Wilmington Visitors Center to be Named After Bob Jenkins, Legendary Tour Guide for 30 Years
A beloved tour guide is remembered.
Wilmington, North Carolina, is most certainly a popular tourist destination. Each year, thousands of people flock to the community by the sea to dip their toes in the ocean, check out the WWII battleship North Carolina, walk their way through the gardens, and visit one of the area’s many museums. And visitors have come to know and love all of these places thanks in large part to one man: Bob Jenkins.
Jenkins, who died in 2018 at the age of 83, was a beloved local tour guide in the area. He was famous for his two-hour walking tours of the city. And now, the city is showing some love for the legend by naming its new visitor’s center after him.
“Bob was an institution downtown,” Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes told the Star News Online about the new center, officially called The Bob Jenkins Visitor Information Center. “He was one of the main people to welcome visitors to this city and some citizens came up with the idea to name the visitors center after him.”
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Truly, if anyone is worth the honor of having the center named after them its Jenkins. As The Star News Online previously reported, Jenkins was born right in Wilmington in 1935. After traveling the world for a bit Jenkins resettled in the city and opened Jenkins Interiors, a small antique and interior design business, and lived right in the apartment above the store.
Then in 1984, Jenkins launched Wilmington Adventure Tours Co and became a full-time guide just a few short years later.
As a guide, Jenkins was even profiled by The New York Times. Of his tours, travel writer Chris Dixon wrote, “Under his straw hat, Mr. Jenkins’s mind probably holds as much living knowledge of the city as anyone’s. And with a mile-wide drawl, he’ll tell you about it as he bounds through town, rolling off facts like an auctioneer and stopping all traffic with a lift of his arm and cane.”
Dixon added, “Mr. Jenkins can provide the history of almost every building and colorful details about the gentry who built them.”
Soon, the plaque will be installed so everyone will remember Jenkins and what he brought to the city.
“We like to say he was one of our tourism pioneers, and really was the first to really start a walking tour,” Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau director Kim Hufham said. “He was a visitor attraction in himself and helped bring tourism back to downtown. It is befitting that they name the center after him.”