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BUILDING HISTORY: Historic Wilmington Foundation

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) --  It does more than just pass out plaques. The Historic Wilmington Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses its efforts on preserving our architectural heritage. They are one of the reasons we have so many great old buildings here.

"Historic Wilmington's mission statement says to protect and preserve the irreplaceable of Wilmington and the lower Cape Fear region." Executive Director George Edwards tells us.

He is passionate about his organization and about saving historic properties. They are not all easy properties like this one from the 2013 list of most threatened historic places.

"We take a lot of properties, some beyond saving, but then properties like the one you see over my shoulder here,” Edwards gestures. “A former Smith funeral home building, formerly a single-family home, is one that is well worth saving. With the right mix of tax credits and incentives and a creative individual, this house is very salvageable."

There are some properties in need of TLC, and there are plenty of success stories for Historic Wilmington Foundation.

"This house across the street, which is an award winner from last year's Preservation awards. It was a storefront church and was a private residence at one time, but was totally dilapidated,” Edwards explained. “ The city had condemned the properties, but some of our members, Chris and Jim Beck, stepped in and restored this, then their daughter got involved  and they finished this project "

Not all homes are historic. This one is an in-fill house built a few years ago to fit into the neighborhood.

"A front-facing, gable-roofed cottage that was built from the Saving Spaces design catalog, Edwards said. “That was collaboration seven years ago between the City of Wilmington. AIA, the Bellamy Mansion and Historic Wilmington Foundation. If you look at this house it lines up with all the other houses on the block and blends in."

Interested?  Historic preservation is not for the faint of heart,  remember the old Smith funeral home?

"It's for sale. You can call the realtor or call us, or we can refer them, and hopefully there can be a save on this house”, Edwards hopes.

Since it’s formation in 1966, the Historic Wilmington Foundation has successfully saved more than 100 historic properties from demolition.

If you know of a building with a good story, please let me know at cphillips@wwaytv3.com

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