A Tale of Twin Oaks

During it’s storied past, this historic Northwest Washington mansion was titled by a Revolutionary war general, built as a summer retreat for the National Geographic Society’s founder, and later made into the epicenter of U.S.-Taiwanese relations – recants Twin Oaks’ colorful saga.


The Chinese have a concept called yuan fen – roughly translated it means “destiny” or “fate.” Stronger than coincidence, it often refers to a meeting, a relationship, or a situation that is meant to be long before it’s foreseen. So it is fitting that one of Dr. ’s – Taiwan’s Representative to the U.S. – favorite personal anecdotes about Twin Oaks involves a bit of yuan fen.

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3 Responses

  1. kelly lee says:

    My father, David T. Lee, was just buried at Ft. Lincoln Part just outside DC.
    He is buried in the shadow of the one remaining of the “twin oaks” there,
    where Lincoln and his generals made many of their biggest decisions.
    My father was the liaison officer between China and the US during the war.
    As a child I was taken to many of the grand banquets of the fabulous Wellington Koo and am writing a short story called “Twin Oaks.”
    My father also was a founder of Chinese Refugee Relief and created the Empress restaurants. Nixon and Kissinger has many secrete dinners at the Empress in the months leading up to their “opening up of China.”
    Thanks for the article.
    Kelly Lee

  2. I don’t agree with all your thoughts, but you do have good point of view.

  3. Hannah MacQueen says:

    David T. Lee was partners with my mother, Trudie Ball, who went on to run the Empress restaurant for over 30 years. Twin Oaks holds many childhood memories for me.

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