Langley Park Plantation

When I was in junior high school my father got very excited about buying this house, which was on the market for about $30,000. It was part of the plantation called Elizabeth's Delight, on the site of a land grant dating from the late 1600s (though the house was built around 1850, replacing a log structure dating from the Revolutionary War). The house is about a hundred feet inside the Montgomery County line, but the landholdings extended in all directions to take in parts of DC, the University of Maryland, Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

The house is now divided into apartments, much of the yard is a parking lot, all around are overcrowded duplexes packed with illegal immigrants, and the nearby streets are full of MS-13 gang activity. It's a weird feeling to walk along Ruatan Street and see a plantation house with a chapel, once surrounded by tobacco fields, now part of a vast suburban slum.