new beginnings for a HISTORIC SPACE
SING the pictures, the Walkers were able to iden-tify
original features and bring them back to life.
“We discovered that the storefront is standing
on cast iron,” Andrea says.
Cast iron on buildings, she learned, became obsolete when the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad left in 1955.
“We emphasized this feature by painting the cast iron black,
and love to show our visitors the fun party trick that you can
stick magnets to our cast iron storefront,” Andrea says.
A new story was revealed each day as walls and ceilings were
“We found vertical wood-slat walls with shelf lines that tell
the story of when the Hall’s Pharmacy was once housed in the
first-floor south unit,” Andrea says. “There are mathematical
accounting scripts on the walls. We found beautiful bead board
and hidden doors that go nowhere.”
A floor restoration specialist was hired to scale the floors and
stair treads instead of sanding them.
“Sanding would have been the easy route,” Andrea says.
“Instead they worked into the wee hours of the night, on their
hands and knees, scaling the floors. That floor was Brad’s
Scaling restored the wood without removing its history. The
Walkers made sure historic imperfections were left in place.
“Our family spent most of our time removing the nails from
the ceiling boards,” Andrea says. “Our contractor then had
carpenters put the ceiling wood back up on the ceiling. It is my
favorite feature of the building.”
Reconstructing the balcony on the side of the building was
the only project that remained when Lighthouse Films moved
into its new offices in late 2019. The Walkers used Iris’s photos
to prove to the historic preservation offices that it did once
exist, gaining permission to build it back.
The photos from Iris have been reproduced and are framed
and hanging in the hallways for visitors to see.
“It used to be a grocery store,” Spera says. “That’s so cool.”
Iris, who had driven by the building for years, was one of
the first people invited in to see the renovation.
“I love it,” she says. “I really appreciate the film industry,
that’s why I really love that they have the building.”
Today the Richter Building beams new light with a fresh-ened
look and sturdier foundation.
“It feels good to be taking care of a building that has seen
Wilmington go through so much,” Andrea says. “What would
she say if she could speak? What wisdom could she give us all?
My hope is that she would say thank you, that she feels beauti-ful
and strong and is happy to welcome all that walk through
her doors to her family, her new Lighthouse family.”
COURTESY OF LIGHTHOUSE FILMS
WBM october 2020