2023 Preservation Awards

Each year, Historic Wilmington Foundation honors the very special people enacting our mission through exemplary preservation efforts through adaptive reuse, rehabilitation, and restoration.

(Want to peruse our past Preservation Awards recipients? Click to view our winners from 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019!)
On May 18, the Historic Wilmington Foundation honored the winners of our 2023 Preservation Awards at the historic New Hanover County courthouse.
To the right, you may peruse a gallery of photos from the event, taken by Leigh-Anne Stump (creativefocusbyla.pixieset.com). 


To view captions, click on the image, and the gallery will expand into a slideshow, including the caption text at the bottom.

To view the galleries (with before and after shots!), hover over the image and use the left and right arrows to view all the photos; you may also click to expand the image.


 definition: a building that is preserved through a new use that maximizes the retention of distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships

The Eagle’s Dare (420 N. 3rd Street)

Joseph Apkarian | Nigel White & Billy Forbis, Rumble Williams Construction | Rob Romero, Romero Architecture | Morgan Dail, Deeply Rooted Interiors | Huffines, Boneyard Garage

The adaptive reuse of the c. 1970 service station into The Eagle’s Dare was led by entrepreneur Joseph Apkarian, owner of Pour House and co-owner of Taco Baby. The project team included Nigel White and Billy Forbis (Rumble Williams Construction), Rob Romero (Romero Architecture), Morgan Dail (Deeply Rooted Interiors), and Kyle Huffines (Boneyard Garage)

The Eagle’s Dare bridges the gap between the central business district with the historic Brooklyn neighborhood. By adaptively-reusing the service station, the project team preserved one of downtown Wilmington’s few offerings of mid-century modern architecture. Inside, the decor and salvaged materials continue the mid-century theme. Today, The Eagle’s Dare visually anchors the northern entryway into the Wilmington Historic District.

Bottle Works (921 Princess Street)

Andy Hewitt and Sandy Thorpe, Parastream Development | Coast Capital Partners | BHM Architecture | DSA Engineering | Monteith Construction

The adaptive reuse of the Coca-Cola bottling facility was conceived by Andrew Hewitt and Sandy Thorpe of Parastream Development. The project team included Coast Capital Partners, BMH Architecture, DSA Engineering, and Monteith Construction. Parastream Development is revitalizing more than 7 acres of land in downtown Wilmington as the “Soda Pop District.” Their project includes the adaptive reuse of several historic buildings, including the c. 1945 Buick Oldsmobile Dealership, which received a 2021 Preservation Award. The Bottle Works Building is approximately 74,000 square feet and is described as an urban-flex warehouse. The building’s tenants include Patriot Roofing & Exteriors, Beach & Barn, and even vendor markets. Parastream Development’s preservation efforts in the Soda Pop District re-establish integrity into buildings excluded from the Wilmington Historic District.

Fermental Beer & Wine (600 S. 17th Street)

Kristen & Steve Gibbs | John Riggs | Jay Dilley, Real Properties

Owners Kristen and Steve Gibbs are credited with initiating the adaptive reuse of the c. 1955 Crown Service Station into Fermental Beer & Wine. The project team included Jay Dilley with Real Properties and contractor John Riggs.

Construction successfully refitted the property for its current use while maintaining the integrity of the Art Moderne service station by preserving its design, workmanship, and materials. During construction, the original blueprints of the service station were discovered and are now on display in Fermental. Thanks to the commitment of the Gibbs and Real Properties, this property continues to contribute to the historic significance and integrity of the Westbrook-Ardmore Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2009.


definition: a building that is repaired and/or altered while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values; features may include, but are not limited to, porch columns, siding, balustrades, windows, and stairs

415 Orange Street

Marcia & Sean Frelke

Homeowners Marcia and Sean Frelke rehabilitated the Susan B. Moore House, built in 1905 in the National Folk style. During the rehabilitation, wood rot and window deterioration were addressed by replacing like-for-like. The sensitive approach to this rehabilitation preserved the architectural integrity of the house and contributed to the recent revitalization of the 400 block of Orange Street. (In 2019, 414 Orange Street won a Preservation Award!)

1407 Live Oak Parkway

Bruce Cassidy

The rehabilitation of this Georgian Revival house (c. 1926) included such work as repairing gutters and downspouts causing water damage, repairing the garage roof that sustained hurricane damage, as well as the replacement of the porch roof membrane, balustrades, and several columns.

The rehabilitation also featured mold removal, and the interior floors were refinished. A special thank you is warranted to Rothwell Simmons, owner of Carolina Custom Tile NC, who completed tile work but also lent a hand on other work when help was sorely needed!

Graystone Inn (100 S. 3rd Street)

Urban Building Corp | Element Outdoor Living | Dogwood Repairs and Renovations, LLC| Hipp Architecture & Development, PC | Illuminate Electrical Services

The rehabilitation of the 1906 Elizabeth H. Bridgers Mansion (known today as the Graystone Inn) was completed by Urban Building Corporation, Element Outdoor Living, Dogwood Repairs & Renovations, LLC, Hipp Architecture & Development, PC, and Illuminate Electrical Services. The scope of work included intensive cleaning of the brownstone exterior of the mansion, which brightened the facade and contributed to the stone’s continued maintenance. A major rehabilitation of the property’s gardens was also completed. The landscaping added green space to downtown Wilmington by removing an impervious driveway and replacing it with gardens. All together, the rehabilitation project increased site lines and accessibility to this staple of the Wilmington Historic District.

614 Queen Street

Shameem & John Ravelli

Shameem and John Ravelli rehabilitated this Folk Victorian cottage—replacing the standing-seam, metal roof and addressing wood rot on the building’s envelope. The Ravelli’s replaced like-for-like by respecting the variety of siding materials, including German shiplap siding. Restoration of the cottage’s porch posts and folk Victorian brackets re-introduced pieces of the building’s architecture back into the façade, which greatly improved the cottage’s integrity.

 319 N. 7th Street

Tori & Phil Fish, Bellewood Group

Built in 1888, this historic home was in a sad state of neglect and disrepair when Bellewood Group acquired the property in December of January 2021. Bellewood Group is a small family team consisting of Jake Dubinski (general contractor), Phil Fish (real estate), and Tori Dubinski Fish (designer). The home was historically used as a private practice office for local African American doctor Leroy Upperman.

The rehabilitation of the property focused on returning the home back to a single-family residence, as it had been converted to a duplex at one time. Both inside and out, the design choices reflected historically appropriate material choices. The rehabilitation team took great care with all the millwork in the home, including the crown moldings, window trim work, and the operating transom windows above the interior doors. Where historic items could not be salvaged, appropriate modern pieces were brought in, including a refinished claw foot tub.

1614 Dock Street

Landon Biehl & Matt Rhoney, New Wave Homes, LLC

Landon Biehl and Matt Rhoney of New Wave Homes rehabilitated this c. 1920 bungalow in the Westbrook-Ardmore Historic District.

The project included a full restoration of the historic, wood windows. Each window was brought back to working condition by the homeowners by dissecting the weight-and-rope systems and restoring the mechanisms. Wood rot was addressed on the building’s siding, which was preserved as wood, German shiplap siding. The bungalow’s porch posts and beadboard in the soffits and porch ceilings were replaced like-for-like. Materials found at Legacy Architectural Salvage were utilized in the rehabilitation of the historic bungalow.

418 S. 5th Avenue

Karen & Michael Strittmatter

In November of 2021, Karen and Michael Strittmatter purchased the condemned home at 418 S. 5th Avenue, which had sat vacant for the last four years. With the help of Addis Construction, they quickly set to work on the rehabilitation project, converting the 1913 building from a duplex back to its original use as a single-family home.

The house was taken down to the original frame and foundation, and the HVAC, plumbing, and electricity were fully rehabilitated. Leveling the house was a challenge—but a major improvement! A new metal roof was installed, and all salvageable windows were restored. The original wood flooring was kept, with rotted/missing boards being replaced with historic wood flooring from Legacy Architectural Salvage. As for the home’s exterior, the original wood clapboard siding was utilized for the majority of the house.


definition: a building that accurately reflects the form, features, and character of the building as it appeared at a particular period of time by replacing missing elements, removing later elements, and limiting modern upgrades required to make the property functional

Reaves Chapel (2024 Cedar Hill Rd NE, Leland)

Coastal Land Trust | Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation | Balding Design Build

Reaves Chapel’s origins date to the 1860s when the chapel was located on a plantation along the Cape Fear River. Later, the congregation relocated the church a mile inland to its present location on Cedar Hill Road.

In 2019, the Coastal Land Trust purchased the church and began restoration efforts, in partnership with the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation. Balding Design Build has served as the project’s general contractor. The scope of work included: lifting the structure to repair the masonry foundation, restoration of the steeple (removed and replaced during the project), and restoration of the stained glass windows (now protected by covers). Interior restrooms were removed to restore the church to its original floor plan. Once complete, the historic church will be turned over to North Carolina for operation as a new State Historic Site interpreting the history of the Gullah Geechee culture.


The Award of Merit honors an entity or endeavor that is not a piece of built history (i.e., a film, event, or website).

John McCarthy

McCarthy’s career as a master plasterer spans from his native Massachusetts to Wilmington. In our region, McCarthy was the plasterer for the enslaved quarters restoration at the Bellamy which was completed in 2013. After the Bellamy sustained damage during Hurricane Florence, McCarthy once again served the historic site with plaster restoration. Also after Hurricane Florence, McCarthy restored the plaster in the Barry House on South 3rd Street. The Barry House was originally plastered by George Price, Sr., and George Price, Jr. Along with being leading plasterers in Wilmington during the mid-19th century, George Price, Sr. was a member of Giblem Lodge and George Price, Jr., was one of the first Black men to serve in the North Carolina legislature. Recently, McCarthy has led workshops on plaster with Legacy Architectural Salvage and is currently working at First Presbyterian Church.

Carl Marshburn

In 1987, Captain Carl Marshburn founded Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc., which offered tour boat rides on the Cape Fear River aboard, most famously, the Henrietta II from 1998-1999, followed by the Henrietta III until 2016. For decades, Marshburn has been a strong advocate for historic downtown Wilmington as a destination for tourists, recreation, and history. Described as a natural entertainer and a leader in tourism, his storytelling gifts have kept alive the histories of shipwrecks lining the banks of the Cape Fear River. On top of his work promoting heritage tourism, Marshburn is a capable steward of several contributing resources in the Wilmington Historic District.

Cape Fear Unearthed

StarNews | John Staton | Hunter Ingram

Produced by StarNews Media, Cape Fear Unearthed is a podcast about southeastern North Carolina history. Since 2018, the podcast’s episodes feature stories drawn from the region’s persisting legends, historical oddities, and mysterious figures. Episodes have discussed Joe Baldwin, Trouble the Whale, Topsy the Elephant, to name a few. In March of 2021, the host of Cape Fear Unearthed transitioned from Hunter Ingram to John Staton, who continues to host the podcast today. For years, Cape Fear Unearthed has made our local history accessible to a wider audience and has inspired a deep appreciation for historic preservation within our community. 

John N. Smith Cemetery

John N. Smith Cemetery Restoration and Preservation, Inc.; Owen Gidlow, registered land surveyor

John N. Smith Cemetery is an African American cemetery located in Southport. The cemetery’s first recorded burial was in 1874 and its grounds are the final resting place for an estimated 1,500 souls, including farmers, teachers, businessmen, laborers, and veterans from the Civil War. Efforts to preserve the cemetery are led by a third-generation cemetery organization under the title John N. Smith Cemetery Restoration and Preservation, Inc. Their efforts were assisted by Owen Gidlow, a registered land surveyor who volunteered his services to map the cemetery. Thanks to funding from the American Association of Retired Persons Community Challenge Grant Program, interpretive signage was added to the cemetery in 2021. Additionally in 2021, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places, representing the Lower Cape Fear region’s most recent addition to the National Register. 


The David Brinkley Award honors extraordinary preservation work of large scale, scope, and effort.

Richard Johnson

This year’s David Brinkley Award goes to social entrepreneur Richard Johnson for his work in the preservation and conservation of live oaks, Masonboro Island, and the Burgaw Historic District.

Richard Johnson is the former CEO of Hotjobs. After Hotjob’s sale to Yahoo!, Johnson relocated to Lower Cape Fear and is now focused on family and philanthropy. Johnson established Penderlea Farms, which strives to preserve and repopulate the region’s historic live oak trees, such as the Airlie Oak and Masonboro Baptist. By harvesting acorns from these storied oaks and propagating them on the 575-acre farm, Penderlea Farms seeks to preserve the history and genetics of our region’s live oaks for generations to come. In 2009, Johnson founded the non-profit organization Masonboro.org. The organization’s mission is to protect public access, promote responsible use, and preserve the traditions of Masonboro Island. Volunteers lead efforts to collect waste on the uninhabited barrier island, and the organization offers a field trip to Masonboro for every eligible 5th grader in New Hanover County.
Lastly, Johnson’s Burgaw Now is a community-based venture that focuses on the preservation, revitalization, and development of Burgaw. Through this venture, Johnson purchased seven vacant, historic buildings in downtown Burgaw. Their adaptive reuse has resulted in the opening of Fat Daddy’s pizzeria and Burgaw Brewing. Last year, Johnson launched The Own Your Own Company, which facilitated a contest for want-to-be entrepreneurs to open a restaurant in downtown Burgaw with a budget up to one million dollars and a team of architects, designers, and builders. (Photo credit: Greater Wilmington Business Journal‘s article, Boosting Burgaw)

George W. Edwards Award

The George W. Edwards Award honors a volunteer, intern, or staff member demonstrating exemplary integrity and commitment on behalf of local preservation.

Lauren Hyduchak-Ryan & Mark Ryan

Lauren and Mark are selfless, dedicated volunteers at Legacy Architectural Salvage. Their volunteerism extends to both the warehouse and deconstructions. Both are a familiar face at most of the organization’s events—from markets, to fundraisers, to annual meetings. Together, Lauren and Mark are generous members and donors to the Historic Wilmington Foundation and its preservation efforts.

For the last two years, Lauren has served as a house captain during the Azalea Festival Home Tour while also serving on the Home Tour Committee. Lauren also serves on the Legacy Advisory Committee, where she takes minutes and helps create planning documents. Additionally, Lauren has volunteered at reception at HWF’s headquarters and is known for her creativity with upcycling items found at Legacy.

Mark assists the organization with its information technology needs, such as training staff on cybersecurity, setting up new pieces of technology, and troubleshooting. He serves as a docent during the Home Tour and is an invaluable member of the woodshop crew at Legacy.