The History Behind the Largest Privately Owned Estate in Washington, D.C.

#AceHistoryNews – Oct.30:,Even in a city renowned for its commanding estates, Twin Oaks stands out for its understated beauty and historic pedigree. Yet, while the gala events held at other such grand homes are routine fodder for the social pages of Washington’s newspapers, the owners of this particular residence tend to keep their own council. Reason: It is, in fact, a symbolic embassy. A virtually invisible embassy but an embassy nonetheless.

In 1979, when China was admitted as a member of the UN, the United States was forced to end its formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But within 90 days the Congress signed the Taiwan Relations Act in April of that year, which authorized the “continuation of commercial, cultural and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan.” Ever since then the US and the island-province have maintained a close, though discreet relationship. Taipei and Washington have long consulted on security affairs, as well as on cultural and educational exchanges. Technically, though, Taiwan hasn’t had an actual embassy in Washington for 36 years, its facsimile – the awkwardly titled “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” in fact fills that precise role, and its staff works hard to keep Taiwan’s views in focus in the US capitol.

But every autumn senior Washington-based Taiwanese officials celebrate their Double Tenth (October 10th) National Day by hosting a lavish reception at Twin Oaks.

Though the Taiwanese have had to forfeit their official diplomatic standing, don’t feel too bad for them.

After all, they managed to hold tight to Twin Oaks, a strikingly elegant 26-room Georgian style mansion, which serves as the non-official residence of the non- official ambassador. Located on a leafy, tree-shaded property in a posh neighborhood in northern Washington, its 17 acres are considered the largest privately owned estate in Washington, and nearly the same size as the White House compound.

Aside from its beautiful bucolic setting, all of Twin Oaks owners have had impeccable pedigrees. Set gently atop a hill once owned by a one-legged general who fought in the Revolution, the manor itself was built in 1888, by a leading architect of the time for the founder of the National Geographic Society. The cost: $30,000. Years later the house came into the family of Alexander Graham Bell, the Scots-born inventor of the telephone. By the 1930s, Bell’s daughter, Grace, was renting the house to senior government officials as a place to escape the humid Washington summers.

Then, in 1937, Grace Bell rented Twin Oaks to Thomas C. T. Wang, the official representative of China’s Chiang Kai-shek government. For nearly a decade the house was leased by the Chiang government, until 1947, when Ambassador Wellington Koo decided to buy the estate for $450,000 – to use it as a permanent residence for China’s ambassadors to Washington.

From that year until 1978, a total of nine Taiwan ambassadors lived happily at Twin Oaks where they entertained countless thousands of US dignitaries, including presidents Eisenhower and Ford, CIA founder John Foster Dulles, and numerous senators and governors.

However, in 1978, when Jimmy Carter announced that the US would formally recognize the People’s Republic, there were fears that Beijing would lay claim to all Chinese assets in the US, so Taipei’s representatives quickly sold the estate for $2 million to a foundation set up for the purpose under the co-chairmanship of the late Senator Barry Goldwater. But the passing of the Taiwan Relations Act guaranteed that all property held by the Taiwan government as of December 31, 1978, would remain the property of Taiwan.

Several restrictions, however, were placed on the use of the estate out of deference to Beijing, many of which remain today. Taiwan representatives are permitted to entertain at the estate, but may not live there, or even sleep there. And diplomatic feathers can be easily ruffled. In January there were complaints from mainland Chinese officials when the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s official name) was raised on January 1, 2015, to mark New Year’s Day. A senior in the Obama administration denied knowing anything about the incident. Likewise, the State Department claimed to be unaware of the naughty flag-rising.

Despite such political-based boundaries, over the decades Twin Oaks continues to be the show-residence of the Taiwanese government, and has since quietly hosted many thousand Washington VIPs for lavish lunches and dinners, including senior officials of the first president Bush, as well as those of President Clinton and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In the mid-1980s, the then 100-year-old house underwent extensive structural repairs. But these were carried out with painstaking care to preserve the house’s charming century old wooden interiors, and hand-carved stairways and balusters. In recognition of the fact that the house is the last remaining Georgian-style estate of its type in Washington, in 1986 Twin Oaks was listed on the National Register for Historic Sites.

Today, the interior furnishings include classic Chinese blue & white carpets in the sitting room. And in the formal dining room there is an intricately-carved antique rosewood dinning set believed to have been sent to the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904 by the Empress Dowager. Its striking dragon motif suggests that this beautifully preserved set was made specifically for the Imperial household.

Elsewhere in the house is an original Tiffany chandelier, and scores of precious Chinese porcelains. But Twin Oak’s prize possession is an 1875 painting that the Kuang Hsu emperor of the Ching Dynasty gave to his mother, the celebrated Empress Dowager, on her birthday.

On the second and third floors are large bedrooms. But these are all closed to visitors.

Steven Knipp is a journalist and correspondent currently based in Hong Kong

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Original Article: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/time/topstories/~3/WbjLX8kzaw0/

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SNIPPETS OF HISTORY NEWS: Babushkas of Chernobyl trailer: women who refused to leave the dead zone – video

#AceHistoryNews – Oct.29: Watch the trailer for filmmakers Holly Morris and Anne Bogart’s documentary about the extraordinary survival story of the Ukrainian women who refused to leave their homes following the nuclear disaster in 1986.

The film follows the community living and working within the exclusion zone, which also includes scientists, bureaucrats and illegal ‘stalkers’

Continue

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FEATURED: ‘ Debtor’s Prison Of Days Gone By ‘

Do you know where you heard the term “Debtor’s Prison”?

#AceGuestNews – Oct.26: Many of those that came to the New World were religious zealots on the run and people fleeing from debtor’s prison……our ancestors were actually running from the law…

But what is debtor’s prison exactly…….A debtors’ prison is a prison for those who are unable to pay debt. Prior to the mid 19th century debtors’ prisons were a common way to deal with unpaid debt.

Meanwhile back to my state of Mississippi……along the Coast there are 2 major cities…Biloxi being one of them and this city has made the news…..

Debtors prisons are supposedly a thing of the distant past—except in Biloxi, Miss. That’s according to a class-action lawsuit filed against the city, its police department, the courts, and a private probation company, alleging these agencies have conspired to threaten poor residents into paying up to avoid jail time, the Guardian reports. Despite a 1983 Supreme Court ruling that imprisoning someone because they can’t pay fines violates the 14th Amendment, the lawsuit documents 415 such people in Biloxi who were thrown behind bars between September 2014 and March. A lawyer for the ACLU, which filed the suit, says locals were “arrested at traffic stops and in their homes, taken to jail, and subjected to a jailhouse shakedown,” calling it “a debtors’ prison from the Dark Ages.” One notable case: a 51-year-old jailed a month for misdemeanors mainly related to his homelessness.

An NPRprobe found all 50 states are engaging in such practices (and more and more lawsuits are being filed), but Biloxi takes issue. “We believe the ACLU is mistaken about the process in Biloxi,” the city noted in a statement, though it says it hasn’t yet seen the lawsuit. “The court has used community service in cases where defendants are unable to pay their fines.” The lead plaintiff, Qumotria Kennedy, is a 36-year-old single mom who makes $9,000 a year as a cleaner. She was a passenger when her friend was pulled over in July for running a stop sign. Police ran Kennedy’s name, and she was arrested and jailed due to $1,000 in unpaid court fines and late fees. She spent five days and nights in a holding cell and lost her job; the fees are now $1,251. “The probation person told me if I don’t pay it, I will be arrested again sooner or later,” she tells the Guardian. “I don’t believe this is right. I just hope other people in the world don’t get treated like I have.” (A New Orleans parish is facing the same scenario.)

The South may be attempting to move out of the shadow of its past but there are some things that never change……Mississippi and its sister state Alabama are stuck in pre-1950 history….

Original Article: http://lobotero.com/2015/10/26/debtors-prison-of-days-gone-by/

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SNIPPETS OF HISTORY NEWS: ‘ The 1983 War Scare Declassified and For Real ‘

#AceHistoryNews – Oct.26: Washington D.C., October 24, 2015 – The newly released Soviet “War Scare” report – previously classified “TOP SECRET UMBRA GAMMA WNINTEL NOFORN NOCONTRACT ORCON” and published today after a 12-year fight by the National Security Archive – reveals that the 1983 War Scare was real.

According to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), the United States “may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger” during the 1983 NATO nuclear release exercise, Able Archer 83.

Policymakers, and now historians have had vehement disagreements about the War Scare, leading some to describe the debate as “an echo chamber of inadequate research and misguided analysis,” and the CIA itself to downplay the danger in its 1984 review.

This newly declassified PFIAB document, however, provides the strongest evidence to date that the danger of the War Scare was real, as the only study written with access to all US intelligence files on US/NATO actions and the Soviet response in the fall of 1983.All-Source Intelligence Report finds US-Soviet Nuclear Relations on “Hair Trigger” in 1983

Alert Air Force General acted “out of instinct, not informed guidance” to Stop Escalation of the Crisis

President Reagan: “Really Scary”

On the front page of the Washington Posthttps://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-1983-war-scare-soviet-leadership-feared-nuclear-surprise-attack-by-us/2015/10/24/15a289b4-7904-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html

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‘ Missouri’s Gateway Arch monument built on rigged votes, protests ‘

File photo of the Gateway Arch is seen in St. Louis, Missouri#AceHistoryNews Oct.24: When the last section of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, an American landmark as iconic as the Statue of Liberty, was hoisted into place on Oct 28, 1965, it was the concluding act of a story that began more than 30 years earlier.

From rigged votes in a bond election to fund the project, to a famous father-son mix-up when the winning architect was alerted, to a civil rights protest high above ground, some of the Arch’s rich, complicated history during those three decades has largely been forgotten as the 630-foot-tall, stainless steel structure nears its 50th anniversary.

While today’s television viewers may know the Arch better as the centerpiece of the SyFy series “Defiance,” the seed for its creation was planted in 1933, when attorney Luther Ely Smith, returning by train to his home town, saw the blight of the riverfront and proposed building the structure.

Original Article: http://news.yahoo.com/missouris-gateway-arch-monument-built-rigged-votes-protests-111747334.html

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Justin Trudeau: Expectations

Really great historical perspective and just love the timeline history ideas nice really #AceMustRead 🌹

Micheline's Blog

Pierre et Justin

Justin Trudeau and Pierre Trudeau: there are Both similarities and profound difference between Father and Son. (The Canadian Press Files)

The Aftermath

I’m returning to the fine arts, stories, music, literature, aboriginals, &c. However, before I turn the page, allow me to comment on reactions that followed Monday’s Liberal Party victory.

On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, I read numerous newspaper articles as well as posts on the Federal election held the day before. By and large, journalists were surprised but happy with the outcome of the Canadian election which took place on Monday, 19 October 2015.

However, I had written somewhere that because he was Pierre Trudeau’s son, Justin Trudeau had to face obstacles during his campaign. It was therefore suggested to me that being rich, famous and well-connected was not an obstacle, which I took to mean that being rich, famous and well-connected was an advantage. There can be no doubt that money, fame and the right…

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PHOTO MOMENT: Grenada underwater slavery memorial

Perfect post in memory of l hope a forgotten slave trade and one in trafficking people for profit 👌

HEM

An underwater memorial to the victims of the Atlantic slave trade, situated off the coast of the Caribbean island of Grenada. It pays respects to the thousands of people abducted from Africa to be enslaved in the Americas who were thrown overboard to perish in the Atlantic Ocean after becoming sick or rebelling. These sombre heads with their eyes closed in peace form part of the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, the world’s first sea-based sculpture gallery and a poignant reminder of when it was considered acceptable to trade in our fellow humans.

Made available via Sunshine Su.

SOURCES:
A Higher Knowledge, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/AHigherKnowledge
Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park http://grenadaunderwatersculpture.com/
IMAGE CREDITS:
A Higher Knowledge, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/AHigherKnowledge

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