back and started a major renovation. “In 2005, the first few years we were working on it pretty much full time .”
If the elements of style look familiar , that is not a coincidence, James Post was the architect of among other things the Bellamy mansion. And so the floor plan here is the prototype that was also used in the Bellamy mansion as well.
The home is big and beautiful but the real spender is in the details.
“In the double parlor the fire places are cast iron with a glomese’ insert, glomese’ is a technic of painting on the back of glass. In this case they have flowers and silver foil to make them shimmery. ” Wilson displayed.
If you’re lucky enough to dine with the Wilson’s you’ll have a connection to presidents. “In the front dining room is a chandelier that was once in the White House in Washington DC , it came into Wilmington in the early 1900’s to a house on Sixth and Dock. They had come in from north eastern Virginia and probably bought it at the equivalent of a White House yard sale .”
Chris is an artist and the home is a great place to work, his collection including large scale landscapes are right at home here. “It gives you a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging to both the history of the house and the future of the house as well”.
Chris and Kathy Wilson work with Preservation North Carolina and the Bellamy mansion. There is a fund raiser tour on January 25 that includes Tuscany and other local historic homes, if you want a peek.
If you know of a great building with a story to tell, let me know with an e-mail to cphillipS @ WWAY TV 3 . com.