TALES OF TAKOMA: Takoma Park turns 125

IMAGE: The special 125th anniversary city logo will be used for commemorative events through April, 2015.

TALES OF TAKOMA • BY DIANA KOHN

On April 3, 1890, Maryland Gov. Elihu Jackson signed the Act to
Incorporate the town of Takoma Park, Montgomery and Prince George’s
Counties. This act declared “that the inhabitants of the town of Takoma Park,
Montgomery and Prince George’s counties shall be and are hereby made a
body corporate by the name and style of the “Mayor and Council of Takoma
Park.

The idea of incorporation began with the Takoma Park Citizens Association,
which organized in march of 1889, and raised the question of incorporation
at their first meeting.  A committee of three was appointed to draft the
proposal. B.F. Gilbert was asked to participate, but “not
favoring the proposal, he did not meet with the Committee.”

gilbertgraphic002

B.F. Gilbert’s sale’s brochure, c. 1886.

The Association approved the draft in January 1890 and promptly submitted
it to the Maryland General Assembly, where it was duly passed and signed.
Elections for city officers was set for May 5, 1890.

Scarcely more than six years after Gilbert purchased his first land to
create a sylvan suburb, the residents could call themselves a Town.  The
1890 census for Montgomery County reports 164 residents in Takoma Park, a
small number but enough to represent 12% of the county’s population.  A
similar number were counted in Prince George’s County. The State of
Maryland did not acknowledge the section of Takoma Park located in the
District.

City Logo 125 Years combo

The City’s new 125th Anniversary logo.

By all accounts, the impetus behind the push for incorporation was seen as
a necessary step for acquiring assistance from the state and county to
fund amenities. Streets and sidewalks were at the top of the list, plus
water mains, sewers and streetlights. In fact, the first official act of
the new government allocated funds to replace the wooden sidewalks.
Widening and paving the dirt streets was next, and a system to deliver
water was in place by 1900.

The public is invited to the city’s 125th anniversary commemorative events:

• Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m., Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue – Unveiling of the Sam Abbott Plaque
• Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue – Kick Off Celebration*
• Saturday, June 20, 1:00 p.m., Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue – Details to Follow

* The Kick Off Celebration Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 pm will honor past and present mayors and councilmembers, and will include a brief review of Takoma Park’s 125 years and a cake-cutting reception.

 

 

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.

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