Ron Tutt

Ron Tutt's first home was 624 B Street NE (now Constitution Avenue) and he spent much of his life with his paternal grandmother who ran rooming houses.

Her businesses were first at 304 Maryland Avenue NE (1932-1969) and later at 907 East Capitol Street SE (1969-1970). Ron lived for years across the Anacostia River, but his ties to Capitol Hill remained strong. As a young adult in the 1970s, Ron rented at 630 A Street NE while working as a Capitol tour guide. He met his wife on that block. They married at the Methodist Church on Seward Square, and their wedding reception was in the Capitol's Senators' Family Dining Room. His November, 2017, interview with Bernadette McMahon is filled with Capitol Hill stories that span three decades.

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Interview Date
November 16, 2017
Bernadette McMahon
David MacKinnon

Full Directory

Interview with Ron Tutt

Interview Date: Interviewer: Transcriber:

November 16, 2017 Bernadette McMahon David MacKinnon

This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017


MCMAHON: Today is November 16th, 2017. This is Bernadette McMahon and I am interviewing Ron Tutt for the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Ron is visiting DC from his home in Redmond, Washington. Welcome.

TUTT: Thank you.
MCMAHON: I’m going to start by asking you to give the basic details of your time on Capitol Hill. I

know it covers a lot of years.

TUTT: Well, I was born August 7th, 1945, at Sibley Hospital when it was on North Capitol Street and, I think, Morse Street. Our first home—my first home—was at 624 B Street. It’s now Constitution [Avenue].

MCMAHON: That’s northeast.
TUTT: Northeast. We lived on 624 B Street [NE] until about 1950 when we moved over east of the river

[Anacostia River] to a neighborhood called Shipley Terrace.MCMAHON: Can you give us the names of your parents?

TUTT: My father’s name is Ralph Tutt, and my mother’s name was Betty Tutt, formerly Yeager. She was originally from southwest Kansas, and my father was originally from—well he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota.

MCMAHON: Is that Y-E-A-G-E-R?
TUTT: Y-E-A-G-E-R. German descent.
MCMAHON: Do you know what had brought them to Washington?

TUTT: My father’s parents, James Tutt and Emma Tutt, came because of the construction, you know, the government construction going on here in Washington, DC. He was a lather, I guess you would call them. A lot of people don’t know what that is anymore, but lathing is the laying of boards on the walls so that the plaster could stick to the walls. So he followed government projects all over the place like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, just to name a few cities.

MCMAHON: When did that start? When did he come east?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: That was during the 20s. My father—they lived in quite a few different places. They like followed the government projects. When they came to DC he actually worked on the original FBI building. And he also worked on the Supreme Court during the 30s.

MCMAHON: Where was the original FBI?

TUTT: Well the new building down there, across from the Hoover Building, he worked on that building. There was another original before that which was like up on K Street or whatever, which was in a very small facility. The building on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue [NW]—what is it, Ninth and Penn. That was the ...

MCMAHON: I guess I’d forgotten where they were before the Hoover Building.
TUTT: Yeah. That was the one and only up until the 70s really. Understand that the Hoover Building

might be torn down. Can you believe that?MCMAHON: There’s discussion, yeah.

TUTT: There’s discussion. I’ve heard about that because of the concrete falling apart. That Brutalist architecture is coming under a lot of fire these days.

MCMAHON: The one people love to hate.

TUTT: Oh yeah. That’s a good term, Brutalist. It’s brutal to look at. Anyway, so my father, that’s how he ended up here. His mother, my grandmother, started a rooming house on the 300 block of Maryland Avenue [NE].

MCMAHON: So did he come with his parents?
TUTT: He came with; yeah. My father was born in 1916. He was the only child of James E. Tutt and

Emma Louise Tutt.
MCMAHON: And they came in the 20s.

TUTT: They came in the late 20s. I think they came originally from; circuitously from Richmond was their last stop before they ended up in Washington, DC. And they never left Washington, DC, from then on.

MCMAHON: So he was still a child.TUTT: He was still a child.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: We do want to hear about your grandmother—you might as well tell us about your mother. She would have come her separately then.

TUTT: She came separately. My mother graduated from high school in 1942 from Ashland, Kansas. Three days later—it was during the war, the war had started. Three days later her and her best friend, Margaret Johnson, Johnny Johnson, caught a bus directly from Kansas to DC and got a job with the War Department.

MCMAHON: Familiar story from those days.

TUTT: They were called government girls back in those days. She ended up working for the Navy Department in all those temporary buildings downtown. When she came here, there was a housing shortage and a lot of these girls kind of bunked in together. If they could find a place to live—there were probably, could be as many as five or six girls living in one place. So it was quite a challenge for them.

MCMAHON: Yes, that’s a big part of the story of Washington during the war.

TUTT: Oh absolutely. My father, I think he worked temporarily for the War Department and that’s how they met. Then he became a route manager for the Washington Times Herald. He worked for the Times Herald probably from around 1945, 44-45, until the Post bought them over in 1954. And then he lost his job to the Post route manager, which was probably not a bad deal because when he was working for the— it was probably good that that happened because he was working himself to death. The Times Herald at the time had a morning edition and an evening edition, except for Sundays they had just a morning edition. He worked seven days a week. Can you imagine?

MCMAHON: So this was delivery routes?TUTT: Yeah, for the paper boys, yeah.MCMAHON: That is a big job.
TUTT: It’s a huge job. Back when he was ...MCMAHON: It’s got to be done.

TUTT: Oh yeah. I hardly ever saw him back in those days. They also used their cars. They didn’t have trucks. I remember he had a 1952 Desoto and he used to load papers into that thing. It aged that car pretty drastically I remember.

MCMAHON: Was the seat removed?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: No, he just piled them wherever. He had a little office over there on Minnesota Avenue north of Benning [Road NE]. About two or three blocks north of Benning.

MCMAHON: So he delivered them to the newspaper boys who would take them door to door.
TUTT: What would happen is, I guess, a truck would take these papers to these little offices for the route

managers, and the route managers would load them up and disperse the papers from there.MCMAHON: So you get up in the middle of the night to do a job like that?
TUTT: Can you imagine? He probably worked 12 hours a day at least.
MCMAHON: We’re up to your living across the river in Shipley Terrace.

TUTT: After living on the 600 block of B Street, we moved over to Shipley Terrace. I went to a kindergarten, primary kindergarten school ,somewhere out in Maryland called Alexandria School. I just remembered that. A bus would pick us up and take me out there. This was like when I was five years old or whatever. I just remember going across the old 11th Street Bridge, which was a rickety bridge. You probably don’t remember that.


TUTT: It was the most horrible bottleneck. I just remembered the bottleneck of going across that thing. That was the bridge, previous to that, where John Wilkes Booth had escaped into Anacostia going up Good Hope Road to ...

MCMAHON: That I heard about.

TUTT: to Naylor Road, which I lived on Naylor Road. I didn’t realize that’s how he escaped. We moved around a lot back in those days. We never owned property. We always rented at the time. So Shipley Terrace, we lived in Shipley Terrace. My first elementary school was Stanton Elementary, which was located up on Alabama [Avenue], converges to Good Hope and Naylor. It’s all right there. I was there the first and second grades. Back then is seemed like a brand new school. Stanton was built in the 40s. It still had that new car smell if you know what I mean. Now I drive by and it’s pretty—you know, aged considerably. Then we moved over to Anacostia Road, the 300 block of Anacostia Road SE and I went to Kimball Elementary on Minnesota and Ely.

MCMAHON: Where the skating rink is now.TUTT: What is it?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: Fort Dupont skating rink [Fort Dupont Ice Arena, 3779 Ely Pl SE, Washington, DC].TUTT: Oh, okay. I didn’t know that. I know that the golf course used to be there. We used to climb over

the fence and gather golf balls.

MCMAHON: I don’t know when the skating rink was built, but I used to take my kids there in the 80s. Broke my ankle there once.

TUTT: Oh really. I lived in a couple of different places over there. Three hundred block of Anacostia Road. It’s a small road. That used to be the primary road before Minnesota went through. A lot of people don’t realize that. Al Jolson’s brother had a drug store over there. Jolson’s Drug Store.

MCMAHON: Interesting.
TUTT: Yep. That’s where I used to go for all my candy.MCMAHON: Everybody remembers where they bought their candy.

TUTT: Oh yeah, absolutely. It was a little shopping center called Greenway Shopping Center. There’s also Greenway apartments there, right close to East Capitol [Street] and Minnesota and everything where that converges. There was a Food Fair there. Food Fair doesn’t exist anymore. That was one of the big grocery store chains back in those days. And then there was a bowling alley in there, Greenway Bowling. That’s where I first—well on a field trip, third grade, they took us bowling, which is kind of interesting. They used to have the duck pins which is almost extinct these days. There are still duck pin alleys, I understand around, but that’s the little balls. So that’s where I first learned how to bowl. It was kind of fun because it was only a few blocks from where I lived. As kids we used to go down there all the time to Jolson’s Drugs and all that. Minnesota Avenue had a big retail strip going on there all the way to Benning Road. The Senator Theater was down there, which was the Catholic Church before Our Lady of Queen of Peace was opened. They used to have a Catholic Mass at the Senator Theater.

MCMAHON: Oh, and that was on Minnesota?
TUTT: On Minnesota Avenue, yeah, close to Benning Road. Across on the other side of the street was, at

that time, a brand new Giant food store, which was very modern.MCMAHON: Big deal.

TUTT: Big deal back in those days. There was a Little Tavern on the corner of Benning and Minnesota where I had my first Little Tavern burger and fell in love with these things.

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MCMAHON: Memorable moments in your life.

TUTT: Oh yeah. Well, my father’s office was real close by so he took me in there and I loved those little things. Back then they were only ten cents apiece. Buy them by the bag. I would eat them any time I could. That and Tru-Ade soda pop. We lived down there, third grade, and then my father, that was when my father lost his job at the Times Herald because of the acquisition. So, he was without a job. Somehow or another he found out there was a job available up in Philadelphia, for the Philadelphia Bulletin, as a route manager. So we all picked up and moved up to a little township south of Philly called Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. We only lived there about a year and a half. I don’t know—maybe he didn’t like it, I don’t know what—so we came back. I spent my fourth grade up in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. This is an interesting break, historically speaking, because when I left [DC] all the schools were segregated, and when I came back they were integrated.

MCMAHON: I see. So you were away when it actually took place.
TUTT: When the actual thing happened. And it was all segregated up there too.MCMAHON: But not by law up there I presume.

TUTT: I don’t know. I can’t really speak to it because I just know that when we came back and I re- enrolled at Kimball Elementary in the fifth grade. That was when the baby boom situation went on and there was a huge population growth going through—almost like the pig in the python going through the schools. Kimball was overcrowded but the building, John Phillip Sousa Junior High, wasn’t because the population had not reached it yet. What they did was they opened what they called the Kimball Annex in the Sousa building.

MCMAHON: This is east of the Anacostia?

TUTT: Yeah, east of the river. We lived on 37th Street right across from Sousa Bridge at the time. Right across from Sousa Junior High, I’m sorry, where I could just walk right across the street and there was a school. It to me about a minute to get into my class. Back in those days the facility was really still pretty new. I think it was built in 1950. It was a nice school. When I was enrolled in the fifth grade, when I walked into the class, it was a little bit of a culture shock because it was mostly black. There were three white kids in my class.

MCMAHON: Had that school—and you say this sort was a new part of the school that was created for your class because of the baby boom?

TUTT: It was called the Kimball Annex in John Phillip Sousa Junior High.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: Had Sousa been a white school or a black school previously?

TUTT: It was a white school. As a matter of fact, Sousa is on the National Register of Historic Places because, in conjunction with Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court case—and I didn’t realize at the time, I realized it later on—there was a DC case going on simultaneously called Bolling vs. Sharpe. That took place in the early 50s as well. Bolling vs. Sharpe had to do John Phillip Sousa Junior High. That was where the suit originated from because I think, I can’t remember, I guess a black child was not allowed be admitted and they took it to court and they won. It happened pretty much at the same time as Brown vs. the Board of Education.

MCMAHON: That’s my understanding, yes.

TUTT: So, John Phillip Sousa Junior High is an historic school in the national context. I learned that quite a few years later. Didn’t know it at the time, of course. When I was admitted to Sousa Junior High and I came in it was kind of a culture shock. It worked out pretty well. There were no real incidences of any kind. But I also think children adapt much better than adults under those circumstances. I guess it worked out. Took a long time. There was still a lot of—I mean as we were growing older we were picking up the negative vibes later on. That’s another story. The fifth and sixth grade I went to Kimball. Graduated and then I went to Sousa in the seventh grade. Then we moved over to Naylor Road, the 2700 block of Naylor Road.

While all of this is going on my grandmother still had her house over here on Maryland Avenue. I was over at Maryland Avenue all the time. She babysat me almost all the time. On the weekends I was there.

MCMAHON: This is your father’s mother, Emma Tutt?
TUTT: Yeah, she was the one that ran the rooming house on Maryland Avenue.MCMAHON: Was your mother working?
TUTT: My mother was working at Main Navy.
MCMAHON: Oh, so she continued to work after you were born.

TUTT: Still working at Main Navy down at 22nd and Constitution during that time. My father was working at—he got a job as an insurance salesman for Southland Life Insurance Company. He didn’t have to kill himself like he was doing with the Times Herald.

MCMAHON: So did you actually live with your grandmother?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: In my teen years I did. When I moved in with my grandmother and my father. My parents actually broke up when I was 10 years old. They divorced at that particular point in time. My father moved back onto the 300 block of Maryland Avenue at my grandmother’s place. So I lived with my mother—I went to school at Kramer—I went from Sousa when we moved over to Naylor Road. I then enrolled at Kramer Junior High on Q Street. I think it’s the 1600 block of Q [Street] SE. Then I was still living up on Naylor Road right across from the old Sears building there, which is now closed as I understand. Yeah, it is closed, it’s gone. I think they tore the whole thing down.

So I went the eighth and ninth grade at Kramer and then enrolled at Anacostia. Then for a short period of time I went to school at Mackin High School. It’s a Catholic high school up on 14th and V Streets [NW]. Between 14th and 15th on V, really close to the Meridian Park. At that time I was living with my grandmother on Maryland Avenue.

MCMAHON: But you spent a lot of time with her even in your grade school days.

TUTT: Very much so. The summers almost all of the time.

MCMAHON: I’m very interested in that rooming house story because we know there were a lot of them here at the time, and we really haven’t recorded stories about what it was like in those things. I do have— do you know how your grandmother came to start that? When did you say she started it?

TUTT: Well it was during the depression. You know, they didn’t make a whole lot of money. My grandmother—they rented this house at 304 Maryland Avenue. It had a lot of rooms in it.

MCMAHON: It was a rental?

TUTT: Yeah, she never owned it.

MCMAHON: She didn’t own it, oh my.

TUTT: She never owned it. It was owned by Mr. Siegel, the Siegel family. I think he owned quite a few properties.

MCMAHON: Do you remember how that’s spelled?
TUTT: S-I-E-G-E-L. She never owned it, but the rent was so incredibly low. I remember when they

moved out she was probably paying something like $84 a month.MCMAHON: For the whole place?
TUTT: For the whole place. On the top floor there were ...

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MCMAHON: How many floors?

TUTT: There were two floors and then a finished basement. A finished English basement as they call them. The English basement was my grandmother’s apartment. There was only one bathroom for the whole place—up on the top floor.

MCMAHON: So from the basement [laughs], all right.

304 Maryland Avenue NE, in 2017

TUTT: My grandmother was incredible, I mean in terms of—women back in those days, you know, they were tough, they were a tough group. She not only ran that rooming house—and I know my grandfather, he probably helped her in the 40s, but then he had a stroke in the late 40s. So she had to take care of him. He died in 1951. The funeral was over at Lee Funeral Home there on Fourth and Massachusetts [Avenue NE] right across from Stanton Park, which I understand now is—the Capitol pages live there, I understand. Beautiful little—a beautiful building. So she had to take care of him. She took care of the rooming house. She even changed the sheets and everything. It was just like a hotel. She also worked at Woodward and Lothrop full time. She worked at Woodward and Lothrop from 1944 to 1959 in what they called foundations back in those days.

MCMAHON: I know about foundations [laughs]. My first job.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017


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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Foundations on the third floor of Woodie’s. I used to go down there all the time. Catch the streetcar. The streetcar would be—you’d pick it up at Third and Massachusetts [NE], by Schneider’s Liquors, and it’d take you downtown past the Pension Building, past the old Metropolitan Theater and you’d get off right in front of right in front of Woodie’s. I’d go in and meet her and she’d take me to lunch in the employee’s cafeteria in the north building, they called it. I always thought that was, as a kid, special because nobody could get in there but employees. Woodie’s had a real nice cafeteria for the employees. Basically my grandmother played a very large role in my life.

MCMAHON: I can tell.

TUTT: She probably played a larger role in my youth than indeed my mother, you know, for various reasons. I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill. Getting back to the rooming house concept. Rooming houses were all over the [unintelligible] place. There were rooming houses and there were boarding houses. There was only one boarding house on Maryland Avenue, run by Mrs. Hanson. She was two doors, three doors east of us. So she ran a rooming and boarding house.

MCMAHON: So that was probably 310 Maryland maybe?
TUTT: Could be, yeah—304, 306, 308, yeah, 310 probably.
MCMAHON: 310 Maryland NE. I’m going to put that in because otherwise we’ll need to insert it later.

TUTT: Mrs. Hanson ran that boarding house and you didn’t necessarily have to be a roomer to board there. If she had places at the table, you could partake. She had other people living up and down—that whole strip was rooming houses. I would say almost every single townhouse there—row house, they didn’t call them townhouses—was a ...

MCMAHON: In that block of Maryland?

TUTT: Yeah, exactly.

MCMAHON: I was going to ask you about something. I still want to explore more details about the rooming house, but I also want to ask you about the rest of that row because I’ve heard another story about it from later on.

How many rooms did your grandmother have that she could rent? How many bedrooms?

TUTT: Before I moved in there were three rooms on the top floor and two rooms on the main floor above the English basement.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: Two bedrooms?
TUTT: Yeah. There were five bedrooms.
MCMAHON: Was the main floor also the living room and kitchen?

TUTT: No. It would have been. People did a lot of—they bastardized these row houses tremendously. In reality the front room on the first floor was a living room, but had been converted into a bedroom. There were pocket doors separating that room from the room in the back which was actually, would have been considered a dining room in the old days. And that was converted into a room. That room had a little eating area off of that and then there was a little small kitchen in the back behind that with a sink and everything. That was probably one of the more desirous rooms because it had its own plumbing. My father used that room. When he divorced off from my [mother], that was his room. Then we I moved in, I moved up on the second floor. And there was a tiny little room in the front, and I eventually got a bigger room. It was an interesting time growing up.

MCMAHON: So, before you and your father moved there, there were five roomers?

TUTT: Five roomers, yes.

MCMAHON: And your grandmother had her own kitchen in the basement at the lower level?

TUTT: Yeah, she had a little kitchen and everything downstairs in the English basement apartment.

MCMAHON: Do you suppose that that was the original kitchen? Some houses on the Hill have lower level kitchens from the days when I guess it was desirable because of the heat.

TUTT: It could be. It was very kitchen-like. It was not ...

MCMAHON: Makeshift?

TUTT: It was definitely not makeshift. It was a kitchen. Then you had the furnace room off from the kitchen. It had a coal-burning—she had a coal bin in the back. Because the alley did not extend all the way through ...

MCMAHON: You’re coming to a point there at Third and Maryland.
TUTT: Kind of, yeah.
MCMAHON: The other street is C.
TUTT: Well, Fourth [Street] is when you’re coming more to a point, on the Lee Funeral side.

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MCMAHON: You’re at the long end of the triangle.

TUTT: It’s kind of a trapezoid I guess you would call it. C Street was on the backside. Maryland was on the front side. Then there was an alley that never went all the way through. The alley was kind of a little L-shaped alley. The alley came in on C Street and then took and abrupt curve and went down and did not get to my grandmother’s place. It stops somewhere in the middle there about three quarters of the way through. The alley was not really, also very navigable for cars. Really it was walking alley and nothing— just to get to peoples’ back yards. So my grandmother’s house never did have a garage. But there was a little walkway; when you left from the rear there was a walkway that went to Third Street. So when the coal people came in, they had to carry—she would order a ton at a time and they used to carry them in burlap bags.

MCMAHON: Really? Oh my!

TUTT: It’s pretty hard work, a ton.

MCMAHON: That’s a lot of bags full.

TUTT: A lot of bags. So the coal bin had a lid and it would lift up. It was a pretty good sized coal bin. They would dump the coal in the coal bin.

MCMAHON: And it would end up in the basement.
TUTT: And it would end up in the basement. My grandmother was the one that used to shovel the coal

into the furnace.
MCMAHON: You didn’t get taught how to do that?

TUTT: I did when I was there. Yeah, when she asked me. A lot of times she just never asked—you know if I’m in school or whatever. She did it all.

MCMAHON: Amazing.
TUTT: She also had—I mentioned that she washed all the sheets. She ironed the sheets. She had a

mangle. Do you know what a mangle is?MCMAHON: I do. My grandmother had one too.

TUTT: A lot of people don’t know what a mangle is. It’s kind of funny. It’s interesting the way they did everything back in those days because she had in addition to the regular kitchen sink, there was also a utility sink.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

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MCMAHON: In the kitchen?

TUTT: In the kitchen. Those are larger. And that had a lid, and the lid would lift up. She would move the kitchen table over so she could move the washing machine over. It would have wheels on it. And she would plug up the water to the faucet and that’s how she would wash all the clothes and all the sheets and everything. Then she had the mangle. The mangle was underneath the kitchen cupboard. She would slide that out into her living area. That’s where she would do the mangling. I used like to help her because that’s kind of fun. I had the rolling thing going on and everything. All the sheets were perfectly ironed and everything.

MCMAHON: For the record we might want to describe what a mangle is. It’s a sit down iron.TUTT: It’s a sit down iron.
MCMAHON: But it’s a machine.
TUTT: It’s quite the machine. I remember this one was called, manufactured by Easy.MCMAHON: I don’t remember my grandmother’s but it was probably a least a yard wide.TUTT: Oh, it’s probably about this wide.

MCMAHON: The surface area?
TUTT: Yeah I would say about this ...
MCMAHON: Which is why is worked very well for sheets.
TUTT: Yeah, sheets and pillowcases. And if you were good you could shirts and things like that.MCMAHON: My grandmother did shirts that way.
TUTT: You had to know what you were doing. She was quite good at it. Like I say, I used to help her.MCMAHON: There was a foot pedal wasn’t there?
TUTT: There was a knee thing.
MCMAHON: That would raise and lower the surfaces to clamp down on the material being ironed.TUTT: Exactly, exactly. I always thought that those were interesting machines.

MCMAHON: Took up a lot of space. The house was just three rooms deep, so not an extraordinary size? A very average size for a Capitol Hill house.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Yeah. I look at it now. It’s not a big house. I look at a lot of the houses on East Capitol Street, even the houses on the other side of Maryland Avenue are bigger than this particular house was. But it seemed big at the time because I was a kid.

MCMAHON: Maybe I’ll take a walk over and take a picture of it. You don’t have any picture from that time period, do you?

TUTT: No I don’t. I might have. It’s interesting because I’ve got stuff so put away. Finding stuff is a monumental task. I know I have some pictures. Well we were not big picture takers back in those days. However there’s a bunch of pictures that were taken before my time that I discovered in my Hopalong Cassidy lunch box which I had in the first grade, which I still have, that were taken probably in the 30s and 40s. The unfortunate part about it—and there’s hundreds of pictures—but none of them are labeled and don’t know who these people are. I see all these DC locations and everything from back then. I think I recognize my grandfather in a few of them. It looks like some of his worker friends and all that. We didn’t take as many pictures back in those days. We didn’t have smart phones where you could take pictures constantly and have a phone in your pocket. Basically my grandmother managed that and worked full time and did all this. I look back and marvel at everything she did.

MCMAHON: Who lived there? Was this mostly men, single men?
TUTT: For the most part, yeah. She had—only on a couple of occasions do I remember women living

MCMAHON: Were these people who tended to rent for years?

TUTT: In the beginning, in 1940s, 50s—30s, 40s and part of the 50s—for the most part, her clientele was interns, Congressional interns, Senate interns for the most part.

MCMAHON: So are you talking about, not pages?

TUTT: No, not pages.

MCMAHON: College students or young adults?

TUTT: College students, young interns. A lot of them were just working for the summer, or they were non-paid for the most part. They come for short stints. That was primarily what her clientele was.

MCMAHON: Do you have any idea what they paid?TUTT: What, as far as the interns were concerned?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: What they paid your grandmother for the rental.

TUTT: Oh, probably 15 dollars a month. I don’t know, so incredibly low thing. It’s very minimal. It covered her rent and probably made a little bit of money. But, I don’t think it was that much. I don’t know, maybe 25 dollars. Some incredibly low figure.

MCMAHON: It’s hard to even relate to that time period and what things cost. If she was paying $84 for the whole house.

TUTT: And that was when she left in 1969.MCMAHON: Oh, she was there that long?
TUTT: 1932 to 1969 at that particular spot.MCMAHON: So over 25 years. [correction: 37 years]

TUTT: The reason why we moved is that Mr. Siegel had a potential buyer. And we heard about it and we didn’t want to be—and so my father said, “We need to move.” They ended up moving over to the 900 block of East Capitol. She ran that rooming house from 1969 to 1977, to where she was getting rather up in age.

MCMAHON: Do you have the exact address here? You may have told me when we talked earlier.

TUTT: No I don’t. I could probably drive by and point it out. [After the interview, Ron identified the house as 807 East Capitol Street, on the south side of the street.] I lived there for a very short period of time with her. I was going to the University of Maryland at the time. Then I moved out in my senior year in with a college roommate over at Oxon Hill [Maryland].

MCMAHON: How long did you grandmother live? What age was she?

TUTT: She was 96 when she died.

MCMAHON: Hard work was good for her apparently.

TUTT: She started getting dementia though probably—I moved from DC in 1979 and by that time they moved out to the Maryland suburbs. They moved out into the Wheaton area.

MCMAHON: So, your father and his mother stayed together?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: They did, yeah, which was not unusual back in those days. People tended to stay with family a lot more than they do now. So, they moved up to off of Viers Mill Road in the Wheaton area. Then she further was deteriorating mentally so she went into what was called the Asbury Methodist Nursing Home.

MCMAHON: Oh, I think that’s still around.

TUTT: That’s a very nice facility. She died there in 1990. My father died in 1988.

MCMAHON: Oh, he died before she did?

TUTT: Yes he did. I guess he fell asleep and never woke up. He was in his Barcalounger. The TV was still on. He was living in a high rise out there.

MCMAHON: This was after his mother was at Asbury?
TUTT: Yeah. She never realized that he died. I went to visit her and I tried to tell her, but she was pretty

much ...
MCMAHON: Did you have any siblings?
TUTT: No, I’m an only child. I was born between the bombs as a matter of fact.MCMAHON: The what?

TUTT: I tell people I was born between the bombs. August 6, 1945 was the first bomb. I was born on August 7th 1945 and the second bomb two days later. So I just kiddingly say that I’m the second bomb in reality.

MCMAHON: Back to the boarding—rooming—house, because I am interested in that story. I know there were a lot of them. One of the rooms had its own little kitchen area. Where did the other people eat? Did they go to Mrs. Hanson?

TUTT: Some of them did. They either went to Mrs.—but they always ate out. There was a relatively reasonably priced restaurant on the park [Stanton Park] called Stanton Grill.

MCMAHON: What street was that on?
TUTT: On Fifth and C [NE]
MCMAHON: So, on the north side or the south side?TUTT: It was on the south side.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: So right across from Peabody [elementary school]?TUTT: Right across from Peabody, Stanton Grill.
MCMAHON: Spell it with an E?
TUTT: No, G-R-I-L-L.

MCMAHON: They didn’t get fancy and put an E on it.
TUTT: It was basic. I have a picture of it somewhere.
MCMAHON: That’s the building that looks like a store front that’s still there.TUTT: I think so.

MCMAHON: There’s some development going on there right now that’s been a bit controversial because of some changes they wanted to make in the building. It’s been yoga studio, and I’m not sure what all it’s been used for during the years. But that was a restaurant?

TUTT: There was also a movie theater on that block.

MCMAHON: I knew about that. Was that on the north side or the south side?

TUTT: The Stanton Theater. It was right down in the same block on the—it was on the south side of Stanton Park, in the middle of the block. It was Stanton Theater. Just a few steps practically from the Stanton Grill. I used to go there as a kid when they used to have matinees. Used to be westerns and cartoons and everything like that. On Saturday matinees they used to have like somebody dressed as Tarzan show up with a monkey on his shoulder, or Hopalong Cassidy would show up with his cap pistols.

MCMAHON: A real person, I mean a real person dressed ...

TUTT: Used to have real individuals dressed up. I remember one time when Hopalong Cassidy came in, claiming to be Hopalong Cassidy. Everyone knew he wasn’t Hopalong Cassidy and they showered him with popcorn. [both laugh]

MCMAHON: You can’t fool kids.

TUTT: Oh yeah. Also when they looked at the pistols, “These weren’t real guns! These are cap pistols!” I just remember that. It was a funny day. But we did like Tarzan because he had a real monkey on his shoulder.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: That’s funny. I have never heard that they had promotional things going on.TUTT: Oh yeah.
MCMAHON: It’s not as though they needed to. The kids were going to go to the theaters anyway.

TUTT: Oh we loved it, we loved it. I‘d go in there a lot as well as the Penn Theater [north side of Pennsylvania Avenue SE between Sixth & Seventh Streets] and the Avenue Grand [645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE].

MCMAHON: We hear about those a lot.
TUTT: Avenue Grand, I was sorry when that got burned down.MCMAHON: Did you interact with the roomers at all?

TUTT: Sometimes I did, yeah. I was a very social kid. I used to hang out with some of them. There was an evolution also. I was mentioning that you had the interns and everything living there. Then it sort of gradually evolved to retirees.

[Recorder was paused for a rest.]

MCMAHON: We’re back to recording, and you were talking about your interactions with the roomers at your grandmother’s and that you were a social kid, and it evolved later into having retirees being there.

TUTT: I remember one woman in particular, her name was Edna.MCMAHON: Do you remember her last name?

TUTT: I wish I could remember. In the beginning she had the house right next door to my grandmother’s. I remember her. At the time that she lived next door she seemed like a grouchy old lady, and I didn’t really like her. Then I guess when she was getting older, she moved into one of the rooms that my grandmother had. She had the room in the back where the sink was. I used to go in sometimes and sit with her and listen—she’d listen to the radio all the time. We listened to Fibber McGee and Molly and all these. Jack Benny was on. They used to have all the radio shows going on. I would sit with her and hang out with her.

MCMAHON: Just for purposes of identifying the time, are you talking about the 50s by now?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Oh yeah. This is the 50s, yeah. The 50s is probably my age of recollection of course, more that the 40s. I do remember the 40s. We had got a TV ’48 or ’49. I remember Howdy Doody being on. That was something I definitely remember.

Getting back to Edna, so Edna turned out—she was a sweet lady. I also remember she was widowed. She had a photograph on her bureau of her husband. Her husband was a traffic cop in Washington DC in the 20s. I remember this one photo. It looked like it was like at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue [NW]. He’s right in the middle in one of those stands. They used to have a stand where they would conduct the traffic, unlike today.

She was a sweet lady. I’d sit with her and do chat and everything. I remember she died. Her funeral was at Lee Funeral Home. We were virtually the only people that came to the funeral. She was buried out in the Cedar Hill Cemetery where my grandfather and also my grandmother is buried now. I look back on it, you know, its kind of sad that ...

MCMAHON: Did she stay for a number of years?

TUTT: Yeah, I think she was there about, probably about three or four years maybe, I guess. She died, then my father took over that room. There would be people that would come and go. I remember there was this one woman that moved—she didn’t have too many women. She liked to rent to men. And she also, I kind of humorously say, she did not allow female company.

MCMAHON: I’m sure.
TUTT: “I’m sorry; you cannot have any female company come into your room.” That was a no-no.

There was this one woman [roomer] named Mrs. Azerova, she was Russian. She was an older woman. [Information provided by Ron Tutt subsequent to the interview: Mrs. Azerova arrived in DC and rented a room from my grandmother. She was a very pushy woman and partially took over my grandmother's kitchen, much to my grandmother's dismay. Perhaps it was that Bolshevik mentality of collective living, I don't know. My grandmother put up with it, for some reason. We were all relieved when she finally moved.]

How she came about was when Edna moved out ...MCMAHON: Oh, Edna died, right.

TUTT: Yeah, well when she moved out of the house next door. There are these two little houses that are completely different from all the rest of the houses on that block, 306 and 308; next time you drive by

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

you’ll notice—in fact I have pictures of them. I took them yesterday. I’ll show them to you. Edna lived in one. This woman by the name of—what was her name? Last name was Kolometseif. Anyway, she was a very attractive middle age—probably late 30s woman, very attractive. She lived in Mrs. Hanson’s house at first.

MCMAHON: At 310.

TUTT: [This paragraph contains corrections and clarifications supplied by Ron Tutt subsequent to the interview. Some bracketed items replace erroneous information, and others clarify statements made during the interview.] Very sophisticated looking woman. I remember she had a Persian cat that always hung out with her, even when she was out front. She was kind of stand-offish. Then she moved into the house next door, rented that house. And then all of a sudden this young girl my age arrived on the scene with her grandmother. Turns out this girl’s name was Marina [she was Mrs. Kolometseif’s daughter]. She was just a few months older than me. Very fascinating background. [Her family was originally Greek but had immigrated to Russia generations before and had changed their name to Kolometseif to sound more Russian.] She [Marina] was born in [Tsingtao], China. Her grandfather [and other ancestors were], I found out—we still talk, she lives in San Diego now— [involved in import/export business in Russia]. Seriously. I didn’t know this until just probably 10 or 15 years ago. When the Bolshevik Revolution took place, her family left Russian to China. I think Shanghai, China [actually Tsingtao, China]. He reinstituted his business in China until World War II. Then they had to escape again and they ended up— her mother somehow ended up here in America and she went with her grandmother and ended up in Rio de Janeiro. Then they reunited in the 50s in Washington, DC. So she was more or less raised by her grandmother. [Mrs. Aserova, mentioned above, was Marina’s grandmother's housekeeper at some point prior to the time they were in DC.]

MCMAHON: And that was this woman named ...

TUTT: Marina and her mother’s—I remember her last name. It’s Alla Kolometseif was her name. Later changed her [last] name to [Kolette]. Marina and I ended up being life-long friends. We still talk to this day. She married a midshipman and actually settled in San Diego. Her grandmother was very educated and made sure that Marina learned all these languages. She knew about four or five different languages at a very young age: Russian, Greek, English, French, German. Everyday her grandmother would say, “It’s time for your lesson.” She’d pull her in and teach her. Make sure she learned about languages and all that. I found that to be very kind of unusual.

MCMAHON: Oh, that was unusual to have that much international connection back then.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Oh, I know. Her mother ended up, I think, working for the State Department because of her knowledge of linguistics. Her mother was very talented, very stand-offish though. She was not the most approachable person in the world. That’s kind of an aside to something.

MCMAHON: Some of the neighborhood, yeah.
TUTT: Again, you had that whole strip of houses that were all, for the most part, rooming houses.

MCMAHON: Let me ask you about this, because we have been told about something that happened in ’71–’72.

TUTT: I wasn’t there, so I probably couldn’t ...
MCMAHON: But you may know a little bit of the background about it. Apparently the Lee’s estate—

some part of an estate associated with the Lee family.

TUTT: I think they owned a lot of the houses along there.

MCMAHON: There were 19 houses that they wanted to sell all at once. We’ve been trying to dig into this and maybe get an interview related to it. The story we’ve been told is that there were people who— group of people who heard about this, got together, somehow—I don’t know how they did it, and that’s what we want to find out. Worked with one of the local realtors who was, in the early days of Capitol Hill gentrification, which wasn’t a word that was used back then. That they bought these 19 houses as a group and then drew straws to see who got which one.

TUTT: I heard something. Again, it was after we moved off that block.
MCMAHON: Well, just after though.
TUTT: Don’t forget, I was a kid back then. Wasn’t paying a whole lot—I was a college kid.

MCMAHON: But if your grandmother was still there until ’69. I’ve been told this was ’71, ’72. One of the things I’ve been interested in is how did the Lees end up owning 19 houses in the same block. What you’ve brought to this is that most of those were rooming houses in your memory.

TUTT: Mr. Wiley; there was one old guy, a guy by the name of Wiley [sp?]. I know he owned his own house. His house was like, well there’s the Hansons, and I think he owned the house next door.

MCMAHON: So he might have been 312.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: He might have been 312 or 314. Mr. Wiley, I’ll never forget, he used to sit out in front in one of those old metal lawn chairs, you know. My grandmother had three or four of those sitting out front.

MCMAHON: They rock a little?

TUTT: Little bit, yeah, little bit, yeah. But he owned that house and he also owned, I know he owned at least one, maybe two on Third Street between Constitution and A [Street] on the west side of the street. I used to go up there and collect rent all the time. He had at least three properties I think. Joe McCarthy lived on that street. I think that was his—my grandmother pointed out his house to me one time. I didn’t exactly know who Joe McCarthy was, but she knew who he was. In fact I think that was his last house before he died of alcoholism.

MCMAHON: Hm, I never heard that he lived on the Hill.
TUTT: Yeah, so he lived there. I could probably point the house out to you but I don’t know the number.MCMAHON: Okay. I just thought if you knew anything about that. We’re going to pursue that further.

TUTT: But I do know—when you mentioned the Lees owning that property, now that a light goes on that I remember hearing about that. Most of the people that lived in those houses back then did not own those houses. Owning property back then was a luxury in this town. A lot people rented. This is also an apartment town for the most part too.

MCMAHON: I’m sure there were a lot of people here temporarily. Not full time. All kinds of reasons. Especially the closer you got to the Capitol. There were still a few rooming houses until, oh, I’m going to say into the 80s along—those great big ones on East Capitol [Street]. Most of them had been converted, little by little. But there were still a few that rented rooms. In my experience walking to work along East Capitol is—I think people who were here to do research at the Library of Congress, might rent for a month or several weeks.

TUTT: And they also called them tourist homes. A lot of tourist homes. I have a lot of photos of what a lot of the—if you’re interested in seeing what those photos look like. I don’t know if you have any. I have an interesting resource in my group that has all these postcards of what a lot of those old houses looked like when they were tourist homes.

MCMAHON: That would be interesting. Maybe we’d pursue that later through Facebook.
TUTT: I can attach them to emails for you if you want. He was—remember, I told you over the phone,

one of our first conversations, that there were some rooming and boarding houses where the current
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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

Dirksen office is. I had a buddy whose parents owned one of those boarding houses down there called the Dawson’s, Dawson’s boarding house. I remember it particularly because they had a plaque on the front that said Dawson’s. And it had one of those striped awnings coming off of the front of it. I just remembered that. I’d go down there and hang out with him and play and he’d come up to my house and play—my grandmother’s place. And then they slated that whole block to be torn down with the exception of the National Women’s Party house. They leveled that whole block. I think I might have told you that we used to play in the mud down there before the Dirksen Building was built.

MCMAHON: While it was under construction or after demolition?

TUTT: Before they—after they leveled all those houses it was like one big mud pile before they even started digging the hole. We went down there and I remember getting knee deep in the mud and I lost a shoe and was never able to recover the shoe.

MCMAHON: [laughs] It’s part of the Dirksen building now.

TUTT: Yeah, it’s part of the Dirksen building. Back in those days the only one building was the old Senate Office Building. Little story about that is: I guess FDR was mad at some senators and he says, “Yeah that SOB, and I’m not talking about the building either.” [laughs] I have to remember that story. Anyway there was only one building at the time and then the New Senate Office Building, as it was called for the longest time until it was named the Dirksen.

MCMAHON: Were the Dawsons on B Street or were they on one of the side streets?

TUTT: At that point in time it was then renamed Constitution.

MCMAHON: I was going to ask you, do you remember when that changed?

TUTT: Well, Constitution, B Street downtown, official—you know, along the Mall, B Street and Independence were renamed back in the 30s.

MCMAHON: Okay, I’ve heard that happened first.
TUTT: Once it got up past the Capitol they still referred to it as B Street. It was referred to as B Street.

My birth certificate says B Street.MCMAHON: 1945 it was still B?

TUTT: 1945 it was still B and I think it was changed in the 50s, early—like ’50, ’51, or something like that—to Constitution and Independence. If you cross over into Anacostia, it’s B Street.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: There’s still a B. Are there two of them?
TUTT: Yep, uh huh. I’m pretty sure there are.
MCMAHON: I know there’s at least one because I’ve seen reference to it.
TUTT: Yeah, there’s a B Street over there. I’m pretty sure there’s two but I’ll have to check.

MCMAHON: Yeah, I’ll have to look at a map. [Examination of the DC map indicates that B Street SE exists on the east side of the Anacostia River in 2018; it is south of East Capitol Street but not parallel to it. There is no B Street NE; on the east side of the Anacostia, north of East Capitol Street, the parallel streets are not named as letters but instead have names of one or two syllables in alphabetical order.]

TUTT: Where were we?

MCMAHON: I think we exhausted the rooming house stories unless you think of others. But I think that’s very interesting because it was common, yet we haven’t much opportunity to talk with somebody who remembers it.

TUTT: That whole period was interesting for that. Also the government girl thing was interesting, I think, because all these girls, they came. Women came here in droves. They didn’t have anyplace to stay. They had different facilities around town. One up by the Meridian Park, which is still, the building is still there. It’s probably one of the more upscale ones, very nice. Then you had Arlington Farms ...

MCMAHON: Was that all women?
TUTT: All women. Have you ever heard of Arlington Farms?MCMAHON: No.

TUTT: Arlington Farms was another, right out by Arlington Cemetery between Arlington Cemetery and Fort Myer out there. There was a huge campus for girls out there. They were all very nice. I have, if you are interested I’ll send it to you. They also nicknamed it Girl Town. It was a mecca for soldiers when they came to town.

MCMAHON: I’ll bet.

TUTT: They headed right to Girl Town. I have a bunch of pictures about that. After the war when the disbanded that, Arlington Cemetery took over a lot of that land and now they’re using it for burial. My mother is buried out there, by the way.

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MCMAHON: In Arlington?

TUTT: Uh huh. Her second husband was a WWII veteran, When he died in 1982—she died in 1993, she had the privilege of being buried with him. That whole period was an interesting period, you know, after the war. During and after. This was a boom town back in those days.

MCMAHON: Uh huh. I’ve heard stories about the number of people who passed though Union Station in any given day during the war. I can’t remember the number I read, but it was a lot.

TUTT: And also the Greyhound station and the Trailways. Those places were packed. There’s a really fun book, I don’t know if you’ve read it, Wartime Washington by David Brinkley.

MCMAHON: Oh no, I’ve heard of it.
TUTT: I have it. It’s really a fun story. It talks about a lot of different things. Before and during the war

what Washington was like. It’s quite interesting.

MCMAHON: I’m sure it was earth-shattering for people who where just comfortably quiet here, and then to have that happen.

TUTT: It was a very southern town back in those days with very southern values, again getting back to the segregation thing.

MCMAHON: We do have some good stories of people who—our interviews, who—some woman who got on a train in Chicago, and she was able to give us the exact date and time that she got on the train because Eleanor Roosevelt had sent out the word that they needed women to come and work in the offices.

TUTT: That’s pretty much what happened to my mother. Three days after high school. I remember in the not too distant past talking to some of my Kansas part of my family. They say, “Oh yeah, we remember when your mother left.” That was a big deal.

MCMAHON: I’m sure it was. Yes.
TUTT: Yes, in a little tiny town in southwest Kansas.
MCMAHON: And many of them stayed and made their lives here afterwards.

TUTT: Oh yeah, absolutely. And the military was very, very prominent back in those days. Half of her social world was military. Navy, well she worked at Main Navy. She told me one time—a little side story—she and I guess it was her—I don’t know if Johnny Johnson worked directly with her, but she was

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

with another female, it might have been Johnny, and they’re walking to work. They had to walk quite a ways. While they’re walking early in the morning, the staff car comes by and pulls over, and the door opens and she gets in, and it’s General Marshall.

MCMAHON: George?

TUTT: The Marshall Plan. Drove her and her friend to work.

MCMAHON: He invited them to get a ride to Main Navy?

TUTT: Uh huh.

MCMAHON: That’s interesting.

TUTT: Yeah. She actually told me that story. I thought that was kind of funny. It was a different time back in those days. Much more personal.

MCMAHON: Let’s go back to your memories of your own childhood. Did you—you talked about playing with friends, and I know you were not—I’m going to try and stick with the Capitol Hill period, because that is what we’re doing here with this project. Were you ever in like a Boy’s Club—Boys and Girls Club, Boy’s Club, any of those kind of things for recreation?

TUTT: Not on Capitol Hill. I went to police boy’s club camp, Camp Brown in Scotland, Maryland.MCMAHON: Okay, southern Maryland?
TUTT: Yeah, police boy’s club.
MCMAHON: Had you been part of a club here?

TUTT: No, not really. I was a street kid. I really was. I got into some, well for a short period of time, I got into some pretty bad groups. Down on Seventh and Pennsylvania Avenue where the People’s Drug Store used to be, which is now a CVS, that was a big hangout.

MCMAHON: Southeast?

TUTT: Yeah, southeast down by Kresge’s which is no more.

MCMAHON: Yes, I’m sure.

TUTT: That block on both of the sides of the street was another one of my meccas that I would go to. I for about a short period of time got involved with those kids down there that hung out at that drug store

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

for about a year. And I decided this is not for me. They were getting into fights all the time. You never knew what was going to happen. These were some pretty tough kids.

MCMAHON: I never heard about loitering around the People’s.

TUTT: Oh yeah. Back in the 50s, especially, you know, this was back around the 50s and early 60s. There were a lot of white kids that were on the Hill. And quite honestly though, the kids back in those days were not, they were rough kids. There were a lot of Appalachia types. There was a migration from Appalachia that came to DC. For some reason a lot of them settled on Capitol Hill. I don’t know if you’re familiar with...

MCMAHON: I am aware of that. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time.
TUTT: A lot of their parents were construction workers. A lot of alcoholism, alcoholic parents, and their

kids were running free.

MCMAHON: Did they tend to live in any particular area?

TUTT: Well, let me see, they lived down by Hine Junior High and around there. There were a lot of them down there. Also behind Schneider’s Liquor Store on the northeast side. That’s D Street there. There were those areas. Those houses down there were in pretty bad shape back in those days and there were a lot of families that lived down there of that class of people, the working class. I don’t know how you want to classify them. That Appalachian kind of deal going.

MCMAHON: So you decided not to be part of that.
TUTT: Well, you know, you never knew when you were going to get into a fight.MCMAHON: Somebody must have had good influence on you to ...

TUTT: A lot of thievery going on. Yeah, I had a few lucky breaks, you know, along the way. It was kind of funny because behind People’s on that side, that’s D Street over there I believe. And on D Street, I remember this one family, the Saittas, lived there. They were kind of okay, but their house was kind of like a hangout. Joe Saitta was a fairly OK kid. But a lot of the bad kids hung around in there. Up the street from there is the Friendship House.

MCMAHON: Well, I was going to ask you, did you ever have anything to do with Friendship House?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Yeah, we used to hang out there too. Again, back in those days, even though it was called the Friendship House, those kids were not very friendly. You just never knew when somebody was going to pick a fight with you.

MCMAHON: Friendship House I find very interesting because of course it was founded as social service for immigrants, but it was white. It really was not until—I’ve been trying to encourage somebody to study it. I really feel ...

TUTT: I have information on that. It goes back, I’m trying to remember, I have it back at home. I probably have it on my computer. Before it was even called the Friendship House that was an estate going back to George Washington’s time. Now it been condominiumized I understand and it’s a very gorgeous, you know, very nice place. I underwent a lot of different metamorphoses.

MCMAHON: I think it’s a fascinating story. I feel that it’s a small picture that reflects the overall racial transformations that took place in DC, because it did start out as [social services for white immigrants] and there was resistance by the original founders to having a black clientele. Then things turned over. We actually have quite few interviews that discuss Friendship House, and I would really love if somebody would pull it all together.

TUTT: I’ll just send you what I have and you can look at it and see what you like and what kind of supports—you could glean out what you will. Why I was interested in it is, I just remember going there as a kid and then realizing that that building itself had a lot of historical value.

MCMAHON: When you say hung out there, did they have formal programs or did you just play ball?TUTT: Play ball and things like that. They tried to—it was sort of like a boy’s club kind of thing. There

was also a boy’s club down by Barney Circle.
MCMAHON: Yes and that one is currently—17th and C [Streets SE].TUTT: Massachusetts, yeah, real close ...

MCMAHON: And Mass, yes. That has been empty for a while and right this week they’re discussing what kind of development is going to take place there. Everything’s timely and comes back again. Because the buildings have remained, the history’s still there, but the current history is changing. In the future that’s a good thing to know about. That’s one of the reasons we do this kind of thing, this project.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Yeah, to try to bring things back. But that whole area there was kind of a—and Eighth Street [SE], which is now very trendy, back in those days was totally off limits. You go down there and you never know what was going to happen. The only people that felt safe were the Marines.

MCMAHON: They got there first.

TUTT: That was a very tough area.

MCMAHON: Until, I mean it took a long time for that transformation that has now occurred. Did your father or grandmother ever forbid you from going to any of these places? Did they say, “Stay away from Eighth Street.”?

TUTT: Not really. There’s a term for it now, but I guess you could apply it to it back then, kids were very free-range. When you were growing up back in those days, your parents didn’t put a whole lot of restrictions on you.

MCMAHON: Especially boys.

TUTT: Especially boys. Of course girls, you know, they were a different ball of wax completely. When you left on the weekends, they didn’t care what you were doing as long as you were back for dinner. I remember one time a couple friends of mine and I, on our Schwinn bicycles, rode all the way from Capitol Hill to Mount Vernon.

MCMAHON: [laughs] Without telling anybody you were going.TUTT: Without telling anybody. And this was before the bike path.MCMAHON: Sure. Oh, so you were on the road?

TUTT: Yeah, talk about a trek. This was back, I just remember, this was back when the Capitol dome was primered in red. I don’t know if you have ever seen those pictures. That was one of the 1960s, 1959, 1960, just before the inauguration, they completely painted the dome back in those times. And they did the east front extension.

MCMAHON: Okay that I knew about.

TUTT: This took place all in that. You could see that dome was primered red for a while before they repainted it white. The joke was when Khrushchev came to town, “Oh the did this just for me.” [laughter] We were pretty free-range back in those days and our parents didn’t know what we were doing.

MCMAHON: Did your family belong to any of the churches here?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: My mother and my father weren’t real religious, but my grandmother was very religious. She was Norwegian. She belonged to this church that didn’t exactly have a name. It was held in people’s houses. In the beginning—my grandfather died in 1951 and I think shortly after that is when I think she started embracing God. My grandfather, quite honestly, at one time was an alcoholic. He drank a lot. My grandmother never drank. I never heard a cuss word out of her mouth, ever. When I’d spend the weekends with my grandmother she would take me to church. Every Sunday we’d walk from Fourth Street, from Maryland Avenue down to Seward Square [Pennsylvania Avenue between Fourth and Sixth Streets SE], catch the orange bus, the WM&A—that’s the Maryland bus would take you out to Suitland. We’d get off at the Census Bureau at Shadyside Avenue and walk down to the Corseys’ house, and they used to have weekly services at his house. Mr. and Mrs. Corsey.

It was a derivative of a Scandinavian type of church—religion—and everybody would get up and do a testimonial. They’d read a passage out of the Bible and how this related to them. I was the only kid and I was totally bored. I’m thinking, “Oh my God how am I ever going to make it through this thing?” Especially when this one guy named Leo got up and he’d never sit down. The Corseys I think retired back to Georgia and then my grandmother invited—offered her place for the services. She would hold services in her little English basement believe it or not.

MCMAHON: Interesting.

TUTT: Yeah. To be quite honest with you by the time I was a teenager I was not at all interested because the thing lasted three hours. I kind of strayed away from the church there for a while. I did end up going to a Catholic school, high school for a couple of years and then graduated from Anacostia High School.

MCMAHON: Do you want to say anything more about your school years because I want to spend a little time talking about your adult life when you when you were working here as a tour guide at the Capitol and back on the Hill. In between did you go away to school?

TUTT: Kramer Junior High School, I went Anacostia and then I went to Mackin High School. How I ended up in Mackin was quite interesting I thought. It has to do with the 100 block of Independence Avenue [SE] before the Madison Library was built. That was a main shopping area. There’s a lot going on that. They used to call it Ptomaine Row. There are several different places that I remember as a child. The Drug Fair on First and Independence right across from the Cannon Building. I used to go down there all the time. You had Rector’s Grill, you had Neptune Grill, your had Giovanni’s—there was a shoe store down there. You had La Rosa’s one Second and [Independence] Avenue. Mike Palm’s, the original Mike Palm’s was down there. It was a big area. There was a lot going on. Again Ptomaine Row, there’s a lot of restaurants along there.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

The Drug Fair, I used to go down there at the time and buy my 45 rpm records. You could buy a record for 98 cents. So I’d go down there. They had a nice record collection there. There was this guy down there, his name was Warner Connick, and he was working part-time there. He took a shine to me. I’d talk to him occasionally. In any event—I didn’t realize at the time, but he graduated from Notre Dame and he was campaigning for JFK as well. When JFK won, somehow or another he ended up getting a part-time— he was working in the mail room for LBJ in the New Senate Office Building because the Vice President is also President of the Senate, so that was his President of the Senate office. This guy also was going to George Washington University and he was a lay teacher at Mackin High School. Therein lies the connection of how he got me into Mackin High School.

MCMAHON: Was there a reason you were leaving—you had been in Anacostia before that?

TUTT: To be quite honest with you, there was a period; it was kind of tumultuous period in my youth at the time. I was a very untethered child. There was a period where I was kind of going and didn’t know which direction I was in. My grades were terrible and all that. So he got me in there and Holy Cross. The discipline was good. I needed the discipline. I met a lot of people through him. I once went to LBJ’s house as one of the teenagers and did Christmas gift wrapping for his personal friends.

MCMAHON: Where did he live?
TUTT: He lived in Spring Valley. At the time he bought Perle Mesta’s house. It’s a beautiful house.MCMAHON: This was while he was Vice President?

TUTT: This was while he was Vice President because the Vice President did not have the official residence back in those days. He [Warner Connick] worked it out where I was invited to be one of the kids that went there and we had a Christmas gift wrapping party with spaghetti. This was back in 1962 and that was the first time I ever heard the Vaughn Meader First Family album, which I kind of find ironic because it was not very flattering to LBJ.

MCMAHON: But they were playing it at his house?
TUTT: LBJ was not there at the time. Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird’s own personal secretary, was the one

that was organizing this thing. She was the one that was doing that.
MCMAHON: Oh, that’s quite a bit of national history then.
TUTT: Yeah, it was sort of, kind of interesting how some kid on the streets would end up doing this.MCMAHON: So, you went to Mackin but didn’t graduate from there?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: No, I ended up graduating from Anacostia. I was at Mackin though when we first heard about JFK’s assassination.

MCMAHON: Did you go to the—stand in line and go through the Capitol?

TUTT: I did the whole thing. I did everything. I’ll never forget; it was approaching 2:30 in the afternoon and we heard some commotion across the street. Mackin was on V Street [NW] between 14th and 15th. And on the other side of the street there was this rundown apartment building and these old, retired black guys would sit out front with their little bags of booze, maybe sipping their booze and listing to their transistor radios. All of a sudden we’re hearing them wailing, “the President’s been shot!” We didn’t say gosh as kids—it was an all boy’s school. We got up and hung out the window. We didn’t like what he was saying because you had Pope John 23rd and JFK’s pictures on the wall. They were both revered by the Catholics. It turns out it was right. And then right after that commotion across the street the PA system came on and they canceled classes immediately. This one buddy of mine and I would walk from, we’d go down to 14th Street and we’d hitch hike on the corner of 14th and V or 14th and U and we’d go downtown. That’s where I’d catch a bus home. So we got in this guy’s car and he had the radio on. We’re listing to it. And they’d still not announced that he was dead yet. So I get down to F Street and my other friend, we separated, he had to go one way and I got on the bus at that time. It was on that bus, several different people had transistor radios going at the same time and they announced that he was dead and all these people are crying on the bus. It was very traumatic.

MCMAHON: It was quite a day.
TUTT: Quite a day. Then the next day I hung out with some friends. I remember going to St. Peter’s

[Church] and going in and saying a prayer.MCMAHON: Were there other people there?

TUTT: No, at the time I was the only one. I just walked in. It was a rainy day and I went in the church and just got—you know, which I rarely ever do. Then the next day—you’re watching the stuff pretty much incessantly on TV. And I was working at the Evening Star at the time. I was a part-time; I worked in the mail room inserting the comics section into the main section eight hours a day. Eight hours that night. I did that every Saturday night at a buck and a quarter an hour. My net was nine dollars and sixty four cents for eight hours. So I went home at 2:30 in the morning, went to sleep, and I didn’t wake up until after probably 2:30 in the afternoon. Anyway, Oswald had already been shot by Ruby which totally blew my mind. So then I got together with some friends. One friend and I decided we’re going to go down and get in line to go through the rotunda. So we went down and we got to the rotunda, we got to

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

First [Street] around the Supreme Court and the police officer were directing us to where to go to the end of the line. The end of the line started serpentining through Lincoln Park. Do you remember that?

MCMAHON: I wasn’t here but I’ve heard the stories.

TUTT: So we kept on going, thinking it can’t be way back here. So we walked all the way from the Supreme Court to Lincoln Park and the line started forming there. Then it went straight down East Capitol Street. I was like eight or ten abreast. It took like from 10:30 in the morning until 8:30 the day for us to get through there.

MCMAHON: And it was a cold day, wasn’t it?
TUTT: Fairly cold, yes it was.
MCMAHON: Are you saying you were in the street or on the sidewalks?

TUTT: No, we were on the sidewalk. The sidewalk’s fairly wide there. It covered the whole sidewalk. Then we got through there and then we immediately went in the east door, out the west door and then we circled around and came back to the east front again. We were standing on the House side pretty close in, fairly close in, and that’s when we could see Jackie and the kids coming out taking the casket and putting the casket...

MCMAHON: So this is the day of the funeral?
TUTT: This was the day of the funeral.
MCMAHON: So you didn’t get in until just shortly before the funeral—oh.

TUTT: We could see Jackie and the two kids and the casket being brought down the main front and then put on the caisson and they went to St. Matthew’s, and we decided to go down to the Memorial Bridge. We made friends with a couple of guys from Pennsylvania. We hung out with them for a while. They were real close to where we were in the same position in line. So we went down there and we were able, before they got to the cemetery, we were able to get into Arlington [Cemetery]. I got close enough to see the hole, the grave site, before the casket was put in there. Then I guess we were told to leave or something. I think that’s why were unable to stay where we were staying because we were not VIP enough. So we went back down and we went back to the bridge again. We stood on the northeast side of the bridge real close to where the statue is on this side. We were able to see pretty much every dignitary that came through there: de Gaulle, Haile Selassie, Cardinal Spellman of Boston. We saw the big-wigs going through there.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: First hand account.
TUTT: Yeah. Also, at the end, the planes flying over the Potomac River.MCMAHON: The rest of us watched it on TV from afar.

[Pause in the interview to attach a power supply]

MCMAHON: We could talk for a lot longer, but I don’t want to end this without having you tell us about your time living on the Hill and working as a Capitol Tour guide.

TUTT: My tour guide job was the most fun job I ever had. I lived at the 600 block of A Street. I was able to walk to work.

MCMAHON: Northeast right?

TUTT: Northeast. Met a lot of great people living on that block. Was able to either walk or, you know on weekends you were able to park out front. Back in those days everything was much more—the Capitol was much more wide open than it is now, literally. Beginning back to my childhood which I didn’t mention, it was part of my playground in a way because we could come and go as we pleased. We’d go in the Capitol and play. I used to sled on the west front stairs. I’m lucky I’m still alive the couple of times I went down that thing. I used to see the bands play on the east front of the Capitol with my grandmother. My buddies and I would go down to all the museums by ourselves—the medical museum with elephantiasis leg. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that.

MCMAHON: It’s just been in the paper this week. One of the columns in the Washington Post has been reminiscing about that, that exact building.

TUTT: Yeah. There was a temporary building down there, the medical museum. There was also the original air and space museum down there in kind of a Quonset hut down there.

MCMAHON: I remember those.
TUTT: We used to go down there all the time. We played in all those museums down there. What a


MCMAHON: How did get the job?

TUTT: It all goes back to—well, a friend of Warner Connick. I mentioned Warner Connick. He had a friend, Pat Glover. Pat Glover, his patronage was under—he was from Mississippi. Senator—Big Jim Eastland they used to call him. James Eastland was a powerful Senator on Capitol Hill from the south,

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

one of those southern Democrats. He was one of the opponents to the Civil Rights Bill of course. Anyway, I ran into Pat. I was having a beer at a bar. I said, “What are you doing these days?” He said, “Well, now I’m a tour guide at the Capitol.” “Really!” I said, “God that sounds like a fun job.” He says, “Well, we have a couple of openings. Maybe you ought to apply.” At the time the Capitol guide force was under the jurisdiction of the Senate Sergeant at Arms. His name was Bill Wannell back in those days. I interviewed. It took a while. I really wanted the job because it just sounded like a lot of fun. I just had got out of college and I wasn’t really serious yet.

MCMAHON: Where did you go to college?
TUTT: University of Maryland. I went to Prince Georges Community College the first two years and my

last two years I went to the University of Maryland.

MCMAHON: Did you commute or did you live out there?

TUTT: I commuted from Maryland Avenue for three, and then my last year I had a college roommate. I lived with him. We lived together. So I got the job on the Hill. Just before that I was living—I had a little efficiency apartment out in Suitland, Maryland. Oakcrest Towers, I don’t know if you’ve ever ...

MCMAHON: I think I’ve been there.

TUTT: Yeah on Brooks Drive and Pennsylvania Avenue extended. I lived there for about a year and a half in a little efficiency. They don’t call them efficiencies on the west coast. They call them studios. Once I got the job on Capitol Hill I said, “I’ve got to move back there.” That’s when I got the little apartment in the Krauses’, 630 A Street [NE].

MCMAHON: Was it a basement level?
TUTT: English basement. It’s a cute little, very nicely renovated. It had a nice little kitchen in it.MCMAHON: What were you paying, do you remember?
TUTT: It started at $225 a month. When I left there is got up to $257, utilities included.MCMAHON: About ten percent of today’s rents.

TUTT: I know. That [is probably] $2,500 or something. The same in Seattle—it’s crazy. It was a cute little place. It was a little one-bedroom. It had little French doors leading out to the backyard. The Krauses never used their back yard, but they had a patio back there, and they even had a Weber grill back there. They said you could use it whenever you want. I used to have little get togethers out back there and

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

everything. The Krauses, they were a fun older couple. Whenever I had a party that might be a little bit noisy I always invited them. He liked to nip a little bit, and Angela would drag him home. He was a PhD. He worked for the Department of Agriculture. He looked like Orville Wright, I swear to God. Little wire rimmed glasses and all that. He was a fun guy, very interesting. I was living there and giving tours.

MCMAHON: Was there a long training for that? How’d you learn how to do it?

TUTT: It’s more like OJT [on the job training]. They walk you around. It was much more, not as organized as it was then. I will say this, probably a lot of the information we were giving was probably not—we could have been a little more accurate, I’ll tell you this right now. We learned as we went along. It took about a week before they put us out on our own. Then you sort of elaborated and got your own style.

MCMAHON: Made up your own spiel.

TUTT: We were able to pretty much, yeah. I used to have good time with it. In the summertime we took through as many as—tourist season always started on a Cherry Blossom Festival and it ended on Labor Day. Literally in the springtime it was nothing but high school groups. Twelve to fourteen thousand people a day.

MCMAHON: That’s really amazing. How many guides were there?
TUTT: There were 24 guides, but they weren’t always working .That was a full—24, 28, I can’t

remember. We all had two days off. So we weren’t always working with 24 at the time.MCMAHON: Was it seven days a week they gave tours?

TUTT: It was always open seven days a week. In the beginning my days off were in the middle of the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays or something. As you gain in seniority finally I got—my favorite days off were Sundays and Mondays. I liked that. We really hustled back in those days. During the season we took what they called half tours. We’d start in the Statuary [Hall]—you either took a House tour or you took a Senate tour. With the House tour you’d have the people wrapped around the rotunda and down the steps back in those days, they’d immediately take you into Statuary Hall, and after Statuary Hall you’d go down the hallway and up the House Gallery. There was a gallery up there—well if they’re in session—we had, I think only two galleries. When they weren’t in session we could use the whole thing. So we’d take them up there and then we’d take them back and we’d either end in the rotunda or we’d end up downstairs in the crypt. In the Senate they take you into the original section. They call that the well, where the chandelier is. That chandelier, by the way, came from the Capitol Hill Methodist Church.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: The old one?
TUTT: We were married in that. I was married in that church.
MCMAHON: And you say that was the old church before they replaced it with what’s there now?TUTT: Yeah, uh huh. My wife and I were married in 1979 at that church.
MCMAHON: So the church that’s there now. So that church is the one that is there now.
TUTT: Yeah, but there was a church before that.
MCMAHON: I know that, okay.
TUTT: That chandelier was in the church before that.
MCMAHON: It’s in the old one, oh.
TUTT: Next time you go in the Capitol, pay close attention to that chandelier. That thing is huge.MCMAHON: That’s in the south well, you say.
TUTT: Yeah. It’s in the original section, when you leave the rotunda and you head into the Senate.MCMAHON: You know the Capitol way better than I do.

TUTT: I haven’t been there in a long time. The very next room over, there is a opening and you look down into the first floor. There’s a chandelier right there. That chandelier weighs 2,000 pounds by the way.

MCMAHON: Is it crystal?
TUTT: It’s crystal, yes it is. One of the myths about it is it came from a bawdy house in Baltimore, but

that’s been debunked I think. They said it came from the Capitol Hill Methodist Church.MCMAHON: That’s very interesting.

TUTT: So, you go in there and then you wait for your group to gather and then you take them down to, toward the Senate. You stop, you know, on the left hand side of the Senate Chamber and explain everything. Then you go up the staircase. That’s Ohio marble, by the way, from the state of Ohio. Then you take them into the Senate gallery.

MCMAHON: Little facts you still remember.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

TUTT: Yeah, some of it I do. Then you end up going down and ending the tour in the Brumidi Corridors. But during the wintertime, when we’re not busy, we take them to both chambers and we can take all the time in the world we want. It’s kind of fun because you’re not ...

MCMAHON: Not having to keep moving.

TUTT: Yeah. There are some times when we might only take one tour a day, when we’re sitting around not doing anything. We still, even with an un-busy as we were in the wintertime, we still took through a million and a half people a year. That’s back in the 70s.

MCMAHON: That’s amazing, yeah.
TUTT: Yeah it’s amazing. I was in pretty good shape back in those days.MCMAHON: A lot of climbing, up and down stairs?

TUTT: Oh, yeah. Our offices were way down on the lower west side, west front, down by where the police department used to have their headquarters. So you’d walk all the way up to the rotunda and then you’d still be climbing stairs all day long. We never thought a thing about it. I think I’d be dying right now to do that.

MCMAHON: How many years did you do the tour guide?

TUTT: Seven years.

MCMAHON: ’72 to ’79?

TUTT: ’72 to ’79. November of ’72 to October of ’79. Another little thing—our wedding reception was in the Senators’ Family Dining Room at the Capitol.

MCMAHON: Oh, how nice.

TUTT: The Sergeant of Arms worked that out.

MCMAHON: So, you met you wife while you were doing the tour guide?

TUTT: She was a neighbor of ours on A Street. She lived at 618 A Street with three other women. One of the women that I’m staying with right now is one of her old roommates.

MCMAHON: What’s your wife’s name?
TUTT: Terry, formal name Theresa, but it’s Terry.

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MCMAHON: With an I or a Y?TUTT: Y
MCMAHON: What was her last name?TUTT: Wilson.

MCMAHON: Terry Wilson.

TUTT: She was from Michigan. She came to town with a friend. She worked for—originally she worked for Blue Cross. Then she worked for the Metro when it was opening up. One of the lines—what’s the line that goes along Pennsylvania Avenue SE?

Ron and then-girlfriend Terry Wilson, with dog Betsy (Booger) on A Street NE during the February, 1979, blizzard. Ron and Terry on their wedding day in 1979, going to their reception in the Capitol building.

MCMAHON: The Blue and Orange.

TUTT: Yeah, okay, that was the line. She had to be on the first train in the morning to collect all of the data from all the kiosks along that line. So, she had to get up about 5:00 in the morning to be on the very, very first train.

MCMAHON: In ’79, is that when you left town?
TUTT: Uh huh.
MCMAHON: Did you move to Washington State right away?TUTT: Yep.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017


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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: And the rest is history.
TUTT: Pretty much, yeah. I come back as often as I can, as often as allowed. I like to come back. It’s a

great city.
MCMAHON: Obviously you got immersed in the history here at one time and have kept up with it.

TUTT: Oh, yeah. And also, you know, during the 70s I was there during the Watergate scandal going on. You’d hear bits and pieces like when, for example, the Saturday Night Massacre. One of the gals that worked with us, her name was Mab Wright. She was the ex-wife of Jim Wright who was Speaker of the House for a while. At the time he was majority leader of the Senate, of the House. I went to their daughter’s wedding the day that Secretariat won the Triple Crown. That was at Fort Myers. I remember little things like that.

MCMAHON: You marked different things in your life. [laughs]

TUTT: Oh, yeah. Mab lived out in Vienna, Virginia. My girlfriend and I—she invited us out there for dinner the night of the Saturday Night Massacre when Nixon fired everyone. Archibald Cox and Ruckelshaus and Richardson stepped down, which was a big deal. That blew the whole Watergate case wide open. That Monday I went to work, beautiful Monday morning. I’d ride my bike to work a lot of times. I’m locking up my bike on the bike rack across from the Senate wing where the little trolley stand is there, that old antique trolley stand. There’s a bike rack there and I used park my bike there. As I’m parking my bike there I look up, there’s Archibald Cox walking past me. I look up and he stopped and he spent the time with me. He said, “It’s such a beautiful morning I just decided to walk to work.” I’m thinking, “You’re fired.” [laughter] I’m thinking to myself, “This guy’s fired. He’s walking to work.” I just said, “Well, Mr. Cox I appreciate everything you’ve done with the country so far.” He said, “Thank you very much.” and moved on.

MCMAHON: Was he coming from somewhere on the Hill?

TUTT: I don’t know where he was coming. I didn’t ask him. He was just coming; it’s like he crossed over. He walked to work from home. I don’t know where the guy lived. But he was coming from northwest like he’s heading toward the Supreme Court. He either had a office in either the Supreme Court building or the Library of Congress, one of those two. It had to be. He was the man of the hour at that particular point in time. I just thought it was kind of cool.

MCMAHON: It was.
TUTT: He didn’t have to stop and say anything. He seemed like a pretty nice guy.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: I’m going to just check through whether I’ve done everything that I’m supposed to do at this point. I don’t know how much time we’ve spent so far but I think maybe—can you think of any other topics that you really would want to get on the record here?

TUTT: I can’t think of anything off hand. I know getting back to Capitol Hill Methodist Church, what I learned later was that it was built on the same property that J. Edgar Hoover was born.

MCMAHON: Yes, I understand his mother’s house is now part of their parking lot maybe.
TUTT: It’s the parking lot portion. The building doesn’t sit right on it, but the parking lot, which I find to

be kind of sad, because that’s kind of a ...

MCMAHON: We have an interview with a Chinese family that lived in the big pink house in that block. I think they’re the ones that maybe remember his limo coming up when he came to visit his mother. I may have that wrong. It maybe somebody else that told that story. There’s an old story that appeared in one of the local newspapers some years ago about him taking his wagon to Eastern Market and making money on Saturday mornings pulling people’s groceries home for them when he was a child. He’s very much a part of Hill history and buried at Congressional Cemetery of course.

TUTT: Same with Sousa.

MCMAHON: Sousa, lots of people. Matthew Brady, Elbridge Gerry.

TUTT: Gerrymandering.

MCMAHON: Right. I think he may be the only congressman who is in Congressional. They have a wonderful Web site. I won’t try and get into their history.

TUTT: Let me see, Sousa’s house is down at 626 G Street [SE]. That church there is the church he used to go to.

MCMAHON: Christ Church.
TUTT: Christ Church. There’s a window in the church dedicated to Sousa in that church.TUTT: I’ll take your word for that. I don’t know that personally.
TUTT: Now there is a band member that owns that place.
MCMAHON: One of the Marine Band?
TUTT: Yeah.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Ron Tutt Interview, November 16, 2017

MCMAHON: Oh I didn’t know that. I think it was for sale fairly recently.
TUTT: Maybe he doesn’t live there and maybe he still does, maybe he’s moving out. But he’s part of the

band which I think is kind of cool.
MCMAHON: Sousa’s also a very big part of the Hill history.TUTT: Oh, absolutely.

MCMAHON: Well, I’ve enjoyed talking with you. So I’m going to wrap this up and thank you. And turn off the machine.


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