The Governor Dudley Mansion, 400 S. Front St., is the subject of a Historic Wilmington Foundation lecture presented by restoration architect Bruce Bowman, Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, Cameron Center, 207 S. Third St.

The Governor Dudley Mansion, 400 S. Front St., is the subject of a Historic Wilmington Foundation lecture presented by restoration architect Bruce Bowman, Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, Cameron Center, 207 S. Third St.


Historic preservation groups toast to national preservation month with events

With proclamation, the city of Wilmington quietly launched National Preservation Month during its May 5 meeting. This week Historic Wilmington Foundation ramps up the festivities by sponsoring the first in its month-long series of events with a talk led by Bruce Bowman, principal architect of Bowman, Murray and Hemingway, who with Dave Thomas of D.P. Thomas Construction have recently completed an extensive renovation of the 200-year old Governor Dudley Mansion at 400 S. Front St.

Built between 1815 and 1825 for Edward Bishop Dudley (1789-1855), the first governor of the state of North Carolina to be elected by popular vote, that house has enjoyed a distinguished lineage of home ownership, including, since Dudley’s time: the Pembroke Joneses, the James Sprunts, the Thomas Wrights and now Kimberly and Mike Hayden.

“This is a building that has a statewide historic significance that runs with it. It was a state tax credit project. It is located within the locally designated historic district and therefore had to go through the historic district approval process,” Bowman said during a May 11 phone interview.

For an audience pre-disposed to appreciate historic preservation challenges and rewards, Bowman will address the renovation’s period of significance — the 1940s — which permitted him to restore the rooftop widow’s walk.

“There are really beautiful views up there that can be enjoyed that were not for many years,” Bowman said.

The square portion of the rooftop, he explained, recently housed about six large mechanical units, a satellite dish and some other utility type things.

“It was partly our strategy in going with the geothermal wells and mechanical system; if we went in that direction we could eliminate those mechanical units and we did. We rebuilt the stair from the fourth floor to the widow’s walk and rebuilt the balustrade and really put that back together,” Bowman said.

The geothermal system-wide upgrade was a separate tax credit project making use of the site’s high elevation buffered by a centuries’ old retaining wall.

“The retaining wall is a historic thing unto itself,” Bowman added.
Other modifications include improvement of a Wright-era arbor and the introduction of a grand stair from the solarium to the basement level rec room, guest suite and apartment.

Two blocks away at the corner of Third and Orange streets, more historic restorations are underway at the Latimer House, an 1853 Italianate dwelling, now headquarters for the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, Inc.

Board president Tom Crittenden outlined the extensive renovation during a May 8 phone interview.

Mrs. Latimer’s bedroom, he said, had been re-plastered, picture rail repaired and a bed once belonging to the Bellamy family restored. Upper-story room refurbishments revealed some unusual finds; one, a glass window pane etched with the name Latimer has been removed and placed under plexiglass for display; and, two, a ceiling cutaway shadowbox exposes charred timbers from a 1981 fire, lathe and brickwork, Crittenden said. A basement dining room, underutilized by the Latimer family, has been adapted for reuse as a meeting room.

The exterior paint color has been taken back to the original tint, ironwork found on the Orange Street façade restored and the Third Street porch completely rebuilt, also by D.P. Thomas Construction. The renovations are partially funded by a grant from the Orton Foundation, the local affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon in 1992. Work is expected to be complete in the spring of 2015.


Historic Wilmington Foundation

Preservation Talks

Wednesday, May 13 6:30 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church, Cameron Center, 207 S. Third St.

Bruce Bowman will discuss the rehabilitation of the Governor Dudley Mansion. Free


Lower Cape Fear Historical Society

Latimer House Slave Quarters Dedication

Sunday, May 17, 3 p.m.

Dedication of Latimer House Slave Quarters during LCFHS annual meeting. The public is welcomed to attend.


Bellamy Mansion Museum


Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m.

Architectural historian Edward F. Turberg, church historian for St. James Parish, will address Wilmington’s religious and architectural history. Free.


Historic Wilmington Foundation

Preservation Awards Ceremony

Thursday, May 21, 6 p.m.

Historic New Hanover County Courthouse, 24 N. Third St.

Awards presented for restoration, rehabilitation, compatible infill and adaptive reuse projects and the David Brinkley Preservationist of the Year. Free reception follows.


Historic Wilmington Foundation

James D. and Rosalie W. Carr Plaque Dedication

Tuesday, May 26, 11 a.m.
The Hotel Cape Fear, corner of Chestnut and North Second streets


Historic Wilmington Foundation

2015 Most Threatened Historic Places List Announcement

Wednesday, May 27, Site and time TBA.

North Carolina Deputy Stat Historic Preservation Officer Ramona Bartos presents. Visit


Bellamy Mansion Museum


Thursday, May 28, 6:30 p.m.

Join Bellamy Mansion former director and Penland School of Craft Fundraising Director Beverly Ayscue as she highlights the programs and work at this world-renowned site.


Historic Wilmington Foundation

Tour of Bladen and Columbus County Historic Plantations and Churches

Sunday, May 31,1- 6:30 p.m.

The tour will feature the c. 1845 Black Rock Plantation and the c.1780 Oakland Plantation as well as Carver’s Creek Methodist Church, a Greek Revival church built in 1859, and Carver’s Creek AME Zion Church built in the late 19th Century. Space is limited and reservations are required. HWF members $30, nonmembers $40. Roundtrip bus transportation included. RSVP by Tuesday, May 26.


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