History Lives Here
Portions of Takoma Park, both Maryland and the District of Columbia, are recognized as historic districts and as individual historic sites at the national and local level.
The federal government, through the National Park Service in the Department of the Interior, designates historic districts and sites in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
These districts are a geographically definable area possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. Listing on the national register imposes no restrictions (except for certain federal government activities) on what property owners may do with a designated property. More information about National Register districts and listings can be found here.
Montgomery County, Maryland and the District of Columbia have established local historic districts in the Takoma Park area. In addition to recognizing the significant contributions to Takoma Park’s history these local districts limit some of the activities allowed in the districts to protect their historic qualities.
The Takoma Park Historic District consists of two sections as shown on this map. The district was created in 1976 and includes 137 contributing resources ranging in age from 1883 to the 1920s. A summary of the district’s history and historic resources can be found here. The nomination form for the district contains additional detail and background for the district.
A second National Register district, the Takoma Avenue Historic District (7906-7914 Takoma Avenue), was created in 2004. This district includes five houses designed by the architect Charles M. Goodman and built by Albert Abramson of Twin Construction Company. One of the houses is in the City of Takoma Park.
In addition to the historic districts one individual property near Takoma Park, Maryland is listed in the National Register:
Davis-Warner House – a large frame Stick Style residence constructed circa 1875 at 8114 Carroll Avenue. The nomination form for this house contains additional details. Historic Takoma owns an historic easement on this house.
The Takoma Park Historic District in the District of Columbia is roughly bounded by Aspen Street on the south, Piney Branch Road and 7th Street on the west, and Eastern Avenue on the northeast as shown in this map produced by the DC Historic Preservation Office.
The district was created in 1980 and contains approximately 160 contributing buildings dating from circa 1883 to 1940. A summary of the district’s history and historic resources can be found here.
The nomination form for the district contains additional detail and background for the district.
In addition to the historic district a number of individual properties in the Takoma area in the District of Columbia are listed in the National Register:
Cady-Lee House 7064 Eastern Avenue, NW
Built in 1887, the Cady-Lee is the grandest of all of Takoma’s elegant Victorian houses. Designed by Leon Dessez, the architect who also designed Admiralty House (now the official residence of the Vice President), the Cady-Lee was built by Washington real estate and insurance salesman Henry Cady and his wife, Lucinda. Additional background and information about the Cady-Lee house is available at http://www.cadylee.org/content/history-cady-lee
Takoma Park Baptist Church (1923-24) at 6803 Piney Branch Road, NW
Cedar Court (W.R. Larson, 1926) at 410 Cedar Street, NW
Takoma Park Library (1911) at 5th & Cedar Streets, NW
Takoma Theater (1922) at 4th & Butternut Streets, NW
Trinity Episcopal Church (1936-37) at 7003 Piney Branch Road, NW
The Watkins (A.S. Baird, 1908) at 406 Cedar Street, NW
Whittier Gardens (1939) at 3rd, Whittier, and Aspen Streets, NW
The largest historic district in Montgomery County, in 1992 the Takoma Park Historic District was added to the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation which is the County’s preservation planning document. The Master Plan includes the list of all officially designated historic sites and districts and a system for protecting them, the Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 24A of the Montgomery County Code – Preservation of Historic Resources) adopted in 1979 as part of the Master Plan for Historic Preservation and revised in 1989.
The 1992 Master Plan Amendment included the Takoma Park Historic District and an individual historic site (outside of the District), the Carroll Manor/Douglas Home at 18 Sherman Avenue.
Designation of a single property or entire district as a Master Plan historic site or historic district signifies that the particular site or district has been reviewed by the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and approved by the Montgomery County Council to be of special historic significance. Designation as a Master Plan historic district:
Historic designation does not mean a property can never be changed. Owners who wish to make exterior changes may file a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) application with the Department of Permitting Services. The HAWP is reviewed for approval by the HPC. New construction in a historic district is subject to the same review process. No permit is required for interior changes or ordinary exterior maintenance. The HPC does not review paint colors. Note: The HAWP process is managed by the Montgomery County Planning Department, NOT by Historic Takoma.
Tax credits are available for work on properties in the Historic District. For further information go to the Tax Credits page.
The Takoma Park Historic District, established in 1983, is one of more than fifty historic districts in Washington, including the monumental civic complexes of the National Mall and Federal Triangle. Local neighborhoods account for more than thirty districts, and there are more than a dozen military and campus districts. Cemeteries, parks and parkways make up the remainder.
When a building permit is required for work affecting the exterior appearance of a historic property in the historic district historic preservation review is required. The same applies to officially designated historic interiors. Other permitting requirements may also apply. Further information about the Historic Preservation Review process is available from the DC Office of Planning. Note: The Historic Preservation Review program is managed by the DC Office of Planning, NOT by Historic Takoma.
Map showing Takoma Park, MD Historic District
Map showing Takoma, DC Historic District
National Register Database and Research
Maryland Historical Trust – Takoma Park National Register Historic District
Historic Designation and Research
Historic Resources Preservation – County Code, Chapter 24A
Designated Historic Sites and Districts
Montgomery County Historic Districts
Master Plan Amendment – Takoma Park Historic District and Carroll Manor/Douglas Home
Design Guidelines for Historic Sites and Districts in Montgomery County, Maryland
Takoma Park Historic District – DC Preservation League
Historic Preservation Review Board
DC Historic Preservation Laws and Regulations