George Hutchinson

George Hutchinson spent his childhood in the Stanton Park area where he lived until just after World War II. 

In this June, 2016, interview, he reminisces about his time as a page at the Supreme Court, from wearing knickers, to and scary tunnels, and having to go across town to night school. He recounts how he went on to serve in the Supreme Court library and Marshal's Office. His stories of schools, movies, ice cream parlors, and trolleys and descriptions of historical events such as the return of Lindbergh and Bonus Marchers, enriches our understanding of the neighborhood from the 1920s onward.

Read Transcript
Interview Date
June 23, 2016
Paula Causey
Paula Causey

Full Directory

The interview was conducted by Paula Causey on June 23, 2016 at the law office of George E. Hutchinson, 901 New York Avenue, NW. Also present was a friend of Mr. Hutchinson, Herb Mintz, who is an author and Editor, Journal of the Federal Historical Society. Length of interview: 1:32:51.

CAUSEY: So, good morning. I’m Paula Causey, an interviewer for the Overbeck Capitol Hill oral history Project and I’m here this morning with George E. Hutchinson at his law office in downtown DC. Mr. Hutchinson served with the US Army in World War I [Correction: World War II] and he has a fascinating oral history on file with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. He went on to have a long career in various capacities in the federal court system, starting as a page at the Supreme Court. He is an author and historian in his own right. [Hutchinson wrote “The History of Madison Place, Lafayette Square” published by the Federal Circuit Historical Society.] Our focus today, though, is for the Overbeck Project and it is about his early life on Capitol Hill and his continuing connections there. So, Mr. Hutchinson, good to have you with us.

HUTCHINSON: It’s good to be with you.
CAUSEY: We’d like to start at the very beginning. When were you born and where?

HUTCHINSON: Born in Washington at the Garfield Hospital, long gone, up in Northwest Washington. As I remember, it was off of Georgia Avenue. And this was in August of 1923.

CAUSEY: And your parents were both from the Washington area?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, both in there, both father and mother were natives, and the whole family seemed

to go back to the Revolutionary War period, or 1800 anyway.CAUSEY: Is that primarily the Hutchinson side or both sides?

HUTCHINSON: Probably both sides. It’s hard sometimes to run down. I remember my mother was trying to get into the DAR and you had to have direct ties to someone who served in the Revolutionary War as a soldier or something. She never quite made it. Of course, now, she would have gotten in whatever, because I think ...

CAUSEY: Her family name was?

HUTCHINSON: It would have been Simpson, Hutchinson ... but the one ... Davis, this was a very remote name. Davis was the one they were trying to find. Abel Davis. I know very little about him. There was a connection to Delaware, of all places. Wilmington. To me, I probably wished I’d asked questions back in the old days to find more about that.

page 2

CAUSEY: I think we all have those issues.HUTCHINSON: We have all those issues.

CAUSEY: You told me the other day when we met about Marine Band connections. Was that on the Simpson side of the family?

HUTCHINSON: That was on my mother’s side. Hutchinson and then back to Simpson. Mr. Patrola was my grandfather, great-grandfather, and he was the one who served under Sousa. He was the leader and Sousa was the Director. Those were titles in those days. He led the rehearsals and things like that while with the Marine Band. He came from Palermo, Sicily, along with a lot of Italian musicians because, from what I understood, the Navy, the Department of Navy, used to solicit ... they would send some of their ships over to these places and try to find musicians. And then they came back to serve with the Marine Band.

CAUSEY: So, do you remember going to a lot of Marine Band concerts?

HUTCHINSON: Oh, yes, still do, still do.

CAUSEY: At the Barracks?

HUTCHINSON: At the Barracks and around the city. You know they have concerts all the time during the year.

CAUSEY: Where were you—your family—living when you were born?

HUTCHINSON: On Jefferson Street about a half block from ... between 13th and 14th. This was Jefferson Street NW. I was there only a year because my father died suddenly, well not suddenly. He had rheumatic fever and they just didn’t know how to treat it. He passed away, so that forced us, my sister and I and mother, to move to Capitol Hill. That occurred in 1924.

CAUSEY: Where did you move to?

HUTCHINSON: To 624 D Street [NE.] These were houses built in 1921. All those houses in that immediate area, Lexington Place, E Street, D Street, that ran from Seventh Street, Sixth to Seventh. It was one section, just three blocks, where they built the same houses, row houses. That’s when my grandfather [Simpson] bought that house and fortunately a couple of years later they had a new family coming into the house.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

page 3

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: One of our other interviewees had talked about before those houses were built and there was a big hill apparently there that he remembered playing softball on. He said when they built the houses, the Kennedy Brothers ...

HUTCHINSON: The Kennedy Brothers built them.
CAUSEY: ... I think were the builders. It was a big project and they sort of leveled the hill.

HUTCHINSON: They did. Because, you think of Stanton Park, you know, at Sixth. It’s very flat right up to you get to the Capitol grounds. It’s pretty flat. Because Maryland Avenue was sort of a boulevard in the 1800s into town from Bladensburg. So, to me, I only remember it being very flat.

CAUSEY: Flat. But, you did mention you played baseball or stickball.

HUTCHINSON: Oh yes, you had to, the only place was the alleys. You played in the alleys and looked out for policemen coming up to say, “You can’t do that.” You know, in addition to breaking windows with the ball.

CAUSEY: Even then, not as many car windows, perhaps.

HUTCHINSON: Not many car windows, but there were some windows off of alleys where garages were. There were several garages between D and Lexington. There were some favorite ones that we used to ... well, they put up with us, I’ll put it that way.

CAUSEY: You have one sister, you mentioned?
HUTCHINSON: One sister, yes.
CAUSEY: She was a little bit older than you?
HUTCHINSON: She was about eleven years older, and she just passed away last October at 103.CAUSEY: Good genes in the family.

HUTCHINSON: My mother lived to be 91. My father was the exception, you know, and that’s just because they didn’t know how to diagnose the disease, just whatever.

CAUSEY: So you lived in the house on D Street ...HUTCHINSON: D Street.
CAUSEY: ... until?

page 4

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: I went into the service from 1943 to 1946. In 1949, I married and moved to Northwest. I was going to school at GW so we got an apartment down in that area.

CAUSEY: That brings us to the subject of where you went to school. Before GW ...

HUTCHINSON: OK, well, let’s see. School. I think kindergarten and up through the fourth grade was in a school named Carbery. It was on, I think, Fifth Street NE, about a block or two from the house. I assume you went to the school nearest you in those days. There were a lot of kids. In the fifth grade, they moved me to the Hilton School on Sixth, just above [south of] Stanton Park between B and C. That was the Hilton. The other school—there were three schools—Peabody, Hilton, and Car-Berree, as we used to call it. How do you like that? It rhymes. [Laughs] But anyway, I never went to Peabody. That was the biggest school. Still there.

CAUSEY: Still is, and Carbery, the building is still there ...
HUTCHINSON: That’s what you said the other day, but Hilton is just a lot. It’s been an empty lot for

CAUSEY: Carbery became condos. It was one of the first school conversions ... beautiful apartments.

HUTCHINSON: Is that right? The whole change of that area came, I guess, in the 1970s and on up, I mean real change, you know?

CAUSEY: And then, would you have gone to Eastern High School?
HUTCHINSON: I went to Eastern ... I went to Stuart first. From Hilton to Stuart, which is on E street

NE, I guess E and F. That whole block. It was a fairly new school.CAUSEY: It’s on E between Fourth and Fifth.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, Fourth and Fifth. I understood, historically, and you may know this, that it was a brewery. Is that right?

CAUSEY: I’ve seen references to that in that time frame.
HUTCHINSON: It was a brewery. There were a lot of breweries in Washington in those days, it seems.

There was a book, I think, written by a Capitol Hill person on Prohibition and things like that.

CAUSEY: I think most people know about the one that was out sort of Kentucky Avenue [SE] area that lasted a little bit longer than this one at Fourth Street.

page 5

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: So I went to Stuart and I graduated, I guess you graduated from junior high in those days. So then, I was destined for Eastern High. And if you say you attended there, than yes, for three days. For three days.

CAUSEY: What happened?

HUTCHINSON: Because I got a letter from the Marshal of the Supreme Court to be interviewed for a page job. When I went in ... they don’t hire you on the spot because it turns out the Chief Justice has to approve all employees and it was summer time. But the Marshal, about the third day of school, called and said, “You have the job. Do you want it? I need to know right now.” Because this was September, the Court began in October, so they had to know. Did they have a page or didn’t they? So I said ... I thought about it and, well, it sounds interesting. I hate to leave all my friends, but I said yes.

So, my Mother who was teaching, she was a part-time teacher in DC, called the principal, Mr. Hart. I don’t know whether that name comes up in your history or not, but he and his son were pretty well known, because as principal of Eastern, he had been there for a long time. [Charles Hart, principal at Eastern HS 1918-1945, is mentioned in several Overbeck interviews.] But, anyway, he had to approve me leaving school. It was one of those things where the principal had to OK because you had to go to school somewhere. So, as I say, I didn’t go to Eastern, I just stopped.

Then we went searching for a school that did have classes at night. There were no night schools in Washington to speak of except private schools. So, instead of going to school on the public, I went to school on me! Emerson Institute, it was on 18th and Massachusetts Avenue NW. [Emerson is located at 1324 18th Street NW.]

CAUSEY: Did the Court provide any funds to help you?

HUTCHINSON: No, you even bought your uniform. They wore knickers in those days, up until ... can you believe it? ... up until 1960 they were still wearing knickers in the Supreme Court, until one of the pages was so tall that one of the justices said, “That’s ridiculous! Knickers? Get rid of them.” So, they did. The Court voted to stop knickers. But, 1960! [Laughs] Well, anyway, you paid for that, too. They were reasonable. They realized that pages don’t make that much money. But, that was where I went to high school.

CAUSEY: How do you think the appointment to become a page came about? Was there a connection from your mother’s family?

page 6

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Somebody, yes, it was a cousin [Oscar Clarke] of my mother, who was the librarian at the Court and he knew when the Marshal said “We have a vacancy.” So everyone knew it and he happened to know. There were two criteria. One of them was height. Five four I think it was, and, basically, need. In the sense that since father had died, you know, mother had a job, but it would help with the finances. So the people that were appointed were those who needed it, really, and had the proper height.

CAUSEY: What did your mother teach?

HUTCHINSON: She was a part-time teacher, grade school, elementary school.

CAUSEY: In the neighborhood? Did you ever have a class with her?

HUTCHINSON: No, she was a substitute, she went all over the city. Jumping on streetcars and off streetcars. Finally, when I got a license, I could drive her in the morning before going to work.

CAUSEY: Were your grandparents, either of them, working when you were living there?HUTCHINSON: Yes, grandfather worked for Judd and Detweiler, which was a publishing house, out on

Florida Avenue. He was a proofreader and his job was to read the National Geographic.CAUSEY: That’s a good job!

HUTCHINSON: I know. For years. I can remember. It was interesting certainly because of the type of magazine it was, but, boy, I can just imagine ...

CAUSEY: So Judd and Detweiler was actually printing the National Geographic?HUTCHINSON: The actual Geographic. Yes, did for years.
CAUSEY: Because they were also a stationer store, weren’t they?

HUTCHINSON: I think they were, yes. It was at Eckington, which was where New York Avenue crosses Florida Avenue NE. A big building right there. Grandfather would go up D Street to Eighth NE and get on the streetcar that went right there.

CAUSEY: Eckington Place is now a big ... is it FEDEX, I think ... facility.HUTCHINSON: Something like that, yes.

CAUSEY: Back to Stuart, Hilton, and Carbery, any particular teachers that you remember being very impressive, that made a mark that you recall?

page 7

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Not really. None stood out, let’s put it that way, to me anyway. I guess the only thing I remember was being a school boy patrol. You know, be on ... having this thing [gestures to sash or belt] with a little AAA number ... and you had a station to make sure that students or the public could get across streets. Mine was Maryland Avenue and Sixth Street NE, right at the church. So you just stood there from say 8:30 to 9 until school started to make sure everybody was safe. There weren’t many cars, thank goodness, in those days. That’s what I do remember, more or less.

CAUSEY: Were there boys clubs or organized activities?
HUTCHINSON: No, not that I was aware of, anyway. There was one out on Massachusetts and 17th

street, but that was quite a distance for a boy. There just weren’t any clubs in the area, the immediate area.CAUSEY: So, after Eastern, you did the Emerson program for your high school?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, high school.
CAUSEY: ... and then decided to go to GW?

HUTCHINSON: Well, when I graduated, which was ... it took me another year to complete high school because at night school you could only take so many hours. Three nights a week. Roughly six to nine pm. Because of that, it extended what would have been a normal three year high school to four. So when I graduated from that in 1942, the war was on. So, the question was the draft board. I think the draft age was 19, it was lowered to 18 at some point. So when I registered for the draft, I think I had just turned 19. This would have been 1942. So, I would be called up at some point. You just didn’t say, “Well, I’m going to college,” because I had a job, you see. But, I worked it out so that I could go and take at least one class at GW, which was a course, English 101. My story of that short one semester before I did get called up, was the lady I sat next to. [Aside to Mr. Mintz - I think I told you this one, Herb, I think you know this.] It was Margaret Truman, whose father, of course, was the Senator from Kansas, I think. A very nice lady, she and a lady named Snyder, which it turned out to be that her father became Secretary of Treasury. [As both Mr. Hutchinson and the interviewer remembered later, Truman was from Missouri; John Snyder, also from Missouri, was Treasury Secretary 1946-53.] Those two went around together. She was very nice. I think she got A and I got B in that class. Didn’t matter. Very nice lady.

CAUSEY: That’s not a bad classmate to have.
HUTCHINSON: Yes, so I spent one semester before I went in the service.CAUSEY: OK, then when you came back, you went back to GW.

page 8

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: [I had ] a job. I was working in the library at that time. The job was held. Actually, I had replaced someone who had gone off for one year, registered for that early draft, for one year. And, the one year turned out to be five years for this guy. He never came back to the Court. He didn’t die. He came back, but chose to go to another job. So I had a job when I got out.

CAUSEY: So just to wind up the education story, you started taking classes again at GW?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, I re-entered. Another fellow from the library who had been in the war came back and we talked with the librarian and said I wonder if we could divide a full time job and both of us could go to school, and that’s the way we worked it out.

CAUSEY: You must have been one of the first federal employees doing “flex time.”

HUTCHINSON: Right, well the Court had its own ... separation of powers. [Laughs] No, they were able to do it and they were very nice about that. So, I was able to begin a real collegiate career, so to speak. We divided that for a year or two and then we both decided we could go to night school and continue and finish out the undergraduate degree and then eventually law school. Thanks to the GI bill. Many thanks to that, I’ll tell you, that really helped hundreds and thousands of people to go to school.

CAUSEY: Let’s go back to Stanton Park, that neighborhood.
HUTCHINSON: OK, Stanton Park. Mr. Greene [Nathanael Greene] in the center of that.CAUSEY: Why is he there?

HUTCHINSON: The statue, why is he there? I think that they were looking for ... there were a lot of statues about the Revolutionary War. Take Lafayette Square for example. It seems like they would come up with these statues and have to find some place to put them. So as far as I know, Mr. Greene found a spot at Stanton Park because they wanted to put something in the middle of the park. And Mr. Greene, nobody knew that he was a good general, probably the closest one to Washington in the Revolutionary War. So, there is Mr. Greene.

CAUSEY: But, it was always called Stanton Park?

HUTCHINSON: Stanton Park. I’m not sure who it was named after. I’d like to say, it might have been Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War in the Civil War, but the connections with these parks were all earlier in our history. I never went back to find out about “Mr. Stanton” Park.

CAUSEY: We can look that up, I’m sure.

page 9

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Yes, you can look it up, check that out, run it down, enlighten me. [The park is indeed named after Edwin Stanton. Tour guide and author Robert Pohl explains that Alexander Shepherd’s effort to improve east Washington led to the naming of Seward Square SE and Stanton “Square” NE as “gateways” to Lincoln Park. Greene’s statue was not erected until 1877. On the earlier L’Enfant design, present-day Stanton Park is shown as area #5.]

CAUSEY: Let’s keep talking about the park. Lincoln Park was famous for concerts, as a gathering place.HUTCHINSON: It was.
CAUSEY: Was Stanton Park ever ... sort of a social gathering place?

HUTCHINSON: No, not that I remember. The one thing I do remember one time was going to a Shakespeare play. A group came through and they put on one of Shakespeare’s plays there. There may have been more, but that’s the only one I can remember. That may have been once a summer or something like that. But it was a nice place, benches and so forth. Kids played, and that sort of thing, but it wasn’t, I don’t think, any organized things for that park.

CAUSEY: Do you remember playgrounds at all, closer to Union Station, over in that plaza area where it’s now mostly park area? Some people have talked about a playground or a ball field over there at one time.

HUTCHINSON: I think on Ninth Street [NE], they put a playground there, early. I think it was probably after the war, on Ninth Street. I never played in it because, you know, things were different when I came back from the war. There were no playgrounds that I can recall except down on the Mall there were playgrounds. I remember that because when you took your—where the Mellon Art Gallery and the addition are—it was open and one of those blocks was where you were tested for driving. I remember going, unfortunately, twice. I failed the first time, the driving, because I never took off the brake. I’d start the motor, push on the gas, and the car didn’t move, the brake was on. The guy who was the instructor, he began to laugh, and he said, “I can’t pass you, but next time take your brake off.” [Laughs] I mean, I was ridiculous. But, you went around that block, that’s what you drove around, that one block. This was on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, toward the Capitol. There is one block, right where the addition to the Mellon Art Gallery is.

CAUSEY: Oh, the new wing.

HUTCHINSON: It was all just grass. But there were playgrounds there and tennis courts, and this was all below the Capitol.

page 10

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: That’s interesting. So, it was on the streets you were driving around, it wasn’t like a ...

HUTCHINSON: Yes, you just drove around one street, just around one block. A circle. You had to park. That was the main thing. You had to back up and park. That’s how you learned to park. But, I made it the second time. I’ll never forget that. Highly embarrassing.

CAUSEY: Was it with your own car or did you have to drive ...

HUTCHINSON: Yes, my sister had a car. A 1936 Ford. When she married and left the household, so to speak—and that would have been 1939 about that she married—she married the fellow next door. Isn’t that nice? What’s the song from Broadway, “the fellow next door” ... I can’t remember. But, when she moved away, she had the ’36 Ford and she didn’t need two cars up in Jersey, so she gave that to me, a ’36 Ford. So, I got the license when I was 16. Couldn’t get it before that. So that’s the car I practiced on to learn to drive.

CAUSEY: So, back to sort of the periphery, because Stanton Park was your route to go over to the Court from home.

HUTCHINSON: Oh, yes, to Hilton School and the Stanton Theater which were there. Saturday afternoon you spent your quarter to see a double feature movie, a serial, and at least something else. About four different things. You were there all afternoon.

CAUSEY: Stanton Theater was on the south side?
HUTCHINSON: It was on the south side, sort of right behind where the Hilton School was.CAUSEY: Because Peabody School is on the south side.

HUTCHINSON: It would be right on the other side of Fifth, it was between Fifth and Sixth. You can sort of see, there is a building there now, but you can sort of see what it was, the front of it. All the kids would gather on Saturday afternoon. That was not a must, but if you weren’t there, they would wonder, “Where were you?”

CAUSEY: That was an indoor theater?

HUTCHINSON: Indoor, yes.

CAUSEY: Do you recall at all an outdoor theater in that area as well that was in the summertime?

HUTCHINSON: I don’t remember any, because you had the ... let’s see. The Avenue Grand on Pennsylvania at Seventh. Then they built the Penn Theater which was really a new theater over on the

page 11

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

north side of Pennsylvania. Then there were other theaters spread around. The Beverly out on 15th Street. [511 15th Street.] There were a lot of theaters. The small Apollo on H Street, you know, where the new streetcar runs. [Mr. Hutchinson later remembered going to the Home Theater on C Street NE between 12thand 13th; that building is still there today.]

CAUSEY: You could go to any of those or were there parts of the neighborhood ...HUTCHINSON: Any of those, but you went to the one nearest you.

CAUSEY: Next to, let’s see, if we’re coming around on the park, on the east end [should be west end] of the park there was a funeral home for a number of years.

HUTCHINSON: That was the Lee Funeral Home.
CAUSEY: That was a funeral home when you were living there?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, as I remember. That building goes back quite a distance ... sold to the government now. I remember that. It was on Fourth Street.

CAUSEY: I think that’s actually where the pages, the pages for the Senate, are living there now.HUTCHINSON: I think that’s right, that’s right.
CAUSEY: Then there was an AMOCO station on the north side of the park.

HUTCHINSON: On the north side, there was a streetcar stop, half-way between Fourth and Sixth, the streetcar stopped there and AMOCO was right on the corner. That would have been Fifth Street, Fifth and whatever they called it, C or whatever.

CAUSEY: And you remember gassing up there?

HUTCHINSON: Probably, although I usually got Gulf gas on Massachusetts Avenue at Third Street NE because it was cheaper. Gulf. There was a station on the northeast corner of Third and Mass. I think it’s still there.

CAUSEY: There is a station at Second and Massachusetts. A gas station.
HUTCHINSON: Could be Second. I think it was Second ... that was it, because there was an apartment

house on Third.

CAUSEY: The church you’ve mentioned that was on the east side of the park, big church, on the corner of Maryland and Sixth.

page 12

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Yes, it was a Presbyterian Church with a nice steeple. You can see it throughout Capitol Hill.

CAUSEY: Was that the church your family went to?

HUTCHINSON: No, we went to a Baptist Church up on Sixth Street at A, Sixth and A.

CAUSEY: Still there, the Metropolitan Baptist Church [Capitol Hill Baptist Church].

HUTCHINSON: Still there, I think that church owned that whole block, from Sixth to Fifth to East Capitol to A, at one time. It was a big church.

CAUSEY: What about little shops?

HUTCHINSON: Shops? On East Capitol, there was a funeral home on Third and East Capitol. Because my grandparents on my father’s side lived on Third Street, right across from where the Folger went up. I can remember the Folger Library going up. Their number was 13 Third Street, which was just south of East Capitol.

CAUSEY: Southeast?

HUTCHINSON: Southeast. It was an apartment-like building and there were three floors. My grandparents were on the first floor. I can remember as a kid, that’s one of the first things I remember, is leaving D Street and being wheeled over to see my grandparents.

CAUSEY: Were they on the east [should be west] side of the street that got torn down?HUTCHINSON: No, the building is still there. They were on the east side.
CAUSEY: East side.
HUTCHINSON: The Folger went up on the west side.

CAUSEY: West side, you’re right.

HUTCHINSON: This was on Third. I really don’t remember too much about the Supreme Court building going up, because they went up together. The Supreme Court was finished in 1935, but they leveled it in 1932. I can just remember going up Third Street to that house and then back, you know what I mean. It just sticks in your mind. I guess I liked to go because they had cookies and different things as a kid ...

CAUSEY: That was grandparents.

page 13

HUTCHINSON: That was grandparents, Hutchinson.CAUSEY: Hutchinson.

HUTCHINSON: Get this, he [William Hutchinson] was a patent examiner at the Patent Office, how about that? You’re in a patent firm here. The connection is right there. He spent all kinds of years there until he eventually retired.

CAUSEY: From that location on Third Street?
HUTCHINSON: From that location, he passed away in that house.
CAUSEY: You mentioned the other week when we were talking about a coal company, a coal yard.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, the Marlow Coal Company. They owned land on A Street NE. They had headquarters elsewhere, I don’t remember exactly where that was. But, it was on A Street, directly behind the church [Lutheran Church of the Reformation] on East Capitol. There were two alleys there, and right at that point between Second and Third on the north side of A Street there was a lot which was owned by Marlow. I think they used it as a distribution point for coal. Everybody had coal furnaces in those days, basically. They owned it for years. My cousin was married into the Marlow's. He was a lawyer, and he told me they were going to have to sell it. This would have been in the 1930s. So when I first heard about it, and probably went into the 1940s, I told the Marshal. I said, “You know, the Architect of the Capitol should buy that property. I mean, it’s going to be for sale, be perfect, because you need parking for the Supreme Court.” So they did. So the architect looked at it. They exercised eminent domain ... or whether they had to, to get it. No, Marlow just sold it to them. I thought that was great. And it’s still there.

CAUSEY: It’s still there, that little parking lot, because there are apartment buildings around ...HUTCHINSON: We use it on Sundays to park, if necessary.
CAUSEY: And you’re talking ... the church is the Church of the Reformation, the Lutheran Church.HUTCHINSON: Right.

CAUSEY: Someone else in the neighborhood talked about a coal lot at Fifth and A. Does that ring any bells?

HUTCHINSON: No, that was the only coal lot that I know, between Second and Third on A.CAUSEY: OK, drug stores, candy stores?

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

page 14

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Drug stores, candy? Well, there were little shops, especially on Pennsylvania Avenue. There were restaurants opposite the Library of Congress, which is now another building, now Madison. But, going on down, there was Sherrill’s, famous, Trover gift shop. There was a Ford dealer between Third and Fourth on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue. A Ford dealer. You can still see the building. I never could figure out why they would have it there because if you took a car—which I did once—into it you had to drive it into the driveway which went up to the second floor. That’s where they worked on your car. It was crazy. But, anyway, they were a dealer. There were shops along there, always have been.

CAUSEY: On Maryland Avenue, that were closer to ...

HUTCHINSON: No, it was all residential. I can’t remember anything except Bradley’s pharmacy at Seventh and Maryland. There was Hardesty’s market at Eighth. This was the southeast corner on Eighth. Does that name sound familiar?

CAUSEY: I’ve heard of Hardesty. I wasn’t sure ...

HUTCHINSON: Hardesty. They were brothers. They had one grocery store there and another one elsewhere on Capitol Hill. It was Russell and I can’t remember the other’s name. They were grocers. Now, there was a grocery store also in the same block between Seventh and Eighth. Bradley was on the corner. That was a pharmacy with a great ice-cream counter—whatever you called it in those days— where you could go in and get milkshakes and everything. A little counter, you know, three seats. You always knew who was behind the counter because it was a friend of yours who would always operate. So, you would always have a great time. The best milkshakes in town. You made them yourself practically. But, anyway there was a grocery store, the name Sanitary. Does that ever ring a bell?

CAUSEY: The original Safeway, right?
HUTCHINSON: Wasn’t that a predecessor to Safeway? There was a store there, a grocery store, small,

but in that block, Seventh to Eighth. Does that ever show in your histories?CAUSEY: I’ve heard people talk about different locations, one in Southeast for sure.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, definitely, I definitely remember. That was the closest grocery that I can remember, except Eastern Market.

CAUSEY: And would you go to Eastern Market?
HUTCHINSON: I sure did. That’s where the family on Saturdays would go, and I can remember going

there. Just like it is today, so to speak. A great building. I do remember this, at an early age, check my page 15

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

historic date. Lindbergh flew ... was it in 1927 when he made the flight across the ocean? Anyway, when he came back, there was a big celebration at the Navy Yard and Mr. Lindbergh came. My family took me to the Navy Yard to see Mr. Lindbergh. Now, don’t ask me did I see him? If it was, it was like over there [points across the room] somewhere. I just remember going by the market on the way to the Navy Yard which was right down Seventh Street.

CAUSEY: Were you walking?
HUTCHINSON: I was probably driven [Laughs] in a carriage. My sister and a bunch of us went down

there. I was just one of the kids they took down there. It was 1927, I think ...

CAUSEY: We can get the date for sure, but I had not heard of Lindbergh coming to the Navy Yard. [Lindbergh was welcomed back to the United States on June 11, 1927, when the cruiser Memphis tied up at the Navy Yard.]

HUTCHINSON: Oh, yeah, it was a big deal. The President was there to greet him and everything.CAUSEY: What other kinds of outings would you take as a family? Did you ever go out to Glen Echo?

HUTCHINSON: Oh yes, Glen Echo. This was later on. There were only three ... one, two, three ... public swimming pools, meaning public, that the public could go into. Two of them, people really didn’t know about, but I had gone there. One was at the Wardman Park Hotel. There was a swimming pool there. Probably still is. Have you ever been? I think there is still a pool there, whatever they call it, Sheraton or not. But, anyway, there was a pool there that if you knew the right people, you could get to it and be considered you were staying there. The other was in the Ambassador Hotel at 14th and K. There was a swimming pool. It was open to the public. The other was Glen Echo.

CAUSEY: So the Natatorium on Capitol Hill just behind Eastern Market wasn’t a swimming pool when you were young?

HUTCHINSON: Not that I remember; if it was, it was very private, really private. But these other ones were not. [Capitol East Natatorium near Eastern Market, now the Rumsey Aquatic Center, opened in 1970.]

CAUSEY: Did you like to swim?
HUTCHINSON: Oh, you did because, you know, everybody seemed to in the 1930s go to Beverly

CAUSEY: Where is Beverly Beach?

page 16

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Beverly Beach is near Davidsonville, this is off of Route 50 in Maryland. Bay Ridge, Beverly Beach. These were the big attractions because you could swim there. I can remember being driven down there as a kid at night because fortunately they had nets that kept out the sea nettles, which were awful in that area. You could swim for a nominal charge, like a dollar or something. Davidsonville is very near there and I’m not sure there is, there probably is a beach there, but it’s all private now. Bay Ridge and Beverly, those were the two places. You didn’t even have to go as far as Chesapeake Beach, because that was much further on.

CAUSEY: You mentioned Castel’s corner store.
HUTCHINSON: Third, Third and East Capitol. Same block. And then there was a grocery store at the

corner of Fourth, still there.CAUSEY: Right.

HUTCHINSON: And I think there was a pharmacy along the side of Fourth Street at East Capitol, I can’t remember the name.

CAUSEY: So, if Castel’s was at Third and East Capitol ...HUTCHINSON: Third and East Capitol.
CAUSEY: ... which quadrant? Because the funeral home was ...HUTCHINSON: Northwest.

CAUSEY: Northwest.
HUTCHINSON: Northwest corner. It was Third Street, definitely Third.
CAUSEY: There is a little frame house there now, that I thought was probably pretty old.

HUTCHINSON: There was a tailor’s shop where the Supreme Court Historical Society is now, on East Capitol. [Opperman House, 224 East Capitol Street NE] That was a tailor shop at one time, I do remember that. And when the Reformation [Church] bought the property they are at, there were two homes, fairly large homes, owned by a religious organization. They sold it and the church moved in there. I don’t remember any other, other than what I named.

CAUSEY: OK, and over then ... let’s talk a little bit around the Court area. When you would walk from home you would go on up Maryland?

page 17

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Through Stanton Park, Maryland Avenue, turn left on Second and go in the back door of the Supreme Court building.

CAUSEY: Was there always parking underneath the Court?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, there was, very narrow places in the garage. Now it’s all different. Three of the four ... There were four areas of parking. There is only one left. They have completely blocked off the others. And now the parking lot is under Maryland Avenue, basically, on the north side. That’s what they did when they did a lot of restoration.

CAUSEY: One of the things you mentioned that I found fascinating was during the wartime you talked about an anti-aircraft gun. Where was that again.

HUTCHINSON: Yes. There was an anti-aircraft gun on Maryland Avenue ... or, Massachusetts ... at Ninth Street NE. I asked Patrick Coyne, our friend, “Patrick, I want you to go up to that corner and see if all the trees were taken down on that little plot of land?” It was triangular, like that. And they were down, because that’s where they put this anti-aircraft gun on top of a platform. They did it in January of 1942. That was the same area I would walk by in 1938 for the three days that I went to Eastern. [Mr. Hutchinson noted that he had been surprised when driving by that location in 1942.] It was up, because they were afraid of attacks. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, they put them all over the city.

You knew about the one, I think I’ve talked to Herb about this, when the gun on top of the Interior [Department] went off. They were all over those buildings around in downtown, the anti-aircraft guns. Somebody [mistakenly] pulled the lanyard and it shot. You can see where the shell hit the Lincoln Memorial. You can see where that shell hit it. Really! In fact, that book written by an East Capitol Street ... about women in World War II ... I can’t remember the author’s name. [Aside to Mr. Mintz: Herb, were you at that lecture at AOI [DC’s Association of the Oldest Inhabitants] where the lady spoke about women in World War II? Herb responds “No.” ] She was one of the few people that I’ve heard that ever related that story, but it went off from Interior and went boom right to the Lincoln Memorial. Beautiful shot. [Mr. Hutchinson later provided the following: “You find confirmation of this in a recent book by Cindy Gueli, a local historian, in her 2015 book “Lipstick Brigade” about government girls in DC during World War II.”]

CAUSEY: I’ve heard people talk about that there were other encampments or placement of guns.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, there were. At Bolling Field, across the river in Anacostia. Blackouts, I thought that was one of the most interesting things. In 1942, in early 1942, the city went under dark in the wintertime, all the lights were out. There are pictures showing Constitution Avenue and a dark,

page 18

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

somewhat, city, although you could still see light here and there. I remember wardens walking up D Street to make sure the curtains were down. I was working at the Court library until 10 pm and remember having curtains placed at the windows even though few, if any people used the library at night. Everybody had to observe it, but it didn’t last very long, I can tell you that. German submarines were sinking many ships off the eastern coast, but we never had anything [near DC.] But, a submarine did fire on a cannery on the Oregon coast. They said that after the war was over the captain of that Japanese submarine came to Oregon to apologize for what he did. [Mr. Hutchinson notes that although the blackout for DC was lifted by fall of 1942, blackouts along the coasts remained when the war drew to a close in late 1944 and early 1945.]

CAUSEY: Do you remember anything about the hospital that was located at Seventh?

HUTCHINSON: Casualty? I do remember, it was there.

CAUSEY: Did you ever have to go there?

HUTCHINSON: My wife had to go for an operation there real quick one time, just because it was closest and it could be done, but that was the only time I can remember.

CAUSEY: That would have been your first resort?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, definitely. The nearest other hospitals were Emergency, I think, down on I Street

NW. GW, of course, came along, Georgetown, but no, I think that was the closest one to us.CAUSEY: There was a nurses home ...
HUTCHINSON: Right there, adjacent to it. Yes.
CAUSEY: Adjacent or up closer to the Stanton Park area?

HUTCHINSON: I don’t remember how much further ... that was on Eighth. It could have been, I thought it was sort of like in that general area of Casualty.

CAUSEY: I’m getting some mixed addresses on that, so I’m not quite sure ...HUTCHINSON: Is that right? I’m just not sure.

CAUSEY: ... to pin it down. One of our earlier interviewees lived at 702 Maryland Avenue NE and he had a meat processing ... his father was a meat processor.

HUTCHINSON: 702, that would have been ...

page 19

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: Sort of on the corner of Maryland and Seventh, on the northeast corner.HUTCHINSON: There was a library there of course. That went up when I was a kid, or at least as I

remember it before the war, maybe right after the war. The library, right on the corner of Seventh.CAUSEY: There is a library on the south side of Maryland.
HUTCHINSON: Southwest side at Seventh. Still there, I assume.
CAUSEY: It is still there, it’s our local library.

HUTCHINSON: I don’t remember any ... The streetcar stop was on Eighth. We’ve already identified Hardesty. As you went out to 13th and D [on] the streetcar, there was a church between Ninth and Tenth, or maybe it was Eighth and Ninth on D Street, a church on the south side, if I recall right. Of course, there is one at Ninth on Maryland. Still there, the building anyway.

CAUSEY: There is a big church on D just before ... in the block between Eighth and Ninth. The bottling plant that was just behind the Presbyterian Church, right across the street. Any recollection?

HUTCHINSON: This would have been what number?
CAUSEY: Well, it would be on C Street, like in the 600 block of C.

HUTCHINSON: A bottling plant, that doesn’t strike me. I remember getting the streetcar to go to school right at the corner of C and Stanton Park. There was a stop right there, on the other side of the church. That’s where I could run and get the streetcar right there, or go to Fifth. I had a choice. It depended on how late I was, which one. I didn’t want to take a chance to miss the streetcar or I’d be really late for school.

CAUSEY: Do you remember which line that was?
HUTCHINSON: Forty-two, forty-two. Lincoln Park was Forty. CAUSEY: Would the forty-two take you to school, right to Emerson?

HUTCHINSON: Right to school, right to Emerson, off of Connecticut Avenue. I’d get off at M Street, I think, or maybe it was L, I think, right on the corner there. Catholic University had a building right across the street from Emerson. They are both still there, I think, as far as I know.

CAUSEY: Teachers at Emerson, anyone there on the faculty that made ...

page 20

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: I think the principal there was Humphrey. He was there for years. A fine fellow, he was the principal. But, again, this was a school that was really designed in a sense for the service academies, you know, West Point and Annapolis. They were geared to prepare people for going to Annapolis or West Point.

CAUSEY: So, were you then unusual in that you were working, or were most of the other students working?

HUTCHINSON: Well, there were four pages and we all went to school there. But, my class was the last, because the Capitol Page School became available for the Supreme Court. It was there all the time, but we couldn’t go there because of the hours. You see, the Capitol Page School began at nine and we went to work at nine! But, afterwards, they consulted the Court and worked it out so the pages could go early and not report until later. Because the Court was meeting at noon in those days, so that enabled them to get to the Court by ten anyway.

CAUSEY: The Page School was in the Library of Congress, even at that time, up on the top floor?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, yes, it was. Right.

CAUSEY: But you never took classes there.

HUTCHINSON: Never there. I’m part of the alumni. They said well, we wanted the Supreme Court pages. I said, “I never went there.” But they said, “That’s alright, you’re considered a member.” Fine.

CAUSEY: Tell me a little bit about what a page did?

HUTCHINSON: Did? Not much. No. Just kidding. [Laughs] Well, we had to ... this is literally ... You had to sit in the courtroom from noon to 4:30 and help the judges with anything they needed. Which amounted to serving them water at certain times and delivering messages from the court within the bench, like if the justice at one end wanted the note to go to the other end, you would take it to the other end, or to their office. Justice Frankfurter would love to get books, so you went to the library quite often. So that was our main day. Two weeks a month, October to June, we were in the court from Monday to Friday. And we served outside of the conference room, working on Saturdays at noon. And we would be outside the conference room, in this anteroom until the conference ended. So we just sat there. I played checkers. I really learned how to play checkers. And study! Remember we were going to school at night, so I would say this. When the Court was out of session, we took tours, we ran messages, we studied, and played ping-pong.

CAUSEY: Where was a ping-pong table?

page 21

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: We had two rooms on the ground floor of the building at the north end. An anteroom where we had a large table like this, it was sort of long. Four of us could study at the table. And, this other room was fairly large and there was a ping-pong table. You know that there is a tunnel under East Capitol between the Court and the Library of Congress? You knew about that tunnel, didn’t you? [Laughs]

CAUSEY: I did not. [Laughs] Is it still there?

HUTCHINSON: There is a tunnel. It’s still there, I think. Now whether they did it when they renovated the Court building or whatever and did a lot with East Capitol Street, they may have blocked it off. But, this was a tunnel built intentionally because, at that point when the Court opened its building in 1935, there was a beautiful library which had no books. They had to buy books. So that’s what the library did for five years was to go buy books to put in the library. Well, if you didn’t have the books, you sent to the Library of Congress. So, in bad weather, snow, rain or whatever, you used the tunnel. So the page would go down to the basement floor, walk down about 10 steps and open this huge door and go down this tunnel which went like this [gestures down and then flat] and then up into the basement of the Library of Congress. I mean, if you had many books, we had little trucks. The idea was to slide down on the Court side to the level and see how far up you could go on your little truck, your little book truck. So, you would sit on your book truck and slide right down and try to get up. You didn’t get very far because the level was like this [gestures upward slant].

But, now, what I was told later—certainly didn’t happen when I was there, thank goodness—one of the things they indoctrinated new pages in was to take them down and show them the tunnel and say, “Well look, this is where you go when you go to the Library of Congress.” But, what they would do to a new page is say, “Now look, I’ll wait here and you go over and get the books and come back,” because they’d go up to the Reading Room, pick up the books, and come back. Well, the poor fellow would get down, half-way down, they would close the door and turn the light off.

CAUSEY: Oh, tricky! Hmmm.
HUTCHINSON: Oh boy, was that scary! I mean, the poor fellow would start yelling and everything.

Sound would reverberate, but not get very far. But, that was the “indoctrination” to being a page.CAUSEY: Yes, yes, we have other words for that. [Laughs]

HUTCHINSON: You see what I mean. They didn’t do it to me, thank goodness, I’ll tell you. But, no, it may still be there, this tunnel.

page 22

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: It may be. Of course, the big thing now is the tunnel that comes from the Capitol Visitor Center directly into the Library which has means a lot more tourists coming into the library than they’ve ever had before.

HUTCHINSON: Not many knew about this tunnel, I’ll put it that way.

CAUSEY: I’ll inquire. If it’s still there, it would be fun to know. [Mr. Hutchinson spoke with the Curator’s Office at the Supreme Court and understands that both the Court and the Library of Congress now use the tunnel as storage areas.] After working as a page, what did you do?

HUTCHINSON: Then I went to the library and worked there in ’40, about 1940. So I was there in the library until I was drafted.

CAUSEY: When did you become a Marshal?
HUTCHINSON: I think they called it chief clerk, assistant Marshal. That was in 1952, after the war.

That’s when I shifted to the Marshal’s office.

CAUSEY: What does a Marshal do?

HUTCHINSON: Well, they don’t arrest people. [Laughs] They are not like the western marshals. That’s the administrative office for the court. It runs everything from taking care of people, reserving seats in the court room, to paying people. You may not know, many people didn’t, that until 1937 the Department of Justice paid the Court employees. Now, try that one out for separation of powers. They did! Until they created an Administrative Office of US Courts, the Executive Branch paid the Judicial Branch. Try that one on. But, anyway, one of the things, when I went to the Marshal’s office was to be the paymasters for the Court. So that was one thing, every two weeks we would prepare ... the court had its own pay table because they were paid 10% for overtime because they worked Saturdays. That was part of the rater’s schedule. Congress agreed that they should get 10% in lieu of overtime. So, we had to set up special tables that went to the GAO to be approved. That was a laborious thing because there would be pay raises almost every other year, you know, cost of living in the 1950s and so forth. Now, it’s all computerized. But in those days, we actually signed checks for people, believe it or not.

CAUSEY: When was it transferred, because now there is a separate authorization?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, the Administrative Office for US Courts handles most of it for all the other courts. But the Supreme Court still has their own budget, their own thing, still do. So that was another thing, prepare budgets and things like that. The Justices and usually the Marshal and one other person would appear before the Appropriations Committee.

page 23

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: Were the other pages who were in your class from the Hill, or did they come from all over?

HUTCHINSON: You had to be a Washingtonian, or live with a family member. That was true. Whether they were originally from Washington, I don’t know, but the ones I knew and worked with for three, two years, anyway, were all natives actually of Washington.

CAUSEY: You mentioned wearing knickers. What did you wear ... was it shirt and tie?HUTCHINSON: A coat and knickers. It was basically just the uniform, you know. I’ll never forget, you

mean I’ve got to pay for this thing? I don’t want to wear it and I still have to pay for it?CAUSEY: I’d be curious now [if they pay] because the pages wear the blue blazers ...

HUTCHINSON: Yes, the blue, but now they are just aides and so forth at the Court, they call them that. There was only one place you could get them [knickers] in town that would make them for you!

CAUSEY: A question about African Americans. Were there African Americans working at the Court and then also in the neighborhood that you recall?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, well, when the segregation case came down, Chief Justice Warren said we need to have an African American and a young man named Charles Bush came on board. I was in the Marshal’s Office at that time. He became the first black page. After that, there was pretty much one every year, at least one. In my time, ten years, I had at least two that I can remember because they served for four years, you see.

CAUSEY: But, prior ...
HUTCHINSON: Prior to that, well they had messengers. Every justice had a messenger. The person who

kept the, I call it the supply room for the Court, was black. There were a lot around the Court.CAUSEY: Custodial?

HUTCHINSON: Custodial, char people, police. There never was any question. Even though the segregation case came down in 1954, there was never any segregation as such, intentional. I remember being in the cafeteria and eating with the messengers and all, everybody, just a happy family in those days.

CAUSEY: Back in the neighborhood, do you remember black families?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, they were to the north of E Street. There were none on D down to E, but below

that there were some. We knew that because the schools were segregated, you know what I mean, you page 24

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

never saw them in school. That didn’t happen until 1955. I never attended a school with a black. Never. There were maids. My grandmother, she was an invalid for years in that house. We had a lady come who lived sort of in that general area, come pretty much five days a week to help her. Help cooking and that sort of thing.

CAUSEY: Were there other people who came for cleaning or laundry that were African American?HUTCHINSON: Yes, at the Court. They were employed as char women. So, they were there. Just,

school, it never happened because they were all segregated.
CAUSEY: Shall we take a brief pause?
HUTCHINSON: Fine. Time flies. [Interview resumes after break.] Can you hear me?CAUSEY: We’re back after a little break. OK?
HUTCHINSON: OK, go ahead.

CAUSEY: I wanted to go just briefly to one of the questions I had in my mind after listening to your Library of Congress interview about your war experience. Am I correct that you didn’t actually see fighting yourself for the most part?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, it was remote at best, let’s put it that way. I think the closest I came was to V-2 rockets going over your head on the way to London. I mean, those things, that thing was so fast, it would go from, literally two minutes from the time it was fired, which was in Holland, near Amsterdam and The Hague. They would hit London in two minutes, they were so fast. They were rockets. But, the first ones, the V-1, made this racket. You could shoot those down, they were very slow. These are the ones you could look up and see them heading for London.

CAUSEY: You were on a ship?

HUTCHINSON: No, I was on the ground.

CAUSEY: In England ...

HUTCHINSON: On the ground [in Europe], you would hear firing of shells, but fortunately they didn’t get too near us.

CAUSEY: Right, you went in with the forces, into Europe, into Holland, and Belgium, and then into Germany, and you mentioned on the tape about coming across the scene of an atrocity.

page 25

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Yes, toward the end of the war there was an attack at Gardelegen. It was a town, not a city or village, but a little larger than that. This was in April, mid-April ...

CAUSEY: What was the year? Was it 1944?

HUTCHINSON: This was 1945. The war was ending, really, for all intents and purposes. We could have moved with the front lines and not seen much of anything. But, what happened was the Infantry regiment—I was in the 405th—and this was the designated objective, this town. We called ahead as it was happening and talked to the representatives of the civilian authorities in charge of cities. Now, the [German] military turned over, beginning in 1945, every city in Germany to civilian authorities. Hitler said every city shall be defended, every city, town, whatever. So they put it in the hands of the civilians, the military was elsewhere. So the civilians therefore had the right to surrender a city. And they did. We called ahead, this day in April, just to say we were going either to blow your city apart, demolish your houses and everything, but if you surrender, we will not, and you have 24 hours. So they told us within 24 hours, they said, you come in, we won’t fight. So in that interim time, they gathered all the political prisoners, some actually military, mostly displaced persons, slave laborers, put them in a barn, put straw on the floor, locked the doors, and then these 15 year old Hitler youth came in and set fire to the barn.

CAUSEY: Oh, how awful.

HUTCHINSON: Eleven hundred people died in the barn and we found it right after we got into the city. But, they’d done it in that 24-hour period. That was that atrocity. We saw it. People tried to get out, dug through dirt to try to get out and then they machine gunned them. Eleven hundred died there. We found it. We made every civilian bury them, every one of them, and then put up signs which are still there.

CAUSEY: Did you document it at all? Were there film crews with you?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, right, it was documented. There was no question of that. [The massacre occurred

on April 13, 1945.]

CAUSEY: And the name of the town again?

HUTCHINSON: Gardelegen. G-A-R-D-A-L-E-N, or something. Gardelegen. I can give you the correct spelling, but it’s like that. It was a town of about five or ten thousand people, so it wasn’t small, not like these villages where everyone ... I was telling Herb, on the west wall, which is where our troops went in, every village had a bunker or a pillbox or something like that. It was defended. That was Hitler’s idea. If you have to die, you are dying for the Fatherland and all this. But as I say, in April the war is basically

page 26

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

over. Why they would do things like that? But, they did this all over. They would force people to march in the cold of winter and then they would never surrender.

CAUSEY: The documentation of your war experiences ... very well done.
HUTCHINSON: You know more about Belsen and all those places, concentration camps ...
CAUSEY: This was the first time for you to go abroad? Had you traveled before?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, never been abroad, no.
CAUSEY: So you come home from that experience, what sort of reception? What’s your feeling about it?

HUTCHINSON: It had to be done, that’s all I can say. What would have been the result if we hadn’t gone over and done it? When you liberate a people like those in Holland, I mean, it was something else. They were so thankful. Started cleaning up the minute the war went through them. The Dutch suffered quite a lot, everybody did under that regime.

CAUSEY: Do you remember the welcome home, did you participate in any of the parades or celebrations?

HUTCHINSON: No, no no, by the time we came home in March of 1946, on a Liberty ship, and we landed at Staten Island, I think it was. They said, “Well now, here is what we’re going to give you. We’re going to give you a steak dinner,” and this was the funny part, “and milk.” Milk! They somehow thought you haven’t had milk in two years and we’re going to give you milk. And I figured, I’ll take the steak!

CAUSEY: And a beer ...

HUTCHINSON: And a beer. [Laughs] No beer. In the army of occupation you had plenty of beer because every German city had a brewery. Every one, every one. We had, I think it was 4,800 troops on our transport, which was really crowded. When you land like that, I mean to feed 4,800 people, no time for that. We wanted to get home; we didn’t want parades or anything.

CAUSEY: Had you met your wife before, your wife to be, before ...HUTCHINSON: No, after, this was after.
CAUSEY: Was she ...
HUTCHINSON: She was a neighbor.

CAUSEY: On the Hill?

page 27

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: On Lexington Place. She lived right across the alley, “Across the alley from the Alamo.” No, [Laughs] but that’s right. She was from Illinois, came with her parents during the war. [“Across the Alley from the Alamo” was a song written by Joe Greene in 1946, popularized by the Mills Brothers, Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman.]

CAUSEY: Your little story about going down to see Lindbergh reminds me that there are “big” events from time to time in Washington. What about the ... you mentioned the bonus march.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, the bonus march. I think we all knew and were sympathetic, even as a kid, to what these people wanted. It was something they felt they should be paid for their service, the World War I people.

CAUSEY: World War I veterans.

HUTCHINSON: You know, it was sad because, even though we were a mile removed from the route they paraded down, I guess it was Massachusetts Avenue across the river into Anacostia, we saw all the tents and things. And then when the troops moved in, I mean, you really sympathized with them, I think, even as a kid. Although we had no effect on D Street there particularly, but it was the Depression. I can remember people coming to the front door and begging and my grandfather was very I’ll call it liberal in giving out quarters and 50 cents to these people. Every time they came, he would never refuse them. I remember that. It stuck with me, he just wanted to help. He didn’t have a lot of money, but he would help. But anyway, I can just ... it was just the reaction of being sympathetic to these soldiers ... I think the civilian population really was struck and was surprised when the troops ... they actually intended to beat these people if they didn’t move, and remember then they set fire to the tents across the river. [The Bonus March was in the summer of 1932.]

CAUSEY: There was another big march in Washington which was the KKK. Do you have any recollection of that? [The large KKK march was August 8, 1925.]

HUTCHINSON: I don’t know that one. Of course, the ones after the war, you remember, was Martin Luther King and things like that, but that was in the 1960s ...

CAUSEY: Right, and you’d moved off the Hill at that point.

HUTCHINSON: It was interesting that you mentioned that Capitol Hill—we were talking, maybe Herb, you heard this—that Capitol Hill extends, this part, extends only to about 13th Street, not beyond that to the river. Because I have a great story about Anacostia and Fairlawn which is across the river on 11thStreet. I bet you didn’t know, very few people knew it, that the first Redskins, Washington Redskins,

page 28

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

practice field was Fairlawn in Anacostia. I went to see a practice. They came in 1937. They had no field. The team moved from Boston. Boy, this is really digressing. The team moved from Boston in the summer when Mr. Marshall, the owner, said, “I’m going to move” and he did move the team literally to Washington in August of 1937. They had no place to practice for the season. So the team went over and several times practiced at Fairlawn.

CAUSEY: Where? Where is Fairlawn? Bolling Air Force Base?
HUTCHINSON: Fairlawn. Right across the river in Anacostia. Eleventh street, if you look down there is

a lot of grass, fields there. There was a field right there.CAUSEY: Oh, right along the riverside. Yeah.

HUTCHINSON: As you leave the bridge, now it’s all changed, but that’s where they were. There are photographs showing them practicing at that field. And the kids, we would go down and just watch, you know. We’d never seen a professional football team before.

CAUSEY: Would you take the trolley across or could you walk all the way?HUTCHINSON: We could walk, or take the trolley. Usually we’d walk.CAUSEY: Anacostia, at that time, it was predominantly white, I think?

HUTCHINSON: Yes, I would say so, as I remember it. There was never any golf, but there was, I think, they eventually had a swimming pool, and there may have been miniature golf there. It was a nice area and playground, basically.

CAUSEY: Did you ever go fishing in the river?HUTCHINSON: No, no.
CAUSEY: Not even today.
HUTCHINSON: Nor swimming in the river.
CAUSEY: Redskins. Where were you on December 7, 1941?

HUTCHINSON: Listening to them play the Eagles. And we beat them. If you didn’t go to the game, and there were a lot of seats in those days, you’d listen on the radio and things like that. I did see the first Redskins game against the Giants here,1937. We beat them 13 to 3. Sammy Baugh and all the team. My uncle took me to it.

page 29

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: And the stadium, where was the stadium?
HUTCHINSON: Griffith Stadium, on Georgia Avenue at Florida. That was Griffith Stadium near

Howard University.
CAUSEY: Which was a baseball stadium ...
HUTCHINSON: Baseball and football, right.
CAUSEY: Baseball and football, all at Griffith. So, what else would take you to Anacostia? Anything?HUTCHINSON: Nothing else, basically. Although the Randall Highlands ... does that name ring a bell?CAUSEY: No.

HUTCHINSON: Randall Highlands was the area, if you went north of the Anacostia, there was a very high level. You see it in pictures, even in TV if you are looking towards Union Station and then east. There is really a hill and it was called Randall Highlands. There is a freight train which leaves [the city] and crosses the Anacostia and it goes along there, but it’s right on that side of the river at that point. If you went out New York Avenue to get on [Route] Fifty, it would be the area to your right.

CAUSEY: That’s where the National Arboretum is now with the big hill.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, it is, that’s part of Randall Highlands. [Randall Highlands is a neighborhood in Southeast Washington, east of the Anacostia River and south of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. It is up the hill from Fairlawn. The Arboretum is in Northeast, west of the Anacostia River and contains high points of Mt. Hamilton and Hickey Hill. It is adjacent to the Trinidad neighborhood and borders New York Avenue NE/Route 50.] But, that’s not Capitol Hill. So, I digress.

CAUSEY: No, that’s not. The other argument on the extent of the historical area for Capitol Hill was whether H Street would be the barrier, or up to Florida Avenue, the boundary street.

HUTCHINSON: The boundary was Florida, I guess, originally. Is that where it goes now?CAUSEY: No, it stops actually short of H. They’ve just added another little segment. I think it goes

across F out to 13th.

HUTCHINSON: I guess that’s right. Therefore, would 13th extend all the way down to say Florida Avenue or not, or H, I should say?

CAUSEY: Just short of H.

page 30

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

HUTCHINSON: Just short of H, I see. Because Maryland goes right to 15th, right? Isn’t that the numbered street? Fifteenth Street would not be since 13th is the boundary.

CAUSEY: And of course, all the way down to include the Navy Yard, although that is described as sort of a separate, distinct area. [The Navy Yard is a separate historic district.] You were mentioning your family connections to the Marine Band and Sousa and that a lot of the band members lived out in ...

HUTCHINSON: Eleventh Street, Tenth Street, they all lived there.CAUSEY: Kentucky Avenue area.

HUTCHINSON: Kentucky Avenue, that’s why I said the leaders of the band, it just happened, lived right along Kentucky.

CAUSEY: Are you musical yourself?

HUTCHINSON: Not really. I can’t play the piano. My sister tried and she failed, utterly. No, I just like music. [Aside to Mr. Mintz: Herb is a composer, aren’t you a composer of sorts, right? Herb responds, “Of sorts.”] But I love music.

CAUSEY: You grew up with music in the house.
HUTCHINSON: It certainly was in the house, right, even though I don’t remember too much about

getting out to musical events. I was a busy guy. But anyway, I love music very much.CAUSEY: You became a member of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation after the war?HUTCHINSON: Yes, right there, after the war.
CAUSEY: Is there anything particular about ... you wrote a history about the church.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, right, well just the place it was and the fact that it was a church that began in a chapel over on where the Capitol South metro comes out, right below the House office building. They started right after the Civil War in a chapel, then grew to B Street and had the church there which was demolished. On B Street, right next to it, I think I was talking about the Caldwell House. The clerk of the Supreme Court. It was really a landmark and it should have been kept. The British tried to burn it down, but the doctor up on Carroll Place came down and said, “No, there are no arms in here. This is the clerk of the Supreme Court and so forth. You shouldn’t do that.” And they didn’t burn it. But, the point was, the house came down when the Annex was built for the Library of Congress.

page 31

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

CAUSEY: For the Adams Building, as now we call it for the Library of Congress. So the Caldwell House and the church were ...

HUTCHINSON: Side by side. One was on B and one was on Pennsylvania Avenue. See, where they meet, and right now you can sort of tell where it was.

CAUSEY: I had not heard about the Caldwell House until you mentioned it the other day. Carroll Row was pretty prominent. The Church of the Reformation has thrived over the years.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, right. It had 1500 members at one time and then everybody went to the suburbs in the 1950s and it just became more of a neighborhood church. Even though it was, years ago, that’s what it was, and everybody moved out. People returned to Capitol Hill, right?

CAUSEY: Right, yes, it is now, an amazing population growth on Capitol Hill and gentrification and spreading out farther and farther, lots going on. And you come back then, obviously to church on occasion and to visit.

HUTCHINSON: Yes, on Sunday mornings when I feel like getting up and driving across town. But, anyway, it’s nice to see everything done. And the fact, when the Court Historical Society bought that house and really spruced it up. Put a million dollars in it. So they are there and that helps, I think, the whole area.

CAUSEY: We’re here on a day when they had threats about dangerous weather. Let’s talk about weather for a minute. Do you remember big snowstorms, or the tornado that came through Capitol Hill, or any sort of major weather events?

HUTCHINSON: I don’t know, they don’t stick in my mind as anything exceptional. If you found a tree on your house, I’m sure I would have. [Laughs]

CAUSEY: That’s the nice thing about row houses.
HUTCHINSON: I remember 22 inches of snow that never left, it seemed to me. How many years ago

was that? [Aside to Mr. Mintz: I’m sure you remember that, Herb, too.]CAUSEY: Do you remember sledding at all?

HUTCHINSON: Sledding on Lexington Place, yes. That was an incline, but not bad. When there was snow enough on the street, without being ice. Ice wouldn’t be bad, but you know, snows in Washington are rare, right, in a way. But, that’s where we would sled, because it was an incline in the middle of

page 32

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

Lexington down to Sixth Street. So we would slide down, past the Boswell house and go out to Sixth Street.

CAUSEY: Who lived in the Boswell house?
HUTCHINSON: That was Tom Boswell’s folks, right on the alley corner. He has written books about

baseball and talks about throwing balls up against the fence.

CAUSEY: The Washington Post sports columnist we’re talking about.

HUTCHINSON: The sports columnist, yes. I’d love to talk with him about it. There is a generation gap there, of course. But, the fact that we all remember playing kick-the-can and all those things, baseball, or softball, I guess it would be, football, and sledding in the winter, when you had snow, which wasn’t very often.

CAUSEY: One of our other interviewees who lived in the area that was torn down when they were building the Senate office buildings talked about sledding from the Sewell-Belmont House down Second Street towards H. He said you could go all the way down. It was a great ride.

HUTCHINSON: You could, I think that’s right. Because the house is on Capitol Hill, the Sewell House on Second Street, Belmont House. If you do that, you can see right down, it just keeps going to H Street.

CAUSEY: You’d have to cross Massachusetts!
HUTCHINSON: You have to cross D Street, Massachusetts, and then, of course, F Street eventually.

Well, really when you think about it, yes. It’s gradual, but it’s down hill.
CAUSEY: I think, before the streets were leveled, it would have been much steeper.

HUTCHINSON: Much steeper, yes. Because now when you build intersections, they flatten them out like this. But, that’s right, absolutely. But, the better one was Capitol Hill, down at the Senate Office Building, right down the hill.

CAUSEY: Could you do that?


CAUSEY: Even then, it was not allowed?

HUTCHINSON: No, never tried that. Of course, also the street that runs by the Senate Office building toward Union Station has the same incline, you know, but it’s not that far before you run into Union

page 33

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

Station. That plaza sort of area. Is that Capitol Hill? Where does Capitol Hill on the west stop? Below the Capitol?

CAUSEY: That’s a good question. I want to say Second Street [SE/NE], but I don’t know for a fact.HUTCHINSON: In other words, the art gallery or the addition. Is that Capitol Hill? Where I was talking

about driving?

CAUSEY: No, certainly not down below [the Capitol.] I think the Historic District stops when you hit the Capitol grounds, but it may actually include that even though that’s ... You know, there is so much Federal property in and around ...

CAUSEY: I should look at the map again to see whether it goes over to North Capitol, which would

make some sense.
HUTCHINSON: How far to the south? Navy Yard? To the river? Good.

CAUSEY: Navy Yard, to the river, but it stops at South Capitol because Southwest is a different neighborhood.

HUTCHINSON: That’s right. So the stadium is not on Capitol Hill, right? The Nats Stadium which is on South Capitol at M, or no, it would be N. The bridge.

CAUSEY: I may not be right on this, but I think it’s the Freeway, which was old Virginia Avenue, that is the barrier.

HUTCHINSON: That’s right, that’s Virginia Avenue. That’s probably it, because that is a barrier, so to speak. No, I understand, but it is interesting to see the boundaries.

CAUSEY: Well, it was a big issue and discussion, because some people didn’t want to be in the historic district because they wanted to put aluminum siding on their house or whatever reasons and others who said there is a benefit, and back and forth.

CAUSEY: Any other big events that come to mind living on the Hill? Do you remember when buses

came in to replace the trolleys.HUTCHINSON: That was in the 1960s.

page 34

CAUSEY: In the 1960s actually.

HUTCHINSON: I loved the streetcars. I wished that more of them would come back although it’s not practical. But, GM (General Motors) sold a bill of goods and that ended the streetcars. Mr. Chalk, remember, he was the last one, I think. [Aside to Mr. Mintz: Herb, when you came to Washington, were there streetcars. Herb responds, “I don’t remember streetcars; that was 1967.] Yeah, they’d probably gone.

CAUSEY: I remember streetcars because my grandparents lived up on North Capitol. We would come visit them in the 1950s and we took the streetcar downtown. They were everywhere.

HUTCHINSON: Right, they used to go all the way out to Chevy Chase lake, Glen Echo.

CAUSEY: Scare me to death with the sparking, the thing at the top.

HUTCHINSON: Yeah, right. There were a lot of things in those days, streetcars were there, even though there were buses, some buses, although I don’t remember any on the streetcar routes I’ve taken ... 40 and 42.

CAUSEY: Even with your night classes ... how late were your classes at Emerson?HUTCHINSON: We’d be out at nine. They ran fairly regularly up to ten pm, of course, right through

CAUSEY: Any particular impressions or memories of that Dupont Circle area?

HUTCHINSON: Not particularly, because the car went down F Street to 14th, 14th to H and then across town, so we didn’t hit Dupont Circle. You see, it went H to 17th and 17th to Connecticut and out, so we missed the Circle, or if we did, we went under. There was a tunnel underneath, if we did. Never saw Dupont as such.

CAUSEY: Under the Circle.
HUTCHINSON: Under the Circle. But I dropped off just before Dupont because Emerson was on the

south side.
CAUSEY: Family kind of question. Did you have pets?HUTCHINSON: No pets.
CAUSEY: You are not part of the dog-walking campaign people.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project George E. Hutchinson Interview, June 23, 2016

page 35

HUTCHINSON: Out at Congressional Cemetery, right?

CAUSEY: Right. Anything else you would like to add?

HUTCHINSON: Can’t think of anything, really.

CAUSEY: Well, this has been a delightful exchange. I’ve found it fascinating.

HUTCHINSON: I’ve enjoyed it, really. I’m sure I’ll walk out of here and say well, I should have said something, whatever. These things that come back, you know.

CAUSEY: You have some very good memories from childhood days on Capitol Hill and helped us fill in some gaps which we appreciate very much. Thank you very much.

HUTCHINSON: My pleasure, very much. Hope to see you again soon. END OF INTERVIEW