Wilmington History Walk

Our Wilmington History Walk is an excellent way to orient yourself with this beautiful city’s past. We’ll start within view of the mighty Cape Fear River and discuss how this place came to be. We’ll then take a leisurely stroll through Wilmington’s tree-lined streets, taking note of the people and places that shaped its history.

Some topics covered include Wilmington’s involvement in the Revolution, including the War’s first major American victory and the multiple stays of Lord Cornwallis. You’ll learn of Wilmington’s role in the Civil War and how it became the lifeline of the Confederacy. We’ll discuss the Antebellum and post-War experience of African Americans, including one of the most tragic, racist attacks in our nation’s history. We’ll tie up our time together with today’s most recent boom, ranging from our thriving port to the dozens of movies and television shows filmed here. Throughout our walk, we’ll sprinkle in colorful stories about our historic homes, stunning churches, and Wilmingtonians who made national contributions.

Whether a tourist or longtime resident, you’ll walk away with a greater appreciation of all things Wilmington. 

This tour covers roughly 3/4 mile and runs approximately two hours. $25/adult, kids are free.

Wilmington Dark History

Ghost tours can certainly be entertaining, but the story as told and the actual history behind the story isn’t always the same. Consider this the history lover’s alternative to a ghost tour.  

Before Wilmington was even a city, Pirates plied the waters of the Cape Fear River. One even met his fate here. The following years brought the depravity of the British soldiers, which was met with equal horror on behalf of the Patriots. You’ll see the site of a fire that claimed both a heroic firefighter and his loyal pooch. We’ll discuss a notorious Confederate spy and her unusual death while running the blockade off Wilmington. Fires nearly leveled the city on more than one occasion. With this being the coastal South, Yellow Fever and hurricanes also wrought havoc on the area. With so much dark history in this city, there’s no need to make anything up!

This tour covers roughly 3/4 mile and runs approximately two hours. $25/adult, kids are free.

Civil War Wilmington

Our guide will discuss the Civil War in the Lower Cape Fear when Wilmington played a more important role in our nation’s history than at any other time. In 1860 Wilmington was North Carolina’s busiest seaport and most populated city. By 1863 Wilmington was the Confederacy’s main seaport for the blockade running trade and known as the “Lifeline of the Confederacy.” By late 1864 Wilmington was the most important city in the South. While touring local Civil War sites in historic downtown Wilmington, our guide will tell fascinating stories of Cape Fearians during the troublesome times. Have you heard about the “great escape” by William B. Gould and other enslaved African Americans; the renowned Confederate spy Rose O’Neale Greenhow; and the underbelly of the Las Vegas of the Confederacy? This and much more!

$25/adult, kids are free.

Wilmington’s Jewish History Tour

This Jewish tour of the Historic District and Downtown Wilmington will include
The Temple of Israel, the rabbinic houses, the site of the home of Arthur
Bluethenthal, a WWI war hero, the Rheinstein House (with Gallows Hill), The
Temple of Israel, the Lazarus-Devine House, several mercantile buildings Downtown, and the twin houses built for the Otterberg sisters, one of whom was
married to Mayor Fishblatt, the first Jewish mayor in North Carolina. Of course,
while on the tour much else about Wilmington can be seen and will be explained. There are many great stories of charity, robbery and detective work, and the transformation of the community from German Jews to Jewish Southerners. Wear comfortable walking shoes as we will cover a lot of ground!

$25/adult, kids are free.

Oakdale Cemetery Walking Tour

Hear some of the incredible life stories of people interred there dating back to 1855, when the cemetery opened. Dr. William C. Willkings died in the last fatal duel in North Carolina in 1856. The following year, the family of Nance Martin buried her in the cask of rum in which her remains had been placed after passing away on a round-the-world sea voyage with her father and brother. Captain William A. Ellerbrock and his beloved pet dog Boss were buried together after being killed in a terrible fire in downtown Wilmington in 1880.

Runs two hours. Meets at main gate, north end of 15th Street.

$25/adult, kids are free.

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