HISTORIC HOME TOUR: Swinson-Dowe House

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Azalea Festival Historic Home Tour features one of the first homes to be owned by an African-American, Irving Dowe, in the immediate neighborhood. He and his family moved in in 1969, but the Craftsman-style bungalow at 1609 Grace Street was built in 1914. That's all according to the Azalea Festival's website.

The current owner, Michael O'Connell, said the house has changed a bit over the years. He said Dowe finished the attic adding two bedrooms and a bathroom for his children. Then, O'Connell rebuilt the foundation, and replaced the roof.

Despite those structural changes, O'Connell said the style has stayed pretty much the same which he said is hard to come by with older homes.

"The inside is mostly all original, which is unusual. My house in D.C. had been rebuilt inside totally, only the inside of the walls were original," O'Connell said.

O'Connell added that the dining room his is favorite place. It's where he hung a painting by his grandmother that he said matches the chandelier very well.

The Historic Home Tour is Saturday, April 11 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, April 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are Tickets $25 in advance, and $30 on the day of the event. The ribbon cutting will be at the MacRae-Willard House at 520 Orange Street on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

According to the Azalea Festival's website, the North Carolina Azalea Festival Home Tour is an annual event held by the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Proceeds from the Home Tour will advance the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s efforts to protect and preserve the irreplaceable historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region. Since 1966, the foundation has successfully saved more than 200 historic properties from demolition.

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