Airlie Gardens in Wilmington passed through several owners, and each added his special touch. Once visited only by the social elite, the gardens opened to the public when W.A. Corbett purchased them in 1947. Home to the 150-year-old Airlie live oak and other Southern flora, Airlie Gardens almost fell prey to developers. They were saved through the efforts of C. Bruce Williams, who helped the New Hanover County Commissioners purchase them from the Corbett family in 1999 for $10.5 million. The gardens are currently under restoration.