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A brief introduction of Twin Oaks

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North Façade of the Summer House

    Twin Oaks, a 26-room English Georgian Renaissance-style mansion situated on 18.24 acres in Northwest Washington, D.C., was constructed in 1888. It originally served as the summer residence for Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the founder of the National Geographic Society, who named the estate Twin Oaks after the two beautiful oak trees located in front of the house. The mansion also bears a historic connection to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was Mr. Hubbard’s son-in-law. The Republic of China (ROC) Government, after renting the property for ten years as the official residence of its ambassadors to the U.S., purchased the estate from the Hubbard family in 1947. The mansion hosted several U.S. presidential figures, among many other celebrities, such as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, before each became president. Madame Chiang Kai-shek also stayed here during her visits to Washington, D.C. in the 1950s and 60s. The mansion houses a number of priceless antiques, including a painting allegedly by Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (1835-1908, who wielded real power in China during the late Ch’ing period) as well as a set of imperial furniture carved with dragon motifs reportedly sent by the order of the Empress Dowager to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

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Gardiner Hubbard and his wife, Gertrude, relaxed on the original veranda of the summer house

    Due to the pending change in diplomatic relations between the ROC and the United States in late 1978, Twin Oaks was sold to the Friends of Free China Association, an American non-profit organization. With the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act in April 1979, which provided legal protection for the original ownership, the Taiwan Government purchased Twin Oaks back from the Association in 1982. In official recognition of its historic and cultural significance, Twin Oaks was placed on the National Register for Historic Sites by the United States Department of the Interior in February 1986.

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The Twin Oaks in springtime

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Snowbound Twin Oaks

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Early view of the southwest corner of the summer house

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The southwest corner of the summer house as of today

    For nearly eight decades, twenty-three ambassadors and representatives have served as the estate’s official hosts, witnessing a number of critical moments in the ROC’s diplomatic history and U.S.-Taiwan relations. Their gracious hospitality, along with the mansion’s exquisite beauty and historical background, has earned this cultural landmark a sterling reputation among its numerous guests who depart with fond memories.

The 105th R.O.C. National Day Celebration held at Twin Oaks

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Woodley Road Front Gate of Twin Oaks

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