A fifth-generation Wilmingtonian, Ann Hewlett Hutteman attended Wilmington College and also taught school in the area. She met her husband, a Dutch geologist, in Venezuela, where she was a schoolteacher. The two married in Wilmington and have traveled and lived internationally for the past twenty years, but not without making frequent visits to Wilmington. She currently assists individuals across the country in researching their family lineage.
Q: Today is October 4, 2006. I'm Carroll Jones with Adina Riggins for the Randall Library Special Collections Oral History Program. Today, we're talking with Ann Hutteman in her home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Good afternoon, Ann.
Ann Hutteman: Good afternoon.
Q: I'd like to start this afternoon by asking you to talk about growing up in Wilmington, your family, what they did, and your remembrances of life at that time.
Ann Hutteman: Well, my family's been here for quite awhile. My father's family were Hewletts and they were from the Masonboro Sound area, and the family's been down there since before the Revolution. So they are we're real clam diggers, I would say. My mother's family was German. Her father was born in-- near Bremerhaven, Germany, in the province of Hanover, and which many of the German immigrants that came in the 1840s here, they were all born in the same area-- from the same area. And she was a Tinken [ph?], and her father was a Grosser [ph?]. And I grew up, of course, in Wilmington. And both of them were natives of Wilmington, so I-- that was, I think I'm the sixth generation (inaudible) that have been natives of this area, or at least lived in this area. I-- we lived in town with my grandmother when I was small on 9th Street, which was not too far from Robert Strange Park. So my first memories of anything at all is World War II because I had-- your husband and I-- I knew him when I was very young, too. And I remember the WACs, they were bivouacked in Robert Strange Park and they would march down 9th Street. And I remember they had the ugliest shoes I'd ever seen in my life. They were all clunky heeled because most of the styles then women were wearing were quite slender heels and quite high. And when one Christmas, I think, when I was about three or four, I wanted a choir robe because my mother sang in the choir, and a WAC suit.
Q: She sang in the choir-- which church?
Ann Hutteman: She sang in the choir at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Being German, that's how I--
Q: And she had a WAC uniform?
Ann Hutteman: No, I wanted that for me, being four years old. And so I got that, and I have pictures of me in my choir robe and my WAC outfit. And I-- my first vivid memories, of course, are on Sunday nights when Walter Winchell would come on and I was not allowed to peep because that was-- his news was quite, quite important. And my father and his friend would get down on the floor in the middle of the living room and plot out where the Germans were-- where the Americans were advancing, particularly in Europe. I don't remember much-- them talking much about the Pacific, but Europe was quite important to him.
Q: With their background?
Ann Hutteman: With their background, and so on. And my father did not serve in the military because he was in a strategic industry. He was a real estate dealer, and he rented houses all over town. So housing was, you know, there was just none here. And so he was instrumental in being on various committees and so on. And with Mr. Wilbur Jones. He was also on that real estate board. And Mr. Wilbur Jones, my mother and father worked with the same-- sort of the same company. My father was with __________ Realty and my mother worked for Carolina Savings & Loan. So my father sold houses, and my mother financed them. And Mr. Jones was worked with the Carolina, as did my mother. He was later president and my mother was later the corporate secretary. And she worked there for 52 years.
Q: Now Ann, at this time, where was the city limit? (inaudible)
Ann Hutteman: The city limits, when I was-- the first city limits was about 17th Street. And then it moved out, and when we moved out here, it was just about where Independence Boulevard comes in now. That was where the city limits was at the time.
Q: So Wilmington was a downtown community then?
Ann Hutteman: It was a downtown community. Everybody worked downtown. The biggest industry we had here at the time was Atlantic Coast Line.
Ann Hutteman: And we had-- everyone was related to someone that worked for the Coast Line, because it was paid quite well. I remember when my mother said that when she went to work for the Carolina that she had a good friend-- Johanna Rita [ph?]-- that worked for the Coast Line. And so she asked her-- she-- I don't remember what mother was making, but Johanna Rita was making $70 a month. And so she thought if she could ever make $70 a month, she would be in high hog heaven.
Ann Hutteman: She went to the Carolina in 1925.
Q: And at this time, did you-- obviously, because of your family background, you had quite a sense of history of southeastern North Carolina, or at least New Hanover County. But growing up in that period and then later, when the Coast Line moved out, did you see many obviously, in your life beginning with your memories, was in World War II, this place bulged.
Ann Hutteman: Right.
Q: No housing-- you just spoke to that.
Ann Hutteman: Right.
Q: And then what happened after that?
Ann Hutteman: Well, then we would just-- many of the folks that came during the world war stayed. And we a lot of the housing developments like South Oleander and this area right behind me-- Harvard Drive and that type of thing-- those streets were put in right after the war, as well as over here on Camellia Drive. They were all-- I would say right after the war-- places. And the famous bungalows or the ranch houses began to pop up all over town.
Q: Some of it was over off Wayne Drive.
Ann Hutteman: Wayne Drive. Well, Beaumont was right after the war, too.
Q: Now, who was building these homes right after the war?
Ann Hutteman: Well, a cooperative-- Devon Park [ph?] was my cooperative savings and loan in Willets Realty Company [ph?].
Q: Okay. What I mean is, who-- what kind of families? Did they live downtown and then they moved out?
Ann Hutteman: Well, they were-- well, they were Coast Line families. And they were educators, and we got some more doctors and stuff on South Oleander and Beaumont. And they were sort of upscale housing. And see, everybody was kind of put on hold during the war.
Ann Hutteman: Because there was just no building material and nobody could build. So it was right after the war that those-- Lincoln Forest, in the '60s.
Q: So I guess Forest Hills area was one of the last that was built just prior to the war, right?
Ann Hutteman: Forest Hills starts in 1925, '26.
Q: Oh, really?
Ann Hutteman: And some of those houses are getting to be so they could be platformed now, 75 years.
Q: There's one at 102, probably the oldest. And they expanded and new families moving in.
Ann Hutteman: Yeah, new families moving in. And this area, these two blocks, is really called Woodcrest. It's just the two blocks over here, and it hasn't changed much. It's-- the oldest house on this street is the one across the street-- white, two-story house built by Mr. Boyd [ph?] in about 1929.
Q: So tell us about-- your parents obviously had an influence on how, in your later years, your interest in history.
Ann Hutteman: Oh, yeah. Well, Daddy would always-- well, see, my father-- I guess politics was, at my dinner table, was at all times. My great-grandfather was a county commissioner before the war and treasurer before the war.
Q: And what was his name, Ann?
Ann Hutteman: Elijah Hewlett.
Ann Hutteman: And he lived-- my father lived with him, so I have very-- even though he died in 1919 and I'm not that old, he lived with them and so I have very vivid oral memories of him. And he was a sheriff-- he was actually sheriff in 1898.
Q: Oh, my gosh.
Ann Hutteman: But did not-- we have never been able to connect him with the events-- the infamous events of that period.
Ann Hutteman: And he was a Republican. He was a Whig before the war, and he was a Republican after the war. And so he took-- he was at the 1898 incident. Of course, the Democratic Party was quite involved. And my grandfather was chairman of the board of commissioners-- a county commissioner. He was on the board for 36 years, and chairman for 32. And so my father kept-- it was his duty to help keep him in office. And then the last-- in the '50s, my uncle was represented the county in the legislature and he became Speaker of the House in 19-- Addison Hewlett [ph?].
Q: Oh, of course.
Ann Hutteman: Addison Hewlett, Jr. Addison Hewlett, Sr. was my grandfather and he was a county commissioner.
Q: He was your grandfather? He was the Jones' family lawyer, of course.
Ann Hutteman: No, no, no. That's his son, Addison Hewlett, Jr. was my uncle; my father's brother. My father was named Roger, and he-- so it was his duty to keep the other two men in office, and he-- as a child, I would go around with him to various political meetings and so on. And I vividly remember in 1948, the Carolina was expanding. The Carolina Savings & Loan was on the corner of 2nd & Princess. And so they expanded into the building-- 106 North 2nd-- right on the back. And Mr. Fonboy [ph?]-- at that time, he was very ill. Mother was the one that was kind of overseeing the construction and doing. And anyway--
Q: Name which Fonboy this was?
Ann Hutteman: W. A. Fonboy.
Ann Hutteman: Senior.
Ann Hutteman: Mr. Elliott Fonboy, Sr. And he was-- I think he had something about his intestines, because I remember they took out ever so many feet and I thought that was an awful lot of feet for anybody to have. (laughs) Well, I was a little girl. I was about eight years old. And so mother didn't have a vacation that year and so mother and daddy and myself, we went to Washington in the fall. And they took me out of school, and it happened to be the same time when Harry Truman was elected-- when he pulled off the very famous--
Ann Hutteman: (inaudible)
Q: The paper?
Ann Hutteman: Well, "Dewey Elected." Well, my father sat up all night listening to the returns. And so the next morning in the hotel, we went downstairs and there were-- everybody was in shock. I mean, it was just such a shock that this man had won. And so there was a man there from California, and he was obviously a Republican. And he told-- he and Daddy were talking and I looked up at my father and said, "But, Daddy, I've never seen a Republican before." And the guy just almost had a fit because, in my day, one of the biggest changes I've seen is the two-party system here. Now, we always had a two-party system because we always had the liberal and conservative wing of the Democratic Party in my time. But when you won the primary in the spring of the year, then you were elected. And I only remember one Republican who ran with Mr. Dana_______________. And once I asked him why he was a Republican and he said he had gone up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt, and so that's why he was a Republican. (laughs) And he was in the Odd Fellows with my father and Mr. Wilbur Jones, also.
Ann Hutteman: Yeah, everybody went to that. And so he was a very-- he once ran against my uncle, being a Republican. And it wasn't until the early '60s that we started having Republicans elected. And the first one that I remember that was elected countywide was Joe Hooper [ph?] was elected to the county commission, and probably that time. And now, you don't have many Democrats at all. So that has really changed, and I have seen-- I've had an eyewitness to see that.
Q: You have. That's interesting.
Ann Hutteman: And--
Q: When you started, tell us a little bit about your growing up years as far as high school and maturing.
Ann Hutteman: Okay.
Q: And I guess about that time, the Coast Line was leaving.
Ann Hutteman: No. I graduated from high school in 1958.
Q: Oh, you did? Okay.
Ann Hutteman: So you can figure out how old I am. (laughs)
Q: I don't care to. Go ahead.
Ann Hutteman: Anyway, and so my class was one of the last that had everybody that was supposed to be, you know, in it. But I-- living in town and on 9th Street, I went to Titleson [ph?] School. And it was an elementary school when I was a child.
Q: Now, did that go to the 8th grade?
Ann Hutteman: To the 8th grade, until about 1951, I believe, is when they started the junior high system the one through six, and the three-year junior high and then the high school was reverted from four years to three years. And so I went to Titleson for six years, and we-- my grandmother died in 1951, in the fall of '51, and so the next year-- she never wanted to move. They wanted to move really many years before, but during the war there was nothing and then right after the war, she was getting old and she didn't-- she would have-- be sick and all that. And so she didn't want to move, so we stayed in town until I was finished my 6th grade. And then we moved out here on July 1, 1952, and I entered Chestnut School. It was a junior high then, which is Snipes [ph?] now, named for my father's first cousin, Amy Heron Snipes [ph?]. And she was principal of the school at the time, and Haywood Bellamy was her assistant principal, whom I adored.
Q: Doesn't everybody?
Ann Hutteman: And I was-- we were over there three years and then, in high school, we added the high school in the fall of '55, I guess, 1955. And I had-- I was blessed with good English teachers in high school. I had-- we still had the system, I guess the system-- before, teachers retired after 30 years. They would teach until they were almost-- I thought they were ancient.
Q: (laughs) Of course.
Ann Hutteman: And many of them had taught my mother, taught my uncle, taught my--
Q: Were they __________ they would compare you?
Ann Hutteman: Well, sometimes it was. I remember my 1st grade teacher was Ms. Lucy Boylan [ph?] and she was just a crackerjack teacher. And she would see my mother in the grocery store or wherever, and mother would say, "Ms. Lucy, how is Ann doing?" She'd say, "Well, she's doing just fine, Margaret, but I can't shut her up."
Q: Oh. (laughs)
Ann Hutteman: So I have always been a talker.
Q: Well, fortunate for us.
Ann Hutteman: (laughs) Anyway, at any rate in high school I was blessed with good English teachers. I think most anybody that came up during my time had Ms. Walsh [ph?], Ms. Formy-Duvall [ph?] and they were just excellent English teachers. Don't ask me about math, because I don't care for math and I don't know a great deal about it.
Q: Well, you've done well without it. What do you miss most about those times, about-- well, including-- just in general?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I think-- well, one thing I think--
Q: Or do you? Maybe you don't?
Ann Hutteman: Well, one thing I think that having-- we had, of course, two high schools in the county at the time. One was black, and one was white. And what I think-- the high school-- having just the one high school and it was huge. It was over 2,000 students.
Q: Well, this was a county high school?
Ann Hutteman: But it was a county high school. Yes, our school system here-- we have been blessed in that the city and county school system has been combined since about 1921, 1920. And the high school was built in 1921. And I think what it did was it kept Wilmington and the county a small town for a long time, even into the '50s. Because I know just about everyone I might now know them personally, but at least I know their names that is my age. Two years older; two years younger. That I would know them. I mean, most usually, I would know them and they would know me because of going to school together, even though it was a huge high school. But all the teenage activities were centered on, at least for the whites, now-- unfortunately, we did not have any integration at all. The first time I went to school with blacks was when I went to Wilmington College. So it was-- in a way, it was good, and in a way, it was bad. But at least it did keep Wilmington a small town for awhile.
Q: Do you find that knowing so many people, at least on a casual or even a more intimate basis, that it was helpful as you grew older and established yourself in life, you could keep-- did you feel more comfortable this way, or did you enjoy having new people move in?
Ann Hutteman: Oh, well, I've always liked people.
Q: Yes, you have.
Ann Hutteman: All sorts of people. And I enjoy new people very much. I think one of the great benefits of people moving into town is the large volunteer corps that we have now, which I have come across in the library.
Q: Would you talk about your volunteer work at the library and other places, which have been so meaningful.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I don't know how meaningful it's been.
Q: Well, it has.
Ann Hutteman: It kept me sane.
Q: Your books; your research.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I have-- since I've been back-- I left town, of course, for the better part of 20 years because my-- I went and taught school in South America for three years, in Venezuela.
Q: This is when you were married?
Ann Hutteman: No. No, I wasn't married. I went down there to teach school, and I met Hank down there. And Hank was from Holland originally, but he, of course, was an American.
Q: Now, go back a minute. What possessed the young Southern girl to go to Venezuela, which around this town at that time-- when I first came here, at that time they asked me where I was from and I said California. They said, "Oh, that's a long way." They must have thought you (inaudible).
Ann Hutteman: I have always loved to travel.
Q: Yes, I found that out.
Ann Hutteman: And I always have loved to travel, and when my-- one of the deals was, if I finished college, they would-- my parents would see that I got to Europe. So that happened in 1964, and I went to Europe on $5 a day. And it-- we left on the Rotterdam and came home on the __________ and we spent two months in Europe. And it was very hard for me to get on the boat to come home, because I just loved Europe very, very much. And so I taught here in Wilmington-- you had to teach in those days two years-- two or three years; I believe it was three years-- before you would be considered to going overseas.
Q: Now, where did you get your degree, at Wilmington College?
Ann Hutteman: I got my teaching-- I went to Randolph Macon Women's College [ph?] in Vicksburg, Virginia. (inaudible) I did not care for being in an all-girls' school at all. And I got my teaching degree out here at Wilmington College. And I also, when-- my father had cataracts and so I had to drive for him for about a year. And so I went down to the old college, which was at the _______________ and took art and geography. That was about the only thing they thought I hadn't had. And I-- and which exposed me to a course called House Art. And it was not-- I can't draw a lick, but art appreciation. And that was one course that probably has been more valuable to me than any other thing that I have ever taken in my life in view of my later life, because every art gallery that I have come in contact with, I have been in. And so I took that, and I took geography from Duncan Randall [ph?].
Q: Oh, my.
Ann Hutteman: And so anyway, so I got my teaching thing out here at Wilmington College. And then I went down I was practice teaching. I practice taught in the room that I was in the 1st grade in.
Ann Hutteman: And so they hired me there to teach, and I taught there for three years. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. At the time, it was a culturally deprived what we called then. I don't know what they call it now. They've changed that name (inaudible). But in those days, it was a culturally deprived school. Very, very poor.
Q: Now, where did you teach?
Ann Hutteman: Titleson.
Ann Hutteman: It was very-- see, people had moved out of town. And--
Ann Hutteman: And it was very, very poor. For example, I would probably enroll maybe upwards of 80 children a year, and I had about 40 at the time-- in those days. And it was just a complete turnover, just people coming and going all the time. But I loved those children. It was fun because it was so rewarding. For example, if I had 40 children, probably two of them, three of them maybe at the most, was reading on grade level. That's what we were up against at that time. I was there when Lyndon Johnson's Great Society things came in the--
Q: What was that?
Ann Hutteman: Anyway, they put lots of money in those, and we were one of those schools. I can't remember what there was some initials and I can't think what it was. And so I taught there three years, and then I went back and got my master's degree at Carolina. And I did it in one year principally because I had two aunts that were teachers, and they would go every summer and I bet they had enough hours to get 50 master's degrees, but they never did. And so I went and got mine all at one time. And while I was up there, I always wanted to go overseas and so I was in the placement bureau shortly before my comprehensives, and I went in there and I saw where Standard Oil needed some teachers. So I applied, and they wrote back and said that right then they didn't need anybody with my qualifications. So I came home and I was just ready to go down to-- and sign up. This was along towards-- oh, I guess it was about the middle of July. And then I went on an interview to a college, St. Andrew's College up in--
Q: Near Lumberton...
Ann Hutteman: Lumberton. And I went up there one day, and when I came back there was a telegram on the door saying to call New York the next day. So I called New York the next day, and they wanted me to come up for an interview. Well, Piedmont was on strike so I had to have somebody to take me to Fayetteville to get the train up there. So I choo-chooed on up, and got there. And three weeks later, I was in Venezuela. And I--
Q: Was that a culture shock?
Ann Hutteman: Well, it was different. It was my first Third World country which was-- anybody that has never seen a real Third World country, we have poverty in the States but nothing like-- and I taught out at oilfields. And we had 1 million gallon barrels a day was coming out of the ground on Lake Maracaibo, which is the western part of Venezuela. And so while I was down there, Hank came down to put in gas turbines on the lake because when an oil well is drilled, then they have to flare the gas out. And if they capture that gas, then they can sell that, you know, in propane tanks and stuff. And so he went down to put those on the lake, and he borrowed my Time magazine and we started (laughs).
Q: Oh purpose-- he couldn't find one of his own?
Ann Hutteman: And so then, after that, I came home and was home for about six months, and then we were married. And we were married one Saturday, and the next Saturday we went to Japan.
Q: Oh, my gosh. On his business?
Ann Hutteman: On his business.
Q: On his business.
Ann Hutteman: We lived in Kobe.
Q: Oh, you did? For how long?
Ann Hutteman: A little over a year.
Q: And how did you enjoy that?
Ann Hutteman: Loved it, from A to Z.
Q: Did you work there, or just--
Ann Hutteman: No, no. I just was--
Q: You were a tourist?
Ann Hutteman: I just loved it. I took Ikebana and, you know, all sorts of things, and just thoroughly enjoyed-- a lot for me to do there. A lot for me to do. So I enjoyed that. Then he-- after that, he was sent to Saudi Arabia and I couldn't go there.
Q: Now, he worked for an oil company?
Ann Hutteman: No, he worked for Westinghouse.
Ann Hutteman: Their power systems division. And so then we-- he was in Saudi Arabia for a little over nine months.
Ann Hutteman: In Dubai.
Q: I thought so.
Ann Hutteman: Dubai. And in the desert. I would have seen him on Friday nights, so we decided that it would be better for me to stay here. So I did, and I did lots of things here and so on. And so then, when he came home, we went to Yugoslavia, and that was my favorite place in the world. I loved it. And we just had a grand time. And then we went--
Q: Now, what timeframe was this in?
Ann Hutteman: This was in the late 70s.
Q: Yugoslavia, okay.
Ann Hutteman: And early '80s. We were there when Tito died.
Q: That was an interesting time, then.
Ann Hutteman: Yeah, we were there when he died. And every day on the newscast it would start off with him, and we noticed how shuffling he was getting and we didn't think it'd be too long. And he would-- they would start off with what he did that day. And the interesting part, we were in the Philippines in the last days of Marcos and the same thing was done except there, Imelda would sing to him every day.
Q: Now let me ask you something about language. Were these being translated into English, or would you at any time have to learn basic phraseology for the--
Ann Hutteman: Well, I always learned to count because that I had to negotiate putting food on the table. See, we had no commissaries or anything like that.
Q: You were on the economy?
Ann Hutteman: We were on the economy, and so I always learned to count. My husband was fluent in five languages, and he spoke German fluently and that helped us tremendously in Yugoslavia. And then he could be in a country for maybe, oh, three or four weeks, maybe a month, and he could pick it up. This used to make me so mad because I don't have the ear. But I got so-- and like in Venezuela, I got so at the time-- don't ask me to do it now, but at the time I could carry on (inaudible).
Q: We'd love to have heard that with your gentle Southern accent.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I won't say-- I will tell you when we get off camera a story about me. (laughs)
Q: Well, you've had a wonderful life so far.
Ann Hutteman: I've had a wonderful life, and traveled all over everywhere and loved every minute of it.
Q: So this again added to your great interest in history and what makes--
Ann Hutteman: Culture.
Q: Yes, culture.
Ann Hutteman: And I think it's so important-- it's very interesting, these cultures and the difference.
Q: Did you keep notebooks or diaries or journals?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I've got my letters that I wrote mother that are, you know, talk about what was going on and so on. And it was quite-- they were all different cultures. They were all-- and of course, I liked the I loved the Far East. It's lovely. But I like European the best. That just reaffirmed my great delight in Europe. And then we retired back here. We did have one year in the States in Georgia, which was my worst overseas experience.
Q: Georgia? (laughs) Where in Georgia?
Ann Hutteman: Waynesboro, Georgia.
Q: And how close to--
Ann Hutteman: That is 25 miles due south of Augusta.
Ann Hutteman: It's a very, very teeny, tiny town.
Q: Yes, it is. It would be.
Ann Hutteman: Our best store was the Family Dollar store. And there wasn't a whole lot for me to do, so I came home seven times that year.
Ann Hutteman: So-- but anyway, we retired back here.
Q: So you were gone over 20 years?
Ann Hutteman: Well, in and out 20 years. Not straight.
Q: When you came back to Wilmington to again make this your home, what did you find-- or did you find any changes that surprised you? I guess if you were coming home (inaudible).
Ann Hutteman: But still, when I was growing up, we knew every cow path in town. When I came back, there's places now that I have not a clue where they are. The great influx of people had begun.
Q: How did that-- how did your family and how did you react to the people, all the new people coming in?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I thought they were all right. I mean, I've known some people that, right now, I think, that we're kind of overextended and like the blue gate at the bridge. But otherwise, I think that it's been helpful. And certainly that period after the Coast Line left, anyone that went through that, I can't think now they could say otherwise because there was nothing going on here. Absolutely nothing. And, I mean, there were houses all over town vacant. The downtown area, there was absolutely nothing down there. Then after Belt's [ph?] moved out of-- about '78, I guess, they moved out to the mall-- there was nothing down there. Vacant stores. It was just dreadful, just dreadful.
Q: Did you find a lot of Wilmingtonians-- did they welcome these people who were coming here? I guess this was before I-40 opened up, and I guess people there was an influx from the north and other places. Do you feel that they took part in the activities or tried to-- or did the Wilmingtonians welcome them? Did they kind of resent them? Was there a closed society?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I think it was both. I think it was both, and I think you can see some differences. There were some folks that were welcoming. There were some folks that, if they had-- if people tended to have family, lots of family here, they didn't need to go out and make friends. I mean, they had a ready-made social life. Whereas these folks that came in, I'm sure that some of them were not welcomed and I'm sorry.
Q: Well, that reminds me of something else and that is something that's become sort of amusing the cousinhood, the great cousinhood Wilmington.
Ann Hutteman: That's not-- that's been overextended.
Q: I want your opinion on that.
Ann Hutteman: It's been overextended. The cousinhood business is just a myth, I think.
Q: Do you?
Ann Hutteman: And I think it's been very-- I never heard of it before right lately. And there are, of course, in any town, people are going to intermarry. And I'm related to some of those people that are cousinhood.
Q: Well, I know that. And I'm married to someone who is, too, but--
Ann Hutteman: Yeah.
Q: -- it's interesting because I had one gentleman who's very prominent in town tell me about the wonderful family reunions, upwards of 350 people might show up. And so that must be quite a feeling.
Ann Hutteman: Well, it is. And the sense of family, I think, is--
Ann Hutteman: --important. But I don't think it ought to override every-- I don't think it ought to put-- I think you always need new ideas.
Q: Tell us about your activities, your volunteerism and that sort of thing, and what your contributions have been. And don't be modest.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I'm not-- I don't like to talk about that.
Q: But you're here for that because it's important. I mean, it's people like you who--
Ann Hutteman: Well, I have always been-- I guess I should start and say that when I was in high school and when I was back here that year when I told you that I went to Wilmington College and took art, I worked for Ms. Ida Kellum. And Ms. Ida was--
Q: Your teacher.
Ann Hutteman: Was-- I think she was just wonderful. She was the foremost genealogist in the town at the time, and she and Ms. Louise Moore [ph?] were certainly two of the better historians. Although she considered herself mainly a genealogist, I think. And I, of course, knew Mr. Lewis [ph?]. He was a friend of my father's and also my grandfather. They served together on the Historical Commission, the people who put all those granite things around town. That was the Historical Commission, and he was on there from the 1920s. And so Ms. Kelm, that's how I really got my start, I guess, in this type of work. She once sent me to the library which was then on Market Street in the Johnny Taylor [ph?] house, the old __________ Armory. And I can't remember why she sent me, but she lived on 3rd Street and I guess I drove up there-- drove up to the library-- to do something. And I had to get in the North Carolina room. And so I said I wanted to go in the North Carolina room, and the lady looked at me kind of "Well, who is she?" And so she unlocked the door, and I went in there and did whatever I was supposed to, and while I was in there, she locked me in the room. And so when I got through, I knocked on the door and she came and unlocked the room, and away I went. Well, I told Ms. Kelm about it. Well, she must have seen it must have been Ms. __________, I don't remember who the lady was. But anyway, after that if she sent me down there, she didn't lock me in the room anymore. But that first time, she did lock me in the room. So I have always done research and that type of thing for various things. And the first research I did was for Mister oh, I can't think of his name. He was the editor of the paper, and he wrote a history of the __________ Club, and I looked up some things. So that's the first time I was ever credited on that 100th Anniversary, 8/1968, History of the Club. Mr. __________ Dixon. Al Dixon.
Q: Oh, Al Dixon.
Ann Hutteman: Yeah. He wrote that, too.
Q: He was there for a long time wasn't he?
Ann Hutteman: Yeah, he was a ___________ of the paper. Lovely man. Anyway, so I've done a lot about that. So when I came back from overseas, I wanted to do some volunteer work because my husband was a great fisherman and he had a boat and so, you know. And I tried not-- during the day, I did what I was to do and at night and on weekends, of course, I would do what he wanted to do. We kind of split it up in that way. And so I just started working for the library, and I have done census records for them. And it worked into the __________ Genealogy Society published ever so many volumes. And I've done-- the first one I did was the 1880 census in three volumes. And I've done '60, '70 and I think all of them except 1820 and 1850. And I could get in there, and then my husband had a stroke. And so it was wonderful for me to have something to do like that because I could go in the room there and he would be watching television in the back. And if he needed me or if I-- or I heard something on television, I was right there. And so I got a computer, and that did it. And I've done Oakdale Cemetery, the three volumes of that. I've done-- what else? I've done the Sales [ph?] collection and the Louis T. Moore [ph?] collection, catalogs with their own television thing. I've done-- I don't know what else. I helped Beverly with Strength Through Struggle, the black history.
Ann Hutteman: I wrote the biographies for that. And I've done-- what else? I don't know.
Q: You've left an important mark.
Ann Hutteman: Uh...
Q: You've left a very important legacy, a mark here.
Ann Hutteman: And I've done-- I can't remember what else. But various other records. I don't remember how many. But I've done all that, you know, done those, and indexed. I love to index. People think I'm nuts but I like to index.
Q: What is your main interest now, would you say? What are you most interested in or, if you had a choice, what would you be doing now that you're not doing. Or maybe if you are doing it, let us know.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I'm just doing it. Well, I've just finished Masonboro Baptist Church, a history of that which is 150 years old this year. And that was very interesting to me because my great-great-grandfather was the founder of that church down at the Sound. And so I've done all that. Then I will probably, beginning with-- I'm going to take a breather, take a breath, and beginning the first of the year, I'm going to have to start on St. Paul's Lutheran Church, because it'll be 150 years old in 2008.
Q: Do you have access to their papers and such?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I'm the archivist up there.
Q: Are you? Okay.
Ann Hutteman: Have been since I've been back in town. And then I have-- while Hank was in Saudi Arabia, I helped set that archives up.
Ann Hutteman: And so I-- you know. And I've done, you know, research over the years, tons of research, and it's just going to be eliminating a lot of it. So I'll be that'll be probably my next big project. And I, of course, am interested in the German community. And I did kind of a Seaside History book.
Q: Oh, you did?
Ann Hutteman: And that's already been-- that was 100 years old in 1898, so that's in there. And then I have-- I've done a postcard history book of Wilmington.
Q: Well, we have some of these in our special collections.
Ann Hutteman: And that was fun because you didn't have to footnote. (laughs) I like that. So I've done a lot of that type of thing. Then a lot of genealogy. I've got a lot of calls from German folks write me. I'm working with someone in California who discovered that his ancestor was here in the 1860s, so I've been trying to get some information together. And I try to do-- look at the church records-- not only the church records, but go into the census records in Oakdale and so--
Q: Are you doing any workshops, either at the library or through DAR or anything like that on genealogy?
Ann Hutteman: I haven't right lately, no. I'm on the committee, the DAR committee. We're going to have one down here some time, but I told them I couldn't do it this year. But I do enjoy that, and it's, I think, helping folks to learn about their ancestors.
Q: What do you think of Wilmington now, looking back? Where it is now, and where would you like to see it going?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I'd like to see it continue to grow. I think we do have some problems, certainly traffic and roads and all of that. But it's not anything that all these other places haven't at one time or another experienced. And I don't think there's any way to really plan for that. I think that you have to I mean that, you know, I don't think we were prepared for it, but how do you get prepared for something like that?
Q: Well, this has become quite a destination spot.
Ann Hutteman: Exactly.
Q: So we're going to have it.
Ann Hutteman: That's right. And there along toward the last, when we were overseas, Hank and I, were out telling people how nice it was here. (laughs) But I want to live to see that bridge, that skyway thing. I want to see that bridge get built.
Q: How about downtown Wilmington revitalization, do you think it's going to work?
Ann Hutteman: Oh, I think it's working beautifully now. I think it's-- Lord knows it's come a long way. And have you been over to see the PPD-- whatever. I mean, and all of that north end of town is just going great. I'm just-- we're proud of it. And I think that and it's interesting to me to see that the waterfront is now becoming an asset because for so many years, the waterfront was the great industrial place. And you'll notice none of the houses on Front Street face the river. They face Front Street because that was an industrial area, and nobody wanted to look at that stuff. I think that's unusual for Wilmington because if you go up to Little Washington and Elizabeth City, they all had-- their waterfront is very important, and ours is getting that way.
Q: Lately there's been a lot in the newspapers about the population of Wilmington hitting-- or Brunswick County hitting 100,000 this year. And with the new bridge coming in, and even without it, the building in Brunswick County, which is supposed to be the fastest-growing county in the nation, and talk of being one big megalopolis from Jacksonville to Myrtle Beach. And one of the things I learned last week, and I don't know how factual this is, that school population for the elementary grades would be going down after all this building. It's moving to the different, other counties. And this might become an area of middle-aged or older people. How do you feel about that? Do you think there's any truth to that, or is that just talk?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I think probably-- there would be probably a-- that would be a fair estimate. I think that affordable housing, of course, has-- figures into this because with the housing market today, how can young families with children afford to buy houses here? And I mean any part of town. Whereas out in Brunswick County and Pender County and Onslow County, some in Onslow, there are still places where they can afford. And I would think that would be one of the things that would play into that.
Q: You obviously come in contact with, you said somebody from California contacted you, all kinds of people, all ages. Do you find or do you not find that let's say younger people and I'm talking 30s, 40s, 50s- have an interest in, whether they're from here on not, they have an interest in New Hanover County and southeastern North Carolina. And are they willing to volunteer, for example, or become a part-- or learn about it?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I think that, yes--
Ann Hutteman: --and no. I would say yes and no because there again, things have changed greatly since when I was younger. Women when I was coming up, the only thing that they did was volunteer. Most women didn't work, and so the only time they used their brains was volunteer work. The Sorosis Club and the garden clubs and so on, they contributed greatly to this community. And women who were-- the library was a direct outgrowth of that-- the first public library, which celebrates its 100th year this year. And there's out of so many-- Greenfield Lake. I could name ever so many. And nowadays the younger women are working, so they don't have time to volunteer. So the people who are doing the volunteer work for the most part are the ones that are retired or, you know, are not working in other fields.
Q: (inaudible) talk about men and women, too.
Ann Hutteman: What do you mean?
Q: Well, I'm talking about some of the retiring people who have time on their hands and taking an interest in what's going on.
Ann Hutteman: Well, I run into them all the time.
Ann Hutteman: At the library and the museum. They have certainly-- they are the backbone of the Fourth Grade program at the museum when the children come down there and listen-- learn that. And also at the library they are. And this has just not been in recent years, but since I've been back home.
Q: Do you come in contact with many students or any at all from our university here, which has grown tremendously?
Ann Hutteman: I see them down at the library, and I enjoy them. They're a big part of the growth. And they are-- I think they're very interesting. And at the grocery store, I get to talking when they take my groceries out. (laughs) And they-- I just think they're wonderful. And I'm just real proud of the university. My family has been very interested in that since the beginning. It started, as-- you know how it started-- while my grandfather was still on the board of commissioners. And then my uncle was Chairman of the Board down here and was very instrumental. He was the head of the higher education commission under Governor Moore [ph?], I believe. And he-- it was during that time that they got permission for the university to go four years, and then it ultimately entered the university system. So that was-- so I'm very proud. When you think of when I went out there, I went out in three buildings. There were only three buildings. And the library was in the middle in one little room, and had no-- at one time, they asked us, when it started to be accredited or something, they asked everybody in town if they had any books left to please take them out there because they needed volumes, you know? So mother I think daddy or somebody had a whole thing of Thackeray-- I think it was 36 volumes of Thackeray. So we donated that, because we knew nobody was ever going to read all those 36 volumes.
Q: Well, Ann, I have one last question and that is, is there something you've not done here that you would like to do?
Ann Hutteman: In Wilmington?
Q: In Wilmington or anywhere. You've traveled-- you still travel.
Ann Hutteman: Yeah, I want-- I travel as often as I can.
Q: I know you do.
Ann Hutteman: And I would love to-- I'd love to go to Australia. I've never been there.
Q: Me, too.
Ann Hutteman: And I'd like to go-- I just like to travel and meet new people and new things and so on. And I think I've done pretty much--
Q: Well, you've been a treasure.
Ann Hutteman: I'd still like to-- I still do some research in the museum on objects and things. I'm not on the board anymore. (inaudible) take it off of that.
Q: What museum's that?
Ann Hutteman: Cape Fear Museum, yeah.
Q: It's your first year off the board?
Ann Hutteman: For 15 years, I was on the big board and on the-- that's the county board. And then I was on the foundation board, or the Cape Fear Associates Board.
Q: How well do you think they're doing now?
Ann Hutteman: I think they're doing fine. I think they're-- they need some-- to take care of their artifacts, they need a building for that. They really do. But--
Q: And the Cameron Museum?
Ann Hutteman: The Cameron Museum, I have not joined that back. When it was St. John's, I-- we were real proud of that when it first _____________ got us all-- we were all doing-- I baked cookies forever when it was downtown. I'm still a little disgusted with them for moving downtown. I don't think the building is very attractive, and you can show that to anybody.
Q: You probably have a lot of people who might agree with you.
Ann Hutteman: And I also want to say that I would hope that it would remain a North Carolina and local museum, as a depository for Flora Howe [ph?], who influenced many of the artists not only in this area, but all over the southeast.
Q: Right. Right. How about the big talk-- well, there's a lot of big talk, but the medical center's always in the news but more than that, the convention center, which has been so up and down for quite some time. Are you for it, agin it, or are you neutral?
Ann Hutteman: Well, I'm for it. I mean, I think that it most cities, small cities, and it's certainly a way for us to get more tourist dollars and so on. I want to make a comment about the hospital, though. One of the things in my life that I did that I'm very proud of was that I helped in the political campaign that passed the bond issue.
Q: Back in the '60s.
Ann Hutteman: Back in the '60s. It was defeated one time, and then it was brought up again. And my cousin, Dr. Robert Fail [ph?] was one of the ones that pushed it. And that was the year that I was driving for daddy, so they got all of us down in the old Wilmington Savings & Trust Building, which was behind where Sue Ann's shoe store was.
Ann Hutteman: And we set up-- that was the first phone bank I'd ever seen, and we called everybody we could and worked real hard. And my father, I think Robert would call him every day, 50 times a day, to find out how things were going politically. And it passed by 262 votes, and that is something that I'm very proud of.
Q: Anytime you want to come and visit the entire collection of papers having to do with that period, both the first bonds that were defeated and through the entire structure, building that hospital, come to the special collections. I happen to have the pleasure of accessing the entire collection.
Ann Hutteman: Oh, well, that's great. Well, we really worked hard on getting that through.
Q: I think everybody, if they knew how the hospital was built, from how many steps from here to there and so forth, it would open their eyes to a lot of things.
Ann Hutteman: It was something. And of course all of that area was nothing but woods-- that whole area. We run the dogs on that area. And I'm just very proud of the whole thing.
Q: Well, thank you for everything you've done, Ann. I wish we could stay and talk with you longer. Maybe we could come back some time.
Ann Hutteman: Come back.
Q: And you've really been very interesting. I admire you. You know that. And just keep going, and come visit us.
Ann Hutteman: Okay. Thank you.