Born in the Bronx, NY, I gained an early appreciation and fascination with old buildings. Much of my childhood in the early 1950s to early 1960s, was spent playing at our neighborhood park, “Poe Park,” on the Grand Concourse. There was a very old house that was poorly maintained, kind of spooky, and open to the public, which I loved and visited frequently, in between playing on swings and roller skating. That house was Poe Cottage, the home of Edgar Allan Poe from 1846 to 1848.
In the early 60’s, my family moved to Flushing, Queens where incredibly, my neighborhood playground again had more than play equipment and a sandbox. I was 10 years old when I “discovered” the Bowne House, original home to John Bowne who played a major role in establishing the principle of religious freedom in the US. This building was built in 1661 and friends and I used it as a playhouse!
Growing up in NY, I also spent a great deal of time in Manhattan and of course, was mesmerized by the architecture, grandeur and diversity of its built environment. So, I do believe that preservation, respect for, and appreciation of old buildings and places, are somehow part of my genetic code.
I came to Washington DC to attend The George Washington University, where I majored in Anthropology. While I have never “done anything” professionally related to my major, I loved archaeology, spending time on an Etruscan dig in Italy, and studying Classical Greek and Roman architecture and culture.
I loved Washington DC and after graduating from GW, decided to stay. I have lived here for over 35 years, and after stints in Foggy Bottom, Kalorama Triangle, Woodley Park & Adams Morgan, have resided in Chevy Chase DC for nearly 30 years. My husband Keith Laughlin and I raised our two children in our Chevy Chase home – our daughter Jana who now lives in Madison WI (with our son-in-law & our first grandchild) and our son Jake who attends the University of Maryland, College Park.