Community Arts Center

November 16, 2016




Susan Habas
Thalian Association Community Theatre




Home Away From Home – the USO at 2nd and Orange


Wilmington NC.  A documentary honoring the 75th anniversary of the Hannah Block Historic USO/ Community Arts Center is now available to the public.  Produced by filmmaker Rob Hill, it captures the building’s rich history including how it served our military during WWII, what it meant to them and the community at large, and how the building continues to serve our community today.


The film was first shown during the world premiere of Mrs. World War II Wilmington, an original musical written by Tony Stimac in honor of the building’s 75th anniversary, on Veterans Day.  The short version, at just under 5 minutes, can be viewed at .


“The documentary is an amazing introduction to the history of what I think is the most wonderful building in the world, the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center,” said Wilbur Jones, chairman of the World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, which is charged with the preservation and maintenance of the Home Front Heritage Museum in the building’s lobby.


      “It is wonderful to be able to share how important this building was to the war effort, and how it is put to such good use today as an arts center for everyone,” said Susan Habas Executive Director of Thalian Association Community Theatre, which manages the building for the City of Wilmington.


Film Maker Rob Hill majored in Motion Picture and Television Production at the University of Southern Colorado. With a small grant in 1999, he produced, directed and edited the non-fiction film Live In It To Win It, which screened at numerous film festivals nationwide. Rob directed, edited and wrote the Emmy nominated documentary The Fort Fisher Hermit, which won Best Documentary Feature at the Hollywood Digital Film Festival and is distributed internationally by American Public Television and Cinetic Media. The National Academy of Television Science nominated Rob for the prestigious Rising Star Award in 2007, and in 2011 Rob received his third EMMY nomination for the PBS documentary BATTLESHIP NORTH CAROLINA: The Showboat Legacy.


The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center is owned by the City of Wilmington and managed by

Thalian Association Community Theatre. The building is a historic and cultural treasure that has been the center of recreation and art for generations of local children. Today the building continues to be the home for children, art and recreation while serving as a mini museum of the Wilmington and New Hanover County WWII home front. The World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) preservation organization, is the de-facto preservationist of the building’s history and maintains the home front museum. For more information go to