Past Features

They Called Him Mr. 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 “Mr. 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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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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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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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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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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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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Voices of Takoma Authors Inaugural Event

“From Mobtown With Love: Bringing the Past to Life with Historical Mystery Fiction”

Historic Takoma launches the “Voices of Takoma Authors” on January 29 with “From Mobtown With Love: Bringing the Past to Life with Historical Mystery Fiction” with local author, Bill LeFurgy. The event takes place at Historic Takoma (7328 Carroll Avenue) from 3 PM – 5 PM.

A resident of Takoma Park since 1998, Bill is a professional historian and archivist who has studied the gilded glamor and seamy underbelly of urban life. He has put his years of research experience into writing gritty historical fiction about Baltimore, where he lived for over a decade. It remains his favorite city. While working at the Library of Congress, Bill headed a national program to preserve digital cultural heritage materials. In addition, he toured the world to speak to hundreds of libraries, archives, and museums about digital cultural heritage.

Before the Library, Bill worked as Manager of the Modern Records Program at the National Archives and Records Administration and as Baltimore City Archivist. He also worked as Manuscript Archivist at the Maryland Historical Society.

Bill will discuss his writing, his research, living in Takoma Park and more. His books, Into the Suffering City: A Novel of Baltimore; Murder In the Haunted Chamber; and Sex, Art, and Salome: Historical Photographs of a Princess, Dancer, Stripper, and Feminist Inspiration will be available for purchase after the event.

Please visit Bill’s website for more information about his work.

Historic Takoma’s Voices of Takoma Authors is a program developed in conjunction with our Takoma Authors project to collect and document the work of authors living in (or closely associated with) Takoma Park. As part of this project Historic Takoma has a collection of books by local authors available to read in our Reading Room.

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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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