Harry Lownsbury says he will never move back to the house on Washington Lane. Nothing remains for him there, except an overwhelming sense of loss.
For 35 years, Lownsbury and his partner of 40 years, Joe Dougherty, made a home in the nondescript Germantown residence. They quietly filled it with art, amassing a collection of paintings, furniture, and - Joe's favorite - Royal Doulton figurines that belied the house's unassuming exterior.
But the last time Lownsbury was there, everything had changed.
It was Dec. 2, and the 75-year-old Lownsbury, who had been staying in a nursing home while he recuperated from a leg injury, arrived in a wheelchair, covered by a robe.
He came with police officers investigating the theft of more than $1 million in art, antiques and other objects.
"I'm devastated," Lownsbury said. "Words can't describe my emotions when they brought me in."
Unable to climb to the second and third floors, he saw only some of the damage: sculptures stolen, pieces of furniture carted off, debris left behind. Lownsbury estimates the thieves needed a large moving truck to haul off the loot.
"It was a lifetime of work, devotion and love taken away," said Lownsbury, choking back tears in an interview yesterday