Carroll at Laurel: captured in time 60 years ago

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In the aftermath of this year’s street festival, I found it intriguing to look closely as a photo I recently uncovered showing the Fourth of July, 1950 celebration. The site is the intersection of Carroll and Laurel Avenues, only then becoming the heart of the Old Takoma business district.  The crowd was gathered to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the city’s incorporation.

Anniversaries may have faded in the decades since but new traditions have risen to take their place, like the September Folk Festival and the Street Festival held October 3.

The first street festival dates to August 1981, when Mayor Sammie Abbott resolved to support local merchants. What began as a Victorian Festival emerged as the Old Town Street Festival in June 1986. The winning mix of local musicians, international food, crafts, and kids activities like the moonbounce remains the formula to this day.

Thumbnail image for streetFest1986.jpegPoster from the 1986 Street Festival.

The Art Deco storefronts in the 1950 photo are instantly recognizable. Owner Bill Kirchiro made few changes when he renovated in the early 1980s. The store occupants, however, bear a closer look.

The logo on the center storefront (now home to Covered Market) reads “Electrik Maid.” Many residents, however, remember Electrik Maid when it occupied the space several doors to the right, now home to Mark’s Kitchen.

electrik-maid.jpegThe puzzle is solved thanks to an ad for the Electrik Maid Bake Shop, printed in the June 30, 1950, issue of the Takoma Journal. This was in the days before it was a diner, and before it moved into the space up the street. To make the story more complicated, Middle Eastern Cuisine took over the Electrik Maid diner for their deli before passing it on to Mark’s Kitchen in 1981, and moving next door.

In the photo, that store, at the far right of the photo, has a barely visible sign reading
“Hawn Jewelers.” It was operated by Goldie Hawn’s mother and father as a branch of their Silver Spring store.  Ironically, the same commemorative issue of the Takoma Journal reports that the store has been sold to Harry Wolfson, who takes over “tomorrow” and will continue to do watch repair.

The church at left in the photo was built by the Adventists in 1913. It served the congregation until 1953, when they moved across the street into the much grander church they now occupy. The stone church filled the triangular space that been open parkland between the old church and the Review and Herald Publishing offices. By 1956, the old church had been torn down and now serves as a parking lot.

How much change will the next 60 years bring?

(Images courtesy Historic Takoma)

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About the Author

Diana Kohn
Diana Kohn is president of Historic Takoma, Inc., which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the heritage of both Takoma Park MD and DC. Diana is co-author of Images of America: Takoma Park, a photo history of the town.