Ann spent the first six years of her life on her father’s 1928 homestead just north of Joshua Tree National Park. In those early years, she was underfoot at the family businesses, where her parents, Bill and Prudie Underhill, were publishing the Desert Trail Newspaper and running the 29 Palms Theatre at the corner of Two-Mile Road and Adobe Road (now Combat Barber).
With the announcement that the Marine Corps Base was coming to 29 Palms, the Underhills moved “in town” to Broadview and began building the Starlite Twin Drive-In Theatre and Roller rink across from today’s Post Office. Ann’s jobs grew from folding popcorn boxes to working in the concession stand, to selling tickets, and – eventually – running the projection machines.
She attended Twentynine Palms schools through High School, holds a BA from Scripps College, Claremont, and Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Ann and Michael Congdon were married at the Little Church of the Desert in June of 1967. Last year they celebrated their 50th anniversary with their two daughters and husbands and four granddaughters.
Ann practiced architecture in Washington, DC, for 20 years, where she designed and provided construction administration for renovations and additions to DC-area health care facilities. She also worked with nonprofit organizations focused on developing training and educational facilities and special needs residences for the homeless, physically challenged, and aging.
Prior to her architecture degree, she had her own graphics studio in DC, specializing in the design and production of newsletters, brochures, posters, and exhibition catalogs for the Washington Women’s Art Center, artists, and arts-related, community action, and nonprofit organizations.
Mike and Ann lived in DC for over 35 years. Residential tours in other US cities and abroad provided opportunities to study, teach, and produce graphic and exhibit design for the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and the US Information Service in Vienna, Austria. She has traveled in Western and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, and extensively in the US.
Upon retirement, Ann and Mike returned to Twentynine Palms. They live in a 1938 Stubbs adobe and proudly share the beauty and tranquility of the desert with guests at their AirBnB, Broadview Hacienda. Ann continues to work with nonprofit groups concerned with preserving the environment and a sustainable desert community. She serves on the Tourism Business Improvement District Committee, the Public Arts Advisory Committee of the City of 29 Palms and is currently President of Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center. Ann’s ARCHIFACTS – compositions of salvaged construction materials and found objects – have been exhibited in galleries in Annapolis, MD and the high desert, and are in private collections on both Coasts.