I moved to University City in the 1970s and very soon found that it's a remarkable community. The neighborhood welcomes diversity, so it was a great place for my husband Brian and I to raise our son Scott to appreciate friends and neighbors from many countries, backgrounds, and walks of life. University City's architecture is pretty special too: block after block of brick and stone Victorian houses, most built in the last thirty years of the 19th century. There's also an area built in the 1920s, and finally, there's "the Mews," our "modern" houses: built in the 1960s, and now over 50 years old! Blocks are remarkably intact, and there are trees, gardens, and green spaces. Brian and I have been restoring our beloved "Stone House" at 46th & Springfield since 1981, and along the way, we've also aquired a few local rental properties. We have buildings on Baltimore Avenue, where we are proud to be the landlords for the popular local restaurants Vientiane Cafe and the Gold Standard Cafe. We are also proud to have been the founders of The Gables Bed & Breakfast, which we opened at 46th & Chester where a spectacular Willis Hale Queen Anne single house had been sitting vacant and endangered.
Prior to making University City our permanent home, Brian and I had spent two years living just outside Detroit, Michigan, and that experience affected me deeply, shaping my understanding of the fragility of cities. Detroit had already failed, and I learned that cities cannot be taken for granted. If they are going to remain viable, we residents must work to keep them humming along. I've been involved ever since.
Most recently, I just finished up a 2-year term as president of the University City Historicial Society (my third 2-year term, spread over the last 20 years). In the past I've also been president of the University City Arts League, and an officer of Cedar Park Neighbors and the Spruce Hill Community Association. I've also worked on the Cedar Park zoning committee, and on efforts to bring more businesses to Baltimore Avenue, to save Calvary United Methodist Church from closing down its prominent building, to promote the neighborhood as a great place to live, to bring neighborhood groups together, and to start a special services district in the neighborhood (a predecessor of the UCD). I received a Community Service award and many sales awards from the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors; and Gift to the Street and Preservation Initiative awards from the University City Historical Society.
I've been a Realtor for over 30 years now, working almost exclusively here in University City. My mentors were Lois Bye and George Funderburg of Urban Developers; now I enjoy working with Arthur & Jan Bye at Urban & Bye, Realtor. Over the years, I've also been on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, developing contacts and friendships with Realtors in other parts of Philadelphia and helping to make them aware of University City. My "mission" as a Realtor has been to convince potential buyers to choose University City. I've remained friends with many of them once we've become neighbors, and I've recruited many of them for neighborhood projects. Many of my clients have come back to me 2, 3, 4 or even more times, as they have moved around the neighborhood, bought investment properties, or recommended me to family and friends.