TAKOMA ARCHIVES • BY DIANA KOHN
TODAY IN HISTORY – On this day in 1890, the Maryland State Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the incorporation of “the town of Takoma Park.” However, that action 124 years ago had a downside. The section of Gilbert’s suburb in the District of Columbia was specifically excluded. Residents on both sides of the border have since found many occasions to disregard this distinction when lobbying for improvements to the community at large.
B. F. Gilbert’s real estate brochure from the 1880s.
The Takoma Park Citizens Association, made up of residents from both sides often including city council members, was the driving force for change through the 1930s. Their achievements included the Takoma DC branch library (1911) and the construction of the underpass (1911), the DC playground as well as playgrounds on the Maryland side, as well as street lamps and sidewalks on both sides of the border.
The log cabin – on the site of what is now Republic restaurant. It stood until 1915.
The DC side took the stronger commercial role until the development of the Carroll and Laurel intersection in the mid-1920s. Even the Adventists, who arrived in 1903, exerted their influence on both sides – the publishing house on Eastern (DC) and had college/hospital on Sligo Creek (MD). Even the rise of the Chamber of Commerce in the 1930s reflected a joint-jurisdiction effort; still true in today’s Old Takoma Business Association.
A 1922 map showing how the community straddled borders.
Read this related TAKOMA ARCHIVES column about Takoma Park’s first post office and our zip-code that also touches on the city’s confusing identity.
The original Takoma Park post office.