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What are those brown and black plaques on all the old buildings?

Ben Steelman

They’re a project of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, to document historic properties and increase public awareness of historic preservation. More than 375 plaques have been installed to date.

To get a plaque, a building must lie within New Hanover County and be at least 75 years old. (For Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, the rules are bent a little; buildings there are eligible after just 50 years.)

Plaques are color-coded. Buildings older than 100 years get a black plaque; structures 75 to 100 years old get a maroon plaque. Historic alleys are eligible for a green plaque. Beach structures older than 50 years may have a plaque in a sea-oats color with black lettering.

To get a plaque, property owners must submit an application to the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Among other items, applicants must present a detailed, documented history of the structure, including information about the original owners. (If you need help, the foundation can point you to any of a number of local architectural historians, who can do the work for an appropriate fee.)

The application will be reviewed by the foundation’s plaque committee, which meets on the second Wednesday of each month. The review process, and the preparation of an appropriate historical text for the proposed text, might take a number of months. Owners are expected to bear the final cost of the plaque: $350 for members of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, $400 for non-members.

Details on the plaque program are available from the Historic Wilmington Foundation, 762-2511.

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One Response to “ What are those brown and black plaques on all the old buildings?”

  1. On October 13, 2009 at 11:55 am Gareth Evans wrote:

    Hi Ben, it probably says 375 plaques somewhere in our information but the number is actually almost 500 plaques. Thanks, Gareth

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