Claim to Fame: Executive Director, Historic Wilmington Foundation
Beth Rutledge is a self-described history nerd. That's a big reason why she and her husband, Tim Morgan, moved to Wilmington from Minneapolis two years ago.
"This town is unbelievably special," she says. "There are eight historic districts here, and in a town this size that's almost unheard of. We wanted to be in a place that values history. We were really drawn to Wilmington because of all the charm and just extraordinary beauty that's in the old, that's all around us."
Their love of history led them to buy a circa-1906 house with a large front porch.
"The porch was a huge part of what attracted me to the house, just to be able to be outside and have such a gracious space," she says.
Central to the space is what quickly became Rutledge's favorite thing: her front porch swing. Sitting outside gives her a wonderful view of the brick-paved street and the other houses, serving as a daily reminder of why she moved to Wilmington.
"Wilmington is so special, and being able to experience and enjoy our front porch is one of the things I most enjoy about being here," she says. "You see columns and dentil moldings and hanging plants. You see other porch swings, you see rocking chairs. You see the simple beauty of porch life. It's absolutely wonderful just being able to experience the way life changes when you are so close to the sidewalk. The neighbors walk by, and that's how you get to know them, and their dogs' names, and their moms and their grandkids."
Rutledge became involved with the Historic Wilmington Foundation almost as soon as she moved here. She began by volunteering at Legacy Architectural Salvage, and was invited to join the foundation's board in January 2017. In December she succeeded George Edwards as executive director.
"He's just kind of an institution," she says. "His knowledge is so vast. What he's done for the foundation is immeasurable. What he's done for our community is immeasurable. I could never fill his shoes. I hold the position he held, but he is irreplaceable."
If there are times when she does feel the pressure, Rutledge has a place to relax at the end of the day.
"There is something calming about being able to sit on your porch and not do anything," she says. "You sit on your porch swing. What are you doing? Nothing, but that's OK."