Wilmington is a city that prides itself on keeping its history intact. Today WWAY had the opportunity to visit Sunset Park, and one newcomer is helping long-time residents realize how this small neighborhood has managed to stay true to its roots. If you are driving down Hwy-421 headed to Carolina Beach it is easy to miss this small hidden neighborhood, but during the early 1900s people stopped to have their picture taken at the gate. Andy Hight has been living here for 3 years. While researching the history of his own house, he became so interested in the area's history that he created a web-site, and began to track down former residents. "That's kind of my goal, is to find more people that have…'oh yeah my grandfather grew up in the twenties there' or 'my great grandfather was one of the original people in Sunset Park and here's my mother's old photo album of his stuff,'" said Hight. Little did he know just how much his neighbors new about the neighborhood's history. Sunset Park resident Joan Brunetti said, "I've lived here since 1950 but after I got married and had children they attended all the schools around the neighborhood here and that's the main reason we moved out here." Residents say that one reason Sunset Park has managed to maintain its history is because few people are aware of the hidden treasure that lies behind the entrance gates, and they are happy to keep it that way. "You know it's one of those things where everybody knows what a great place it is, but we try to keep it somewhat a secret," said resident Sondra North. But remaining hidden can also be a curse. "I just wish the city would pay more attention to us because there is a lot of improvement that needs to be done that should have been done years ago," said Hight. Hight hopes they can make those improvements without damaging the neighborhood feel. Hight said, "A lot of older things like this get knocked down and then they build the mcmansions and split lots. Squish as many townhouses, condos, or whatever as they can. So hopefully it keeps the same type of charm." If you're interested in viewing any pictures from Sunset Park or learning more about its history, head to www.sunsetparknc.org.
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