Historic Homes Tour
Each April during the annual Azalea Festival, the Historic Wilmington Foundation features a showcase of historic homes in Wilmington, NC. The cost of one ticket is $30/person, the profits go to the Historic Wilmington Foundation.
There are 10 houses on the tour, although Brian and I didn't visit all of them. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside. (The first photo under each heading is a stock photo.)
Fishblate house (1878) - 318 South Front Street
This two-story home was originally built for Mayor Solomon Fishblate and his wife Laura, on two lots, in 1878. Laura took ill shortly after moving in and died a year later, leading to the sale of the home to Henry Clay McQueen and his wife Agnes in 1880. Henry eventually became Chairman of the Murchison National Bank, People Savings Bank, Bank of Duplin and Director of Jefferson Pilot Life Insurance. The home’s features include a wrap-around porch, double parlor and richly ornamented exterior. The compatible garage was added by current homeowners Kristin and Dean May.
Martin Crouch house (1899) - 520 Dock Street
Built in 1899 for Eugene Stuart Martin, a confederate Captain and Wilmington attorney, the Martin Crouch House was later purchased in 1921 by Dr. Auley McRae Crouch and his wife Minnie Lee McFall who, in addition to living in the home, used it as a pediatric clinic. The couple’s two sons grew up to be pediatricians and they too used the home as both a residence and medical office. It is a Queen Anne style house with touches of Colonial Revival. The current owners are Dr. Drew and Nnenne Terzian.
Annie Winstead house (1927) - 415 Dock Street
This Colonial Revival Style house, with Four¬square elements, was built in 1927 for Annie Har¬rison Winstead, a Wilmington school teacher. Winstead was educated at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina, and she taught at the old Tileston School on Ann Street for 35 years. The house remained in the Winstead family until 1974. The current owner is Joyce Gerbe.
David Reid Murchison house (1873) - 305 South 3rd Street
This stately Second Empire style home was built for David Reid Murchison in 1873. Murchison was a prominent member of the community and the first president of the Produce Exchange. The home’s most notable detail is its Mansard roof. In 1953 the house was donated to the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina. Most recently the house has been a Bed and Breakfast. Current owners Sherry and Dr. Ron Demas restored the Mansard roof, tower and front bay window in 2003.
Richard Price house (1840) - 125 South 5th Avenue
This home was built in 1840 for Richard Watts Price a local planter, merchant, and the harbor master for the port of Wilmington. It remained in the Price family until 1924. The Greek Revival home features ten-foot ceilings and heart pine floors. Bob Warren of J. Robert Warren Antiques is the current owner.
William Eckel house (1883) - 701 Chestnut Street
William Eckel, a local chandler, is the earliest confirmed resident of the home now located at 701 Chestnut Street. When it was con¬structed, the home was situated across the street at 619 Chestnut Street and research to date indicates it was moved sometime in the 1980s. Architecturally simple, this charming cottage has a pyramidal roof and full width engaged front porch supported by four square wood columns which lead to a central hall plan. In 1992, the home received a Certificate of Recognition from the Historic Wilmington Foundation for preservation.
Azalea Garden Tour
During the Azalea Festival, there is also a garden tour that is organized by the Cape Fear Garden Club.
The Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles serve as hostesses and guides to the gardens in the area. They wear antebellum attire. Which is a style of clothing worn during the American Civil War (1861 - 1845).
Governor Dudley Mansion (1825) - 400 South Front Street
The name of this house was derived from its original owner, Edward Bishop Dudley (1789-1855). Born in Onslow County, he served as an officer of a regiment that guarded Wilmington during the War of 1812. He moved to Wilmington after the war and began a long career in politics. He was the first elected NC Governor. He, built this historic home in 1825.
Bellamy Mansion (1859) - 502 Market Street
The mansion was built for physician and planter John Dillard Bellamy, his wife, Eliza McIlhenny Harriss, and their nine children on the eve of the Civil War. In 1859, Dr. Bellamy hired James F. Post, an architect in Wilmington to complete the project. Designed with Greek Revival and Italianate styling, this twenty-two room house was constructed with the labor of both enslaved skilled carpenters, and local, freed black artisans.