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They begged Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a house they couldn’t afford

The Pope-Leighey House.
(Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress)
Not far from the Pentagon in Northern Virginia, there is a small house nestled into a woodsy and green background — the kind of serene setting you’d imagine on a postcard.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Pope-Leighey House, as it’s known in architectural circles, is a single-story home with a history both odd and a little sad.

While not nearly as famous as Wright masterpieces such as Fallingwater and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the story of the home is a remarkable, revealing tale that foreshadowed how many Americans live today.

It begins with a journalist at a now-defunct newspaper.

His name was Loren Pope.

In the 1930s, Pope was a copy editor at the Washington Evening Star.

“He’s making $50 a week,” said Peter Christensen, a longtime tour guide at the Pope-Leighey home.

That’s certainly not enough to afford a Frank Lloyd Wright house — at least the ones he had been designing at the time, which would run about $650,000 in today’s dollars.

But in 1938, Pope saw Wright on the cover of Time magazine. The splashy story inside was a celebration of Wright nearly completing Fallingwater, a summer mansion in rural Pennsylvania built over a waterfall.

In passing, the article also mentioned that Wright wanted to create Usonian-style homes for middle-class, regular folks — people such as Pope and his wife.

The couple, as it happened, were in the market for a home. They had just bought a plot of land in Falls Church, Va. Pope wasn’t sure what style of house he wanted to build there. Maybe a classic Cape Cod with a white picket fence.

“Loren reads the article. He is smitten,” Christensen said. “He no longer wants that Cape Cod. He wants something more interesting.”

He wants a Frank Lloyd Wright home. Then, he lobbied the architect to build him one, appealing to Wright’s extraordinary ego.

Attribution - Michael S. Rosenwald,
Full Story> Pope-Leighey House

Diane Woolley Bauer, Investigative Reporter, 1932- 2019

She was a muck-raking investigative reporter, a cab driver, a U. S. Senate press aide, a merchant seaman, and a mother of four who served on Berkeley's Waterfront Commission as well as two terms on the Berkeley City Council. She was briefly hospitalized, and died surrounded by family on June 7th, 2019 after a few years of declining health. She leaves a legacy of extraordinary work both as a journalist and as a Berkeley councilmember dedicated to serving District 5's neighborhoods.

Diane Woolley Bauer's father was a writer with MGM in Los Angeles, where she was born, but had been a commander in the British Royal Navy who served in World War I. He was called back for World War II and stationed in Jamaica, where Diane spent a portion of her young life. After the war the family moved to Washington D.C. where during her college years Diane took a two-week job as a vacation replacement for what was then called a copy girl at the Washington Post and her career as an investigative reporter began.

She became the youngest reporter in Washington D.C. Then-owner of the Post, Eugene Meyer, set aside the rule requiring that reporters have a college degree to put Bauer in charge of what is now called the Style section of the Post covering "politicians, diplomats and debutantes", as she put it, doing the layout and writing an advice column for college girls under her picture and byline. It should go without saying that women were an uncommon part of such workplaces.

She continued to work part-time as a young wife and mother writing ad copy, serving as a U.S. Senate press aide and a campaign director, but excelled as a self-taught journalist. She is credited for doubling the Washington Daily News' Maryland circulation with her hard-driving public interest stories, often scooping the full-timer reporters at the Washington Post and Evening Star. When the Daily News folded into the Evening Star she was one of the few reporters who were kept on. She wrote, investigated, and consulted for public interest research and law firms working special assignments for Newsweek, CBS television, panels, and documentaries such as ABC's "The Paper Prison" specializing in courts, police and prisons, juvenile detention, privacy and records-keeping, and medical ethics. One of her pieces on juvenile offenders' treatment provoked a letter from J. Edgar Hoover defending the FBI's procedures; she kept the letter.

Her work was so thorough it is cited in several books on civil liberties, behavior modification, privacy, and bioethics as well as some Supreme Court cases. Her writing is credited for playing a role in highlighting atrocities and instituting reforms at Maryland's infamous Patuxent Institution where she revealed an expensive behavior modification scandal. Author Nat Hentoff wrote a story about her tireless investigative journalism, including the illumination of "a hitherto hidden form a secret intelligence unit to combat organized crime" which her writing revealed arranged to violate, among other things, privacy laws. The unit had to be scrapped.

Attribution: Carol Denney,
Full Story:  Bauer

Robert Pear, scrupulous chronicler of health care for the New York Times, dies at 69

In the hands of many Washington reporters, the ins and outs of Medicare and Medicaid, the Clinton administration’s failed health-care overhaul and President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act could be insufferably technical. But health policy is also intensely personal. For millions of Americans, it determines what conditions their health insurance will cover, how much insurance — if any — their grown children can afford, and how their elderly parents will pay for prescription drugs.

By all accounts, Robert Pear of the New York Times was one of the most relentlessly probing journalists on the health-care beat, enlightening readers and rankling partisans with the clarity of his reportage and his savantlike understanding of the federal government and its arcana. With a seemingly ever-present byline on Page One of the Times, Mr. Pear was a constant and authoritative presence in Washington for four decades.

He died May 7 at 69 at a hospice center in Rockville, Md. The cause was complications from a severe stroke that he suffered April 29, said his brother, Doug Pear.

Attribution: Emily Langer,
Full Story: Pear

The Rev. Arnold Godfrey Taylor August 24, 1925~March 20, 2019

Arnold Taylor, 93, an Episcopal priest who served as rector of Christ Church, Durham Parish, in Nanjemoy, MD, from 1971 to 1993, died March 20, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Mr. Taylor was born in Providence, R.I., and grew up both in the city and on a farm. He served in WWII as a military policeman with the 99th Infantry Division in Germany.

After earning a degree in journalism at Pacific University in Oregon, Mr. Taylor settled in 1952 in Washington, DC, where he worked at the Evening Star, advancing from copy boy to photographer to assistant picture editor.

He married Lilian Bedinger on July 3, 1954, and they had three children.

In 1965, Taylor left the newspaper business to attend Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1969.

He served first as assistant rector at Christ Church in Clinton, MD. In 1971, he was called as rector of Christ Church, Durham Parish, where he served for 22 years. He was a gifted pastor, always ready to meet people where they were. In the larger community, his contributions included organizing a Boy Scout troop and helping to establish Hospice of Charles County.

Full Story: Taylor

‘You turn us on and we’re there’: Looking back at 50 years of news on WTOP

2019 audiences have a seemingly insatiable appetite for news on the radio (and on TV and online), but the listeners of 1969 weren’t buying all-news radio early on.

“Most of my mail reflects dissatisfaction with WTOP’s all-news and information format,” wrote Bernie Harrison, TV critic for the Washington Star, days after the switch.

Yet there was promise. About a week later, Harrison saw a “revolutionary” quality to it all: “After 12 staggered hours of listening to WTOP’s new 24-hour nonstop news operation, however, I’m impressed but not precisely bewitched by the phlegmatic performance,” he wrote.

Uh … thanks?

While the station has focused its programming on news for 50 years, it’s only fair to point out there have been diversions. There was a time when WTOP carried the great Larry King’s overnight talk show, and there was some weekend and sports programming.

Attribution: Jack Pointer,
Full Story: WTOP

Faye Haskins New Book - The Evening Star: The Rise and Fall of a Great Washington Newspaper

The Evening Star: The Rise and Fall of a Great Washington Newspaper is the story of the 129-year history of one of the preeminent newspapers in journalism history when city newspapers across the country were at the height of their power and influence. The Star was the most financially successful newspaper in the Capital and among the top ten in the country until its decline in the 1970s. The paper began in 1852 when the capital city was a backwater southern town. The Star’s success over the next century was due to its singular devotion to local news, its many respected journalists, and the historic times in which it was published. The book provides a unique perspective on more than a century of local, national and international history.

The book also exposes the complex reasons for the Star’s rise and fall from dominance in Washington’s newspaper market. The Noyes and Kauffmann families who owned and operated the Star for a century play an important role in that story. Patriarch Crosby Noyes’ life and legacy is the most fascinating –a classic Horatio Alger story of the illegitimate son of a Maine farmer who by the time of his death was a respected newspaper publisher and member of Washington’s influential elite. In 1974 his descendants sold the once-great newspaper Noyes built to Joseph Allbritton. Allbritton and then Time, Inc. tried to save the Star but failed.

Attribution: Faye Haskins,
Full Story & order: Haskins