WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This week’s Extraordinary Person of the Week walks with wisdom. Bob Jenkins has been telling the history of Downtown Wilmington in a colorful way for many years.
“When we started the preservation downtown, I purchased the first building,” said Bob Jenkins as he pointed to a two story structure.
One of the first things I noticed about him? His passion! “This is the first Wilmington in the United States,” he said. “There are 13 now.” The second thing? The 79 year old is in shape. “It’s amazing, come on, come on, come on,” he said as we followed his quick footwork.
Bob Jenkins is a walking Wilmington icon. “So you see, I know that if you know our history, no matter where you look, there’s history there,” Jenkins said in our walking interview.
History. Bob’s been telling Downtown Wilmington’s history for decades and pointing his way is a signature cane with, of course, “that’s granddad’s walking cane”, some history to it.
“My granddaddy made walking canes. I can’t remember, but I got a collection of them,” Jenkins said as he described his cane. “This is the reed that grows wild around here. He would take a reed like this, twice this long, tie it off down here, put it in the horse drinking trough, and leave it for weeks and as it absorbed the water he would slowly cut it off until he had this shape for the handle”
Nowadays, Bob mostly does private tours. But boy are they a journey of amazing trivia. “In World War II, our iron balconies and yard iron fences were given to make bullets for the war efforts,” he said. “So you see, don’t just tells stories, know what you’re talking about.”
To say this Wilmington gem knows what he’s talking about is an understatement.
“If you’re riding your horse, you go in these doors,” he said as he pointed to a wooden door. “If out, this door, but if you had a carriage, it’s on the other side.”
Bob Jenkins and his walking tour is far from run of the mill.
And that makes him…Extraordinary.
If you’d like to go on a private tour with Bob Jenkins leading the way, he suggests calling ahead at 910-763-1985 (Wilmington Adventure Walking Tours).