Past Features



Takoma Park Founders Day – November 24

Benjamin Franklin Gilbert

On November 24, 1883, Benjamin Franklin Gilbert purchased approximately 100 acres known as lots 2 and 3 of the “Grammer Farm” straddling the Maryland-DC line and the B&O Railroad. He paid $7,500. Though just six miles from downtown Washington, this was the “wilderness,” mostly scrubby forest. There was no train station, just a three-sided shelter (then called Brightwood). Only Blair Road (then Left Fork Road) and a portion of Carroll Street/Avenue (then Sandy Spring Road) existed. [See maps below] The rest of the streets were just lines on a paper map. 

On this same date Gilbert’s “Takoma Park” subdivision was approved, turning the 100 acres into 15 “blocks” with nearly 250 lots, the beginning of Gilbert’s vision of  a “Sylvan Suburb” where families could live in a healthy, rural wilderness just a 20- minute railroad commute to Washington.Read More

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ISO Takoma Authors

Historic Takoma has launched a project to collect and document the work of authors living in (or closely associated with) Takoma Park. Initially this project focuses on collecting the publications of Takoma Authors and developing short biographical profiles to introduce the authors to the community. We currently have a small collection of books by local authors in our Reading Room – but it’s a tiny fraction of this author-rich community. The current list of books in our Takoma Authors Collection can be be found here.

If you are a published author living in Takoma Park – or once lived in Takoma Park or otherwise are closely associated with Takoma Park – Read More

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Maryland Property Research Workshop – November 6, 2022, 2 PM

This is a hands-on technical workshop geared to exploring the details of property research in Maryland. The first hour will walk participants through access to Maryland land records and how to use them to trace property history. The second hour will be an open session to answer specific questions and provide one-on-one assistance.

This workshop will be held at Historic Takoma’s Reading Room, 7328 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Junction

Prior to the Workshop:

At the Workshop

  • Bring a laptop or tablet – we will be logging into and using the property websites
  • Paper and pencil are helpful for jotting notes about information on the websites

Questions?

If you have questions prior to the workshop please send a note to Jim Douglas at sixmilesfromwashington.com

About the Historic Takoma Reading Room

The Reading Room is open the first and third Sundays of each month, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

7328 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park – in Takoma Junction

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Introduction to House History Research – October 16, 2022

A portion of a 1930 map of Takoma Park – one of the many resources available at Historic Takoma

Come to Historic Takoma’s Reading Room on Sunday, October 16, for an introduction to resources and tools for researching the history of your house and the families that lived there. Learn about property records, census data, newspapers, maps, pictures, archives, and more. This is an opportunity to ask questions and become familiar with resources that Historic Takoma has along with those from other organizations.

Bring a laptop or other device to learn how to access various online resources.

The Reading Room is open the first and third Sundays of each month, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This session will begin at 3:00 PM.

7328 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park – in Takoma Junction

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Historic Takoma at Takoma Park Street Festival – Now October 23

Join us on October 23 for the rescheduled Street Festival

Join Historic Takoma at the annual Takoma Park Street Festival on Sunday, October 23. Our booth is near the Gazebo. Stop by to chat about Takoma Park history and learn about Historic Takoma’s programs and activities. We’ll have historical maps and other materials on hand to illustrate the changing Takoma Park community.

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Historic Takoma at Takoma Park Street Festival – CANCELLED

NOTE: Due to the forecast associated with Hurricane Ian, Sunday’s Takoma Park Street Festival is canceled. The organizers are working on coming up with an alternative date.

Join Historic Takoma at the annual Takoma Park Street Festival on Sunday, October 2. Our booth is near the Gazebo. Stop by to chat about Takoma Park history and learn about Historic Takoma’s programs and activities. We’ll have historical maps and other materials on hand to illustrate the changing Takoma Park community.

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Reflections on Unification: 25 Years Later

UPDATE: Watch the recording of Reflections on Unification: 25 Years Later , thanks to Takoma Park City TV.

On Sunday, September 18, Historic Takoma and the City of Takoma Park present a program “Reflections on Unification: 25 Years Later.” The City of Takoma Park was unified into Montgomery County in 1997 after more than 100 years of being divided between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Join us at the Takoma Park Community Center (7500 Maple Avenue) for a program featuring local residents and City officials who were behind the successful campaign to become One City – One County.

Mayor Stewart will open the event, followed by a short presentation on the history of the unification effort. Historic Takoma will moderate a panel consisting of Ed Sharp – former Mayor, City of Takoma Park; Co-Chair, One City-One County; Beverly Habada – former City Manager, City of Takoma Park; Bruce Williams – former Mayor, City of Takoma Park; Tom Gagliardo – former Corporation Counsel, City of Takoma Park; Co-Chair, One City-One County; Kathy Porter – former Mayor, City of Takoma Park; Jan Schwartz – Citizen Activist; and Chris Fitzgerald – Citizen Activist.

We encourage members of the audience to join by sharing their experiences and memories.

For more of the story, check out the window display at 7328 Carroll Avenue and historictakoma.org/unification/ which has links to additional resources.

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Takoma Horticultural Club Donates Flower Show Trophies

Some of the donated trophies

The Takoma Horticultural Club recently donated to Historic Takoma eleven engraved trophy cups, plaques, bowls, and platters from the Club’s and other annual flower shows. These items, which date from 1933 to 1985, were handed down through the Club’s leadership over the decades. Ten of the eleven items are sterling silver or silver plated. Three of these are on display in Historic Takoma’s Reading Room.

Three trophies on display in Reading Room

Established in 1916, the Takoma Horticultural Club is the longest continuously operating civic group in Takoma Park. Producing flower shows was one of the Club’s main community activities for many decades. The full history of the flower shows can be found on the Club’s website. Following the donation of the items to Historic Takoma’s archives, volunteer Read More

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Unification Turns 25

Takoma Voice, July 1997

July 1, 2022, marks the 25th anniversary of the unification of Takoma Park into Montgomery County, ending 107 years of divided jurisdiction between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and capping a 17-year effort to become One City – One County. Historic Takoma is documenting this remarkable accomplishment with an oral history project involving the citizen activists, elected officials, and City staff who were instrumental in leading and implementing the unification effort. A new window exhibit at Historic Takoma traces the history of the unification of Takoma Park into one county; on September 18, 2022, Historic Takoma and the City of Takoma Park will present a program at the Takoma Park Community Center – Sam Abbott Citizens’ Center.

Read More

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