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The History of Takoma Park in Print
The following articles about the history of Takoma Park MD and Takoma DC are from the Takoma Voice, our local monthly newspaper. Many of them were written by Diana Kohn or Elizabeth Marple Bentley, who are both seemingly limitless supporters of Historic Takoma.
- "Takoma Park at 125: Commemorating the Birth of a Sylvan Suburb" by Diana Kohn (November 2008)
Places, like people, have an official moment when they come into existence. For Takoma Park that moment was November 24, 1883.
- "The Wilderness That Became Takoma" by Elizabeth Marple Bentley (May 1999)
In 1883, the land B.F. Gilbert enthusiastically purchased for his future Takoma was somewhat hilly, rough and forested, and interspersed frequently with springs. ... Urbanization might not have appeared a likely land use prospect.
- "TakomaPark in 1884: Portrait of an Emerging Suburb" by Diana Kohn (November 2009)
By November 1884, the settlement then called “Tacoma Park” had barely made a dent in the wilderness around the train station. One year had passed since Benjamin Franklin Gilbert purchased 90 acres to create his sylvan suburb offering the advantages of country living to those who worked in Washington City.
- "The District's Frontier in 1884: Tradesmen Join Visionary to Shape Washington's First True Suburb" by Elizabeth Marple Bentley (May 1999)
In 1875, Mrs. Alcena Lamond recalled her arrival at the Lamond Station just south of the Brightwood railroad stop, and a rough half mile from land that would one day be called Takoma Park, "The place was all that a wilderness could be."
- "Water, Pure Water" by Diana Kohn (March 2006)
Dasani, Perrier, Poland Spring. These are the most familiar of the names on our ubiquitous bottles of water we carry everywhere these days. If things had turned out differently a hundred years ago, Takoma Spring Water might also be one of them. The supply of spring water was one of the primary reasons founding father B.F. Gilbert was drawn to this area in the first place.
- "White House Connections: Six Miles of Separation" by Diana Kohn (February 2006)
The White House sits a little over six miles south of Takoma Park. So it’s to be expected that our community would have some connections to the men who have lived there. In honor of President’s Day, let’s take look at some of those connections
- "Lisa Hill and the Bridge to Terabithia" by Diana Kohn (March 2007, originally printed June 2005)
The tree that had always shaded the front entrance to Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES) was dying. In the fall of 2004 it was unceremoniously cut down. ... But there were others who remembered with much sadness how the tree came to be there and the little girl in whose honor it had been planted.
- "The Pleasures of Winter in Takoma Park" by Diana Kohn (December 2006)
Kids today (along with many adults) look forward to winter with the same eager hope and expectations as children 100 years ago. They pray for snow days to keep them home from school and send them off to find the nearest sledding hill or skating pond.
- "Twenty Years Ago — a Look Back at the Year 1988." by Diana Kohn (January 2009)
Twenty years ago, in 1988, the Takoma Voice completed one year of publishing as a local community paper. Revisiting the events of that year proves that no matter how much things change, in many ways they hardly change at all.
- "It was 20 years ago today..." by Diana Kohn (January 2007)
Twenty years ago, in 1987, the Takoma Voice published its first issue.
- "Takoma Park: Nuclear Free and Proud of it" by Diana Kohn (December 2008)
Twenty five years ago, the Takoma Park city council voted to declare our fair city a Nuclear Free Zone.
- "Growing up in Takoma Park; The Seasons of Childhood" by Diana Kohn (March 2008)
Bob Jarboe and Dorothy Barnes share their memories of growing in Takoma Park.
- "Jequié, Takoma Park’s Sister City" by Diana Kohn (April 2006)
With the coming of spring, Jequie Park in north Takoma is alive with young soccer players in their colorful shirts. Meanwhile, 4,400 miles away in the town of Jequié, Brazil, soccer players take advantage of parks in the neighborhood called Takoma.
- "On my honor I will do my best...Scouting, Takoma Park Style" by Diana Kohn (May 2006)
On the first Sunday in the May, Birch Avenue is transformed into a racetrack for the boys of Scout Troop 33. The sloping asphalt creates the perfect testing ground for their handcrafted racecars. The Soapbox Derby is a new tradition, but Troop 33 traces its history back more than 85 years.
- "Confederates invade Montgomery County" by Diana Kohn (July 2006)
To most people, saying “Civil War” brings horrific images of Antietam and Gettysburg to mind. Few imagine 20,000 Confederate soldiers trudging through the rural farmland north of Washington, DC, land that soon after became Takoma Park and Silver Spring. But that’s exactly what happened in July of 1864.
- "Civil War History in Takoma Park's Front and Back Yards" by Elizabeth Bentley (July 1998)
General Jubal Early and his Confederate Raiders are closing in on their goal after a month's campaign.
- "Reunite Pangaea! —Life in an Orogenous Zone" by Diana Kohn (May 2007)
As a local historian I am used to thinking about what Takoma Park might have looked like 125 years ago. But when it comes to four hundred million years ago, I’m clueless. So I was intrigued by the “History Before History: Geology Tour of DC” offered as part of WalkingTownDC.
- "Evolution of Takoma Park’s Volunteer Fire Department" by Diana Kohn (October 2008)
Takoma Park will see a new fire station rise in place of the current 81-year-old building. What Takoma Park gains in up-to-date convenience, however, will be at the expense of losing one of its oldest landmarks.
- "One Hundred Years of Adventist Healthcare" by Diana Kohn (June 2007)
Washington Adventist Hospital celebrates 100 years on the banks overlooking Sligo Creek in Takoma Park. When it opened in 1907, with only 40 beds and 12 staff, it was the first medical facility in Montgomery County.
- "2006: A Home at Last for Historic Takoma" Also Thomas-Siegler House, Laurel at Carroll, and Carroll Avenue Bridges by Diana Kohn (January 2007)
Historic Takoma took a huge step in 2006 when it purchased the storefront at 7328 Carroll Avenue as its permanent home.
- "The Changing Face of Takoma’s 'Main Street'" by Diana Kohn (August 2006)
Last month the two vacant buildings on the 200 block of Carroll Street NW were finally demolished to make way for the new Ecco Park condominum development on Carroll at Maple. Their disappearance is a reminder of the changing face of the Carroll streetscape.
- "School Days Takoma Park Style" by Diana Kohn (September 2006)
When students headed back to school the week before Labor Day, more than 1,850 children, kindergarteners through eighth graders, made their way to the three Takoma Park schools in the square bounded by Maple, Piney Branch, Philadelphia and Ritchie Avenues. This fact would have astounded the dairy farmers who herded cows on this same land as late as 1930.
- "Washington Theological Union: Oasis of Serenity" by Diana Kohn (October 2006)
Ten years ago the four-story brick building at Carroll and Eastern Avenues, just over the line in the District, was given a graceful “makeover.” The Washington Theological Union, a consortium of seven Catholic holy orders, had purchased the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to establish a campus for its school of theology.
- "Remembering the War on Veterans Day" by Diana Kohn (November 2006)
"Enshrined Here In Eternal Tribute To Those Who Fought Our Country’s Battles." These words appear on the lintel of a nearly forgotten memorial — four pillars of concrete shrouded by overgrown yews in the small green triangle across the street from the Takoma Park Library.
- "Takoma Park DC Library Recaptures the Past as it Moves into the Future" by Diana Kohn (March 2009)
On rare occasions, a renovation project turns into a work of art. The Takoma Park DC library, reopening this month, is one such case.
- "Montgomery Blair High School — Where Takoma Park and Silver Spring Come Together" by Diana Kohn (August 2008)
Blair was not the first local high school, but it is a direct descendant of Takoma Park Silver Spring High School, which opened in 1925 just over the border in Takoma Park.
- "The Wilderness Suburb Becomes Home to DC’s First Branch Library" by Diana Kohn (April 2008)
The Renaissance Revival building that graces the corner of Cedar Avenue and Fifth Street NW opened in 1911 as the first branch library of the District of Columbia library system.
- "Boundary Stones — Guardians of the Federal City" by Diana Kohn (August 2008)
In the early 1790s, the boundary of Washington, D.C. was marked by stones. Here is the status of the nearest stones.
- "Forgotten Sculpture Memorializes African-American Struggle" by Diana Kohn (February 2007)
Tucked away behind the houses on Whittier Street NW between 4th Street and 5th Street is an unusual piece of sculpture — a metal rendition of a raised hand, standing in an open space at the center of the block used by the neighbors as a garden.
- "Takoma Junction: the Dilemma of Revitalization" by Diana Kohn (July 2008)
For more than 25 years Takoma Junction has eluded all efforts at revitalization. Despite a never-ending round of committees who enthusiastically gather to tackle the problem, little has changed.
- "The Nostalgic Murals of Takoma Junction" by Diana Kohn (June 2008)
The most prominent landmarks at Takoma Junction these days are the large murals that adorn the three buildings facing the intersection.
- "How General Carroll’s Estate Became Takoma Junction" by Diana Kohn (May 2008)
In the early 1980s, the city turned its attention to reviving the Carroll Avenue corridor. As a result, the Carroll-Ethan Allen intersection acquired its now familiar title: Takoma Junction.
- "From Model T to Taliano’s and Beyond" by Diana Kohn (January 2006)
One of the seven local sites caught up in the past year’s development fervor lies on the Maryland side of Carroll Avenue. The parcel, encompassing the Taliano’s/Rerun storefront and extending in an “L” shape over to Westmoreland Avenue, is slated for condos and additional retail space. However, for six decades before the arrival of Taliano’s, this site served as the automotive center of Takoma Park.
- "Famous Springs of Takoma Park" by Elizabeth Bentley (April 1999)
Founder Gilbert further promoted two pure, fresh water springs as part of Takoma Park's heritage.... When he abruptly sold the land around the springs to the Takoma Park Springs Company,... citizens were outraged.
- "Commerce in Takoma Park: A Century of Change" by Elizabeth Bentley (December 1998)
On an early autumn morning, the sun's warmth penetrates the tinted facade of the Takoma Letter Shop This is Takoma Park's oldest existing family-owned business, and inside, owner Charles (C. P.) Cook presides over an operation seemingly unchanged since his grandfather started the firm in 1939.
- "Lamond's or Terra Cotta Station and Works" by Elizabeth Marple Bentley (May 1999)
The Metropolitan line stopped at Lamond's Station from 1873 to 1922.
- "Unification! The Tangled Journey of One Takoma" by Diana Kohn (July 2007)
On July 1, 1997, Mayor Ed Sharp stood before a giant map of Takoma Park, flanked by politicians and activists, and cut a ribbon tracing the Prince George’s County line, officially marking the unification of the City.
- "Takoma Park Elementary School From 1889 to 2009 and Beyond" by Diana Kohn (October 2007)
The bluff behind Takoma Park Community Center has been the site of Takoma Park Elementary School since 1924. Until then the land was part of Hodges dairy farm.