TAKOMA ARCHIVES: A Gift of History — Images of Takoma Park


From Takoma Park’s first settlers to Motorcat, “Images of America: Takoma Park” celebrates 125 plus years of local history and makes a perfect holiday gift. Historic Takoma teamed with Arcadia Publishing for a unique community photo album – 128 pages of photographs, maps, newspaper advertisements, drawings and newspaper clippings that tell the remarkable stories of the people who created Takoma Park as we know it.

When assembling any photo album, the challenge is deciding what to include. I worked with Caroline Alderson and Susan Schreiber for two years sifting through the extensive Historic Takoma archives and tracking down additional images from local families, churches and other archives. We hope you enjoy the results. The photos below offer a sampling from the book.

Thanks to the first settlers who joined Benjamin Franklin Gilbert here in 1883, we have images dating back to the beginnings of this first railroad suburb straddling the Maryland-District boundary. We owe much to William Hooker, who organized the original Historical Society and was responsible for gathering the nucleus of its collection. These images fill the early pages of the book, including many from the glass negatives taken by resident photographers Louis Bien and Arthur Colburn, as well as a Washington Post clipping from Hooker’s scrapbook of the train station when it was still known as “Tacoma.”

Several Seventh-day Adventists archives added another dimension to the book, and local families allowed us to include photos from their family collections, such as the stylish 1914 portrait of May Olive Warren, from the Lee Jordan family, and the Jarboe family portrait of three generations of volunteer firemen. One of my favorites is a wonderful image of a 1950s teen dance from the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church collection.

A 1962 map shows the District side of Takoma Park as seen by Neighbors Inc, a civic group formed in 1958 to challenge the blockbusting efforts of real estate brokers and encourage black and white families to live side by side. Meanwhile, Sam Abbott’s artwork proved pivotal in the efforts to oppose the State Highway Administration plans to build a ten-lane freeway through Takoma Park and adjacent DC neighborhoods.

A string of local newspapers provided a wealth of material, such as, the Takoma Enterprise ad for Ford Motor Company. Many of the images of more recent decades come from the photographers of the Takoma Voice. Eric Bond marked the sad day when Park Pharmacy closed its doors. Julie Wiatt’s photo of Motorcat, as captured by John Hume in terra cotta tile at Takoma Junction, reflects the quirky nature of Takoma Park. Other images celebrate Takoma’s many artistic and political sides as well as  local traditions from Fourth of July parade (seen on the book cover) to the Folk Festival and Street Festival.

Images of America: Takoma Park
by Diana Kohn, Caroline Alderson, and Susan Schreiber.
Arcadia Publishing – $21.95

Available online at historictakoma.org and at Now and Then in Old Takoma

Please enjoy the slideshow of historic Takoma images below. If you have trouble seeing the slideshow, go to our gallery: http://voice.smugmug.com/TakomaArchives/Images-of-America-Takoma-Park


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.

1 Comment on "TAKOMA ARCHIVES: A Gift of History — Images of Takoma Park"

  1. Dear Ms. Kohn,

    Thank you for publishing this interesting and informative article, which I hope will help to generate increasing interest and appreciation for the history of Takoma DC and Takoma Park. I work, through my singing tours, to accomplish this same goal, and hope that we can work together in advancing Community Cooperation over the long term.
    Shira Destinie Jones

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