May 1890: Mayor Gilbert Calls First Council Meetings

(First in a series featuring items of interest from our Archives.)

From the Charles Heaton Scrapbook, Historic Takoma Archives

This ballot shows the vote tally of the first Takoma Park election on May 5, 1890. Mayor-elect B.F. Gilbert gathered the four councilmen-elect at his home on May 15th for the official swearing-in. After reviewing the Charter of Incorporation as to its effect on future Council actions, the meeting adjourned. 

The original town seal, City of Takoma Park Council Minutes

At a second brief meeting on May 20th, the Council officially adopted the town seal as sketched by Charles M. Heaton, Jr. The seal became part of the official minute book since Heaton was recording the meeting as Secretary. One other item of business authorized payment of $14.50 for election expenses.  

Not until June 24th did the Council turn its attention to the real business at hand, ie. paying for street lighting and sidewalks. This focus helps explain why the very men who formed the Council sought to incorporate in the first place. When the State of Maryland granted Incorporation on April 3, 1890, it limited the “Town of Takoma Park” to land in Maryland. Although this legally split Gilbert’s suburb in two, residents continued to act as one community for decades after.

NOTE: Charles Heaton preserved the tally in a scrapbook he was already assembling. That scrapbook along with his other papers became a key part of the Takoma Park Historical Society, which he helped organize in 1912. It can be accessed online HERE. The City Minute Books are available on the City of Takoma Park website. The index can be accessed HERE.  

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New Video on Spring Park

The Friends of Sligo Creek debuted a six-minute video this month telling the story of Spring Park.  Bruce Moyer leads a virtual tour of the park at Poplar and Elm Avenues, surveying its native plants and trees. 

Filmed by Ed Murtagh, the video also highlights the spring’s history with photos from Historic Takoma’s Archives.  “Sligo History: Spring Park” can be viewed on YouTube.  

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