Historical Context

A deeper dive into some history of the building arts in Wilmington, NC

  • Wilmington has a rich history of African-American community achievement in architecture, building and craft. The Howe family builders were among other notables including Robert Robinson Taylor (1868-1942), the first African-American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Architecture and Black architects certified in the United States. Read more about this rich history in A Guide to Wilmington’s African American Heritage (City of Wilmington, 2013; updated 2018)
  • Several members of the Howe family were accomplished in the building arts & sciences. For Howe family biographies and building lists with photos, please visit “The Howe Family of Wilmington, NC,” by Catherine W. Bishir in North Carolina Architects & Builders
  • Listen to Howe descendant Cynthia Brown discussing the Howe family of builders and educators

Alfred Howe House

301 Queen Street

The Alfred Howe House, with its Mansard roof, is an excellent example of a Second Empire style house. Alfred Howe (1817-1892) and his two brothers, Anthony (ca. 1807-1870) and Pompey (d. 1869), were slave carpenters who purchased their freedom when they were young. They built many fine houses in Wilmington, including Alfred’s dwelling at 310 Queen Street. Alfred devoted his life to public service. He was a member of the Board of Alderman, a city assessor and a director of the Freedmen’s Savings & Trust Bank. He served as a vestryman and senior warden of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, as well as the president of the board of Pine Forest Cemetery, where he is buried, and a member of the Wilmington Free School Committee. Exterior viewing only.

Excerpt from A Guide to Wilmington’s African American Heritage (City of Wilmington, 2013; updated 2018)

Alfred Howe House, 301 Queen Street (Credit: Zillow)