Many of us have grown to love and adore the beauty of Wilmington. Although it has grown significantly over the years, it has somehow maintained its impeccable uniqueness - specifically in the Historic Downtown areas. Anyone who has explored the area, even briefly, would likely agree that it has held on to its ability to charm you. What about the many neighborhoods within the town? Are they equally as charming? Jesse, who is the Owner/Realtor® at Salt + Stone Property Group, grew up in Wilmington. He has watched it grow over the years and has a wealth of knowledge about the history of the city. Let’s have a look at what he has to say about what he believes to be the Top 5 Classic Wilmington Neighborhoods!


Jesse Canady - 


“As we all know, Wilmington is a Historic town. One of my favorite things to do is take a walk through downtown and observe the character and architecture! The charm and historical significance of this city is well-represented in neighborhoods like Carolina Place, Forest Hills, and (of course) the main Historic District. However, let's take a second and look at some of the neighborhoods that share that same charm and elements of historical significance, yet maybe do not get the same recognition. Here are my top 5 “Classic” Wilmington neighborhoods:


Long Leaf Hills

This is an absolute classic Wilmington neighborhood. Nestled in the heart of the city, it spans 7 different streets filled with brick ranches on oversized lots. Construction on this neighborhood started in the 1950s, about 25 years after the municipal golf course was built, and quickly sold out! This neighborhood has a relatively concentrated amount of homes that are featured on the “NC Modernist” website, showcasing unique, forward thinking architecture for respective time periods. The location is truly the feature of this neighborhood, as it is right in between Long Leaf Park and Municipal golf course; all three used to be on the same parcel.


Colonial Village

A circular neighborhood in midtown, these homes are all relatively the same floor plan (2 bed, 1 bath with a small attached flex room) built in the early 40s. Unique features of the neighborhood include deep lots for almost every home, and a designated area that eventually got the name “Mothers Park”. While mothers were at home during the day, they would gather their children in this area and it eventually became a park. Personally, my favorite feature about this neighborhood is an inter-community tie that represents local business supporting other local businesses. The original floors in each property in Colonial village featured hardwood flooring milled to a special width (smaller than usual) by Godwin’s Lumber. 



Channel Haven

This is the newest neighborhood on the list, and while I may be biased due to my connections to the neighborhood, one cannot pass the double arches off of Masonboro Loop Road that say “Channel Haven” and not agree that it is classic Wilmington. Built by reputable developers in the late 60’s, it is still home to some of the original homeowners. What makes this neighborhood unique is the man-made channel that heads westward into the neighborhood and allows for homeowners to have their boats docked in their backyards. The central location off of Masonboro Loop Road allows for quick access to either Carolina or Wrightsville Beaches. For years, Channel Haven homeowners would have an annual fish fry for neighbors, a tradition that is carried on to this day. The overall community has always been represented well within the streets of CH!




Closer to downtown lies Brookwood. Built on land formerly owned by the Kenans, it was the first Wilmington neighborhood to adapt to the automobile, and not be based on street-cars. Situated perfectly next to Wallace park, the community is only three streets wide and a few blocks deep. Homes are not as large as the neighboring Forest Hills, yet typically larger than the neighbor to the west, Carolina Place. Construction began in the 20’s and the demand is still at a high level for this neighborhood. The community comradery that is present in so many Wilmington neighborhoods is also alive and well in Brookwood. Many families take trips to the neighboring park. At one point, there was a community garden/nature trail made up of the homeowner's backyards! There are so many interesting points about this neighborhood that it definitely ends up on my top 5 classic list. 



Sunset Park

Last, and definitely not least, is one of the first neighborhoods that was built outside of Historic Downtown- Sunset Park. This was a wildly popular neighborhood when it was built. Lots began selling in 1912. According to the newspapers at the time, instead of selling 100 lots at the first auction event, they ended up selling 147! From there, demand only grew. Also included in newspapers at the time was a poem written to entice new homeowners: 


"Beyond the placid waters/Of Greenfield’s lovely lake,

There lies as fair a region/As skillful hands can make


It reaches to the “Dram Tree”/Made famous long ago;

And many mounds and batteries/It’s history will show


Regardless of the prices/It costs to reach the mark,

We’ll beautify the landscape/Of lovely Sunset Park


With Granolithic sidewalks/And streets macadamized,

We’ll leave all other places/Neglected and despised


Each man who owns a cottage/That he can call his own,

Will be a little Monarch/That no one can dethrone


Each lot will have it’s sewers/To take the filth away

And water mains to furnish/The ones who come to stay


The sun will shine at daylight/Electric lines at dark,

We’ll have a fairy city/At lovely Sunset Park


To each prospective buyer/We’ll offer terms to please,

So that everyone may purchase/A home with perfect ease


No painter can portray it/His brush would be too dark,

To give the glowing colors, of lovely SUNSET PARK."


Since it was built, the floorplans and lots have appealed to the population for over 100 years. Entertainment has always been at the forefront of the features of the neighborhood. With Greenfield Lake next door, boating and fishing have been popular activities for a long time. Recently, the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater draws thousands of visitors each year to come see spectacular musical acts. My guess is that this neighborhood will continue to remain a hot spot for years to come! 



You may have heard of some (or all) of these. In a nutshell, they represent how great of an area it is that we get to live in! Have any questions about any of these neighborhoods? Let's chat! I would love to hear what your classic Wilmington neighborhoods are.”



Do you agree with Jesse's picks for the Top 5 Classic Wilmington Neighborhoods? Let us know! Our agents at Salt + Stone have worked extensively within these neighborhoods and know their stuff. Reach out if you are interested in learning more.