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Historic Preservation

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Our Preservation Planner works to preserve Wilson’s rich history.  The position is focused on providing support to the Wilson Historic Preservation Commission and administering the Historic District Design Guidelines.  Assistance is given to property owners to help steward their preservation projects through the approval process by providing technical support and advocacy.

Dana Corson, Preservation Planner,



The goal of establishing local historic districts zoning is to preserve the historic buildings and other significant resources that define and reflect elements of the City’s history. The historic resources found in local historic districts embody the traditional qualities and characteristics of a city or town, creating an attractive environment which is conducive to residential, commercial, and industrial uses as well as tourism and promotes pleasure, education and welfare of the residents of the community.

The Wilson Historic Preservation Ordinance allows for the purpose of the Wilson Local Historic District to be carried out by the Historic Preservation Commission.

The first North Carolina general enabling statute allowing a local government to create a local preservation commission and establish a local historic district was passed in 1965. The law has been amended several times, but the statute in effect today is North Carolina General Statutes, 160A-400.1 through 14 and is included in Appendix 8.



There are three designated Local Historic Districts in Wilson: Old Wilson, West Nash, and Broad-Kenan. Each follows the same boundaries as their respective National Register district based on architectural surveys.

Approx. 740 parcels are in the three districts and are thus under the jurisdiction of the Historic Preservation Commission [HPC]. Wilson also has two additional National Register Historic Districts: East Wilson and Downtown/Tobacco Warehouse. These areas are currently not included in Wilson’s Local Historic District and are therefore not under the purview of the Historic Preservation Commission.



Click here to see if your property lies within the boundaries of the Wilson Local Historic District.



Exterior alterations to properties in historic districts must be reviewed and approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. Property owners must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) to ensure that proposed work is compatible with the nature of the property and the character of the surrounding properties in the historic district.



Understand the laws governing Wilson’s Local Historic Districts. Discover local history and preservation resources. Learn more about available tax incentives, grants and financial assistance for historic preservation projects. 



Whenever a property owner proposes exterior work to a property located in Wilson’s local historic districts, it should consult the following resources: