Wilkinson was a well-known Durham building contractor and developer and built more than a hundred houses in Durham, including much of the southeastern portion of the Duke Park neighborhood from the 1930s through the 1960s. He named Anita Street for his daughter, now Anita Wilkinson Brame.
Born to John Walker Wilkinson and Mary Pearl Wray Wilkinson in Durham in 1913, Wilkinson grew up in East Durham on Angier Avenue and studied architectural books on his own, with a primary interest in the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg. He learned much about building materials from his father, owner of Wilkinson Lumber Company. Wilkinson and all three of his brothers became involved in the building trade in Durham. Wilkinson. earned his contractor’s license at 17 and designed and helped build a one-and-a-half story bungalow on North Driver Street in East Durham for himself and his father and brothers soon thereafter.
In 1938, he married Frances Horn. In 1940, they settled into their first home together at 406 East Markham Avenue which he designed and built. In the early 1950s, Wilkinson built a larger Colonial Revival home farther north on Roxboro Road and moved there. This 6,000 square foot house was later sold to Northern High School that tore it down for a baseball field.