Past Features

Preserving Your Family’s History

Historic Takoma and the Takoma Park Maryland Library collaborate to provide a presentation on Preserving Your Family’s History on the evening of May 2 at Historic Takoma. This will review best practices for collecting and organizing family history documents and pictures and how to store and protect them. Experts from Historic Takoma and the Library will demonstrate techniques and materials. Register for the event on the Takoma Park Maryland Library events page.

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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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They Called Him Mister Lee

Lift Every Voice and Sing

It was standing room only at the Takoma Park Community on February 26 for the screening of the film They Called Him “Mister Lee.” Jointly sponsored by Historic Takoma and the Takoma Park Recreation Department, the event featured the audience singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem, led by Lorraine Gibbs and Cammille Taylor from the God Glorified Church of God in Christ on Geneva Avenue.

A panel discussion followed the screening, with community members featured in the film (Patricia Matthews (Lee Jordan’s daughter), Otis Matthews, and Cedric Boatman), oral historian Ali Kahn, and filmmaker Michel Fincham. More about this film and the African American Oral History Project can be found at The films from the Project can be viewed on YouTube at They Called Him “Mr. Lee” and Doing Oral History: An Introduction. The City of Takoma Park is producing a video of the February 26 event; a link will be posted on our website when it is available.

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2022 Annual Report

Historic Takoma had a busy year in 2022. The Takoma Authors project was launched, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of unification into one county, events resumed post-COVID restrictions, work on the archives continued, and more… Read the full annual report to members here.

Our work depends on member and community support. Please consider joining Historic Takoma (or renewing your membership for 2023).

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Film Screening: They Called Him Mr. Lee

Join us for a screening of a vibrant new documentary about Lee Jordan—the school custodian, coach, and mentor to Takoma Park’s young people, both Black and White. Jordan founded the city’s Boys and Girls Club and organized Montgomery County’s first integrated sports teams. A tireless advocate for the Black community, he led campaigns to improve the living conditions of African American residents in the face of segregation and racial discrimination.Produced by Historic Takoma’s African American Oral History Project. Discussion to follow with filmmakers Michael Fincham and Ali Kahn, project team members, and interviewees. Event is free and open to all ages.

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African American Oral History Project

In 2019, Historic Takoma launched an initiative designed to collect and preserve the reflections  of older African Americans who had  been longtime residents of our city’s  historically Black neighborhoods – which centered around the “Hill” (Ritchie, Geneva, and Oswego Avenues) and the “Bottom” (Cherry and Colby Avenues off of Sligo Creek Parkway), along with smaller settlements such as the one at the foot of Lincoln Avenue at Maple Avenue – to elevate their voices and stories and share them with the larger community. 

Residents Susan Schreiber (Historic Takoma board member) and Denny May  reached out to local folklorist and oral historian Ali Khan and documentary filmmaker Michael Fincham and assembled a project team including community advisors Patricia Matthews, Dale Jones, Gaynell Catherine, Dianne Bradley (joined later by Joan Francis), and secured initial funding from the City of Takoma Park’s Community Grants Program.  

Over the past three years (with some time out for pandemic delays) the project has conducted and filmed oral history interviews with individuals who shared their reflections on growing up in Takoma Park from roughly the 1940s through the early 1960s, and  how parents and community leaders came together to build a vibrant and resilient community for their families in the face of racial and economic challenges.   Both the filmed interviews and written transcripts will be accessible to researchers, students, and the general public through Historic Takoma’s archives, along withl links for each of the project films. Read More

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The Name “Takoma Park”

KIRO radio in Seattle, Washington recently ran a story about the relationship between place names in Maryland and Washington: Takoma Park, Maryland and Tacoma, Washington AND Mt Rainier, Maryland and Mount Rainier, Washington. You can read and listen to the story (featuring Historic Takoma’s archivist, Jim Douglas).

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Montgomery County Tax Credit Workshop

It’s historic preservation tax credit season in Montgomery County! You can receive a 25% tax credit for exterior improvements such as repairing windows or siding, painting, or replacing your roof.

Applications are due to Montgomery County Planning Office by April 1.

Montgomery Planning’s Historic Preservation Office will hold the Historic Preservation Tax Credit Open House online on Thursday, March 2 (starting at 7 p.m.). The meeting will be hosted via Microsoft Teams Live and details on how to join will be made available prior to the start of the meeting. RSVP is required to attend. Sign up here. At this event, staff will provide an overview of the county’s tax credit program for improving historic properties. Planning staff will also provide an update regarding upcoming historic preservation policy changes. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

You can find out more about the tax credit program and the application process at the Historic Tax Credit Program website.

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Help Support Historic Takoma’s Programs

Historic Takoma is committed to documenting and sharing the history and culture of the Takoma Park community. In 2022 we were able to begin programming after a couple of years of COVID restrictions. We opened our public Reading Room, presented a program on the 25th anniversary of the unification of Takoma Park into one county, rejuvenated our archives work, initiated a project to collect works by Takoma Authors, presented workshops on researching house histories, and started regular postings on social media. In 2023 promises more….

But our programs depend on your financial support. Please consider making a 2022 end of the year contribution [DONATE] and becoming a MEMBER in 2023. Thank you for your support!

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Archives volunteer Janet Douglas recently completed a project to organize, photograph, and catalog Historic Takoma’s wide ranging t-shirt collection depicting the life, politics, sports, events, and culture of the Takoma Park community. The collection consists of nearly 70 shirts, of which 55 are unique (the remainder being duplicates). If you have a t-shirt, in good condition, that doesn’t duplicate what we already have, we’d be interested in considering adding it to our collection. Please write to (and include a picture of your shirt(s)).

See our Displays and Exhibits page for images of the full set of t-shirts in the collection.

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