There was good news among the not-so-good Wednesday when Historic Wilmington Foundation
unveiled its 2014 Most Threatened Historic Places list. This is the ninth year that the foundation has published the list, part of its campaign to “preserve the unique architectural heritage and quality of life of southeastern North Carolina,” according to a news release from the foundation.
A last-minute announcement that the Murchison Building in downtown Wilmington had just been purchased at auction was cause for rejoicing by preservationists.
“This historic skyscraper, which was to be placed on this year’s Watch List, was actually saved just before the release and is an example of preservation in action,” the release stated.
Thomas Simpson, president of Wilmington Developement Partners LLC, which is in the process of purchasing the building, has said his firm intends to rehabilitate the building and possibly take advantage of the North Carolina and federal preservation tax credits for the work, according to the release.
“The future of the building looks bright and for this reason the Historic Wilmington Foundation feels it is no longer threatened,” the release stated.
Among the properties in the Cape Fear area that remain on the list are the John Bellamy Carriage House (Wilmington), the Ewing-Bordeaux Cottage (Wrightsville Beach), the Leimone Homestead (Burgaw), the Joseph Hewett Sr. Cemetery (Holden Beach), the Market Street corridor between 17th Street and Colonial Drive (Wilmington), two Rocky Point school buildings – one for white students and one for African American students – and Pender County’s Rosenwald Schools.
The annual list was produced through a public nomination process which brought in twelve new nominations, the release stated.
The purpose of the foundation’s Most Threatened Historic Places program is to “focus attention on threatened historic places and to illustrate the importance and benefits of historic preservation in our community,” according to the release, which continued, “The program has helped raise public awareness of historic places as well as generate creative new solutions and ideas for sites in desperate need of attention. A threatened places program also helps the public understand the broad range of preservation concerns.”