Past Features

In Appreciation: Normon Greene (1949-2020)

In 1999, Takoma residents asked local artist Normon Greene to create a memorial to Roscoe, Takoma’s beloved rooster and victim of a hit-and-run driver. The bronze sculpture proudly stands under the clock at Laurel & Carroll, forever capturing the spirit of Takoma’s iconic rooster and the town Roscoe called home.

Photo credit: Julie Wiatt

The pairing of the free-ranging rooster and the mostly self-taught sculptor/painter was a perfect match. On August 30, Normon himself passed away of a heart attack at age 70.

Like Roscoe, Normon forged his own path: a journey that took him from Lynchburg VA to Westmoreland Avenue, Takoma Park in 1997. Here he and his wife raised two sons, and Normon discovered his passion for sculpture and painting in bright colors.

Neighbors gifted him with a garage-turned-studio. The city commissioned his sculpture of Chief Powhatan for Spring Park. Much more followed, 90 venues in all — from National Harbor and Baltimore, to local libraries, schools, galleries, and of course, Roscoe.

Beyond his art, Normon helped organize the Westmoreland Avenue Community Organization Read More

See Past Features

Welcome to Historic Takoma’s new website. We are indebted to students from the University of Maryland College of Information Studies who created a design for us and built the site. Please take some time to explore the site. We welcome your feedback on what you’d like to see on the site (as well as letting us know what isn’t working!). We also need your help in improving the site – if you have an interest and skill in website design we need you!! Please contact us by writing to We look forward to hearing from you.

Takoma Profiles – 10 Things You Should Know About Lee Jordan

February is Black History Month and we celebrate Takoma Park’s own Black hero – Lee A. Jordan. The City Council has declared that February 23rd shall be honored every year as Lee Jordan Day. And on this day this year Takoma Radio (94.3-FM) airs an hour-long Special Program featuring segments from interviews with older people talking about growing up in the Black community during segregation and the decades that followed. Tuesday, 2:30-3:30 pm. (also streaming and archived at takomaradio)

In honor of Lee Jordan Day we’re presenting 10 Things You Should Know About Lee Jordan.

(1) Lee Jordan’s legacy is more than an athletic field named for him at Takoma Park Middle School.

Lee Jordan Field sign

 His legacy lives on in the lives of the people he touched, from his first days as custodian at Blair High School until his death in 1988. First and foremost, his guiding presence was felt by the generations of boys and girls, Black and white, whom he coached and mentored. Even those who didn’t play on his teams called him “Mr. Lee,” and absorbed lessons about dignity, respect and doing your best. His work bringing young people together to play sports across racial lines impacted both Black and white students as they negotiated the transition from segregated to integrated schools. And as a leader in the Black community, he played an important role in helping to forge a resilient community before and after segregation. Through his work and by example, he enriched our city as a whole.

(2) He was custodian at Blair High School and then Takoma Park Junior High from 1934-1973.

As the custodian at an all-white high school, Lee Jordan found opportunities to interact with and mentor students. When a group of white boys vandalized the school gym in 1937, his reaction was to volunteer to open the gym on Saturday afternoons so they could play basketball. A skilled athlete himself, he soon became their coach, a first step in his life’s work promoting values of positive values through sports.  Read More

See Past Features

Notable Takoma Park Women – Part 1

March is Women’s Month, and Historic Takoma is pleased to offer insight into some of the black and white distinctive women who helped create the Takoma Park we know today. Part 1 of Notable Takoma Women honors those who played significant roles in Takoma’s early decades. Part 2 will focus on more recent decades.

Creating Takoma Park out of the wilderness meant cutting down trees to lay out streets and build houses. For the first women it meant setting up households and raising children in relatively isolated conditions. Together they established churches, schools, and cultural amenities to make Takoma their home. Historic Takoma’s archives contain images and newspaper clippings that reclaim the names of many of these women.

Pamela Favorite

Pamela Favorite was one of the most prominent early residents. She took over the town’s first general store, opened by Isaac Thomas, and renamed it “Favorite’s.”  She also became the town’s first Postmistress. But her place in Takoma history was assured when she began publication of The Favorite in 1892. This monthly news sheet covered Takoma politics and local gossip, leaving us a glimpse of those early days.

Ida Summy is credited with suggesting the name “Takoma” (from Tacoma, Washington) to her friend Benjamin Franklin Gilbert. In 1884 she and her husband moved into their home at 7101 Cedar Avenue, which sits on the Maryland side of the boundary line with the District of Columbia.  Read More

See Past Features

Did You Miss These Events?

Here’s how to find them online

Lee Jordan and African-Americans in Takoma Park – Takoma Radio’s special program from February 23rd is online at Takoma Radio.

The story of Julius Rosenwald and his crusade to build Black schools (including Takoma Park’s Black school on Geneva Avenue). Montgomery History’s March 9th presentation will be available for viewing from March 15-21.

See Past Features

New Virtual Exhibit: “Signs of Democracy”

After the second Trump impeachment trial ended on February 13, 2021, handmade yard signs began to pop up in yards across Takoma Park. Residents wanted to let Representative Jamie Raskin know how grateful they were for his phenomenal work as the lead House manager for the impeachment.

Residents grabbed paper and markers and wrote notes of thanks to Raskin and the other nine managers. They added words such as Patriot, Democracy Defender, American Hero to their Jamie Raskin for Congress signs. They filled their yards and windows with flags and heart signs. The signs they made were creative, touching, witty, and heartfelt.

Franca Brilliant and Megan Scribner led an effort to collect images of the results; photojournalist Eric Bond captured the signs in a set of posters that have been on display in Historic Takoma’s window on Carroll Avenue.

Now these posters and a slide show of all the submitted signs are found in a virtual display our website. They can be found under the menu tab Programs/Activities> Exhibits & Displays.

See Past Features

Takoma Park Women – Part 2

The Takoma Park women profiled here were prominent between 1930 and 1970. In several cases they paired up, expanding their influence. Part 1 (women prominent in earlier Takoma Park history) is found here.

Ruth Pratt in 1934

In 1934, Ruth Pratt stepped down as President of the Women’s Club to become chair of the Library Trust Association of Takoma Park. Her mission was to create an independent town library. On July 15, 1935, Ruth welcomed one and all to Takoma Park’s first library in a tiny house at 801 Jackson Avenue. After earning a library degree in 1940, Pratt was officially named the City’s librarian along with a $60/month salary. For the next 20-plus years, she led the effort to gather books, find a home for the collection, set up a library system, and garner financial support from residents and the City.

Ruth Pratt, 1960

Before retiring in 1963, she shepherded the library through moves to 310 Carroll and 8 Sherman Avenues and finally into its permanent home at Philadelphia and Maple Avenues in 1955. 

From the beginning, Ruth Pratt’s chief ally was Cora Robertson, the first resident to suggest a town library. The two implemented their vision of an independent library with space for community gatherings and children’s activities. As chief volunteer, Robertson efficiently catalogued each new book for decades. Along with Pratt, she resisted all suggestions of merger into the County system until her death in 1960. Just before Pratt retired in 1963, an agreement was reached whereby the City took over library operations, making it a City Department. It is worth noting that Robertson made a brief foray into politics, running for City Council in the 1940s and losing by only a handful of votes.

Read More

See Past Features