Historic Wilmington Foundation is preparing to open a door that closed about nine years ago.
Architectural elements with historic value, including the most popular items like doors and windows, will be available to buy from a new source in the Port City when HWF opens a store on Dawson Street this year, potentially by June.
The foundation operated an historic architectural salvage marketplace previously in donated space on Brunswick Street. But the operation had to close after six years, in 2006, when the property owner needed the space for a new tenant, said George Edwards, HWF’s executive director.
Edwards said Thursday that the marketplace’s new incarnation will be housed in 1,800 square feet of space behind Stevens Hardware at 1831 Dawson St., which the foundation leased for $600 a month for two years from the owners of the hardware business.
He said the store will help keep architectural elements of historic value out of landfills and also fulfill a need for contractors and owners working on repairs to historic homes and businesses.
“There aren’t many historic architectural salvage operations in the state,” Edwards said.
A culmination of about 14 months' worth of planning, the store is being funded with the help of an $11,300 community development grant from the city of Wilmington, and as part of the grant requirements, the foundation’s salvage operation will include an important educational component in the form of workshops and training for young adults in carpentry skills, Edwards said. The workshops, similar to sessions HWF has hosted in the past, will focus on tasks such as window repair and paint preparation for wood surfaces and be held at the new location.
Dolores Williams, an HWF volunteer and formerly an assistant city attorney for Wilmington who worked with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, will help get the operation going by serving as a volunteer general manager, Edwards said.
HWF has a small amount of inventory, but hopes to get donations of historic architectural elements from the community, Edwards said. The group is also collaborating with local contractor Christopher Yermal to help him get his historic architectural inventory sold in the new space and split the proceeds.
According to the National Register of Historic Places standard, something could be labeled "historic" if it is at least 50 years old.