TALE OF TAKOMA: 125th birthday party


The city invites one and all to a block party on Maple Avenue in front of the Community Center, Saturday, June 20, 4:00 – 7:00 PM Free ice cream! Music! Fun! Bring a picnic supper or buy food from vendors. Tables and chairs will be provided.

This isn’t the first time we’ve celebrated a milestone like this. Here’s a look back at the ways past residents have celebrated over the past 125 years.

1890: Two months after the official incorporation of the town, residents organized a double celebration – the incorporation and the sixth anniversary of Takoma Park’s founding – with a huge pig roast and concert at the park in North Takoma.

1890 - flyer for bbq

Poster for the 1890 pig roast, celebrating the town’s  incorporation and the sixth anniversary of its founding.

1933: The most elaborate celebration was for the Semi-Centennial in 1933. The three-day affair began with an Old Home Visitation tour of eight houses on Founder’s Day (Nov 24). Saturday featured a Semi-Centennial parade followed by Old Settlers banquet at the Fire Station. Sunday wrapped up with a Community worship service at the Presbyterian Church. In addition, a 47-page booklet was prepared by William Hooker and John Kinnear to provide “an account of the happenings of the early days of our community,” which included a biography of B.F. GIlbert written by his daughter, Margaret Gilbert Jameson. This document is one of the most significant references in Historic Takoma’s archives

Copy of 103-BanquetBetter

1933 Old Settlers Banquet at the Fire Station.

1950: Residents gathered for a “60 in 1950” celebration at the intersection of Carroll and Laurel as part of the annual Independence Day festivities. Two years before, Takoma Park had officially been recognized as a City and joined the Maryland Municipal League.

128-4th of July 1950ComPrint

“60 in 1950” gathering at Carroll and Laurel Avenues, 1950.

1958: Residents played up all the Victorian connections in a four-day 75th anniversary celebration of Takoma’s founding. There was a Victorian fashion show and dinner, along with, special trolley car rides into downtown DC with everyone dressed in Victorian garb. The chamber of commerce produced a commemorative brochure, “75 Years of Community Living,” detailing the city’s achievements over the decades, which won an American Municipal Association Award.


1958 – Re-living the Victorian Era.

1983: The kickoff of the Centennial birthday was held on Jan 10 with bands, performances and speeches. Events followed all year long – including an exhibit at City Hall, and the publication of “Portrait of a Victorian Suburb,” a photo history compiled by Ellen Marsh and Mary Ann O’Boyle. Residents from both Takoma Park MD and DC joined in the festivities.


 Title page of the 1983 Victorian Suburb book.

1990: The last city-wide celebration was in 1990 for fthe centennial of the city’s incorporation. The city seal was redesigned, a time capsule was assembled and local organizations hosted a year-long series of programs and festivals, including an Azalea Ball.


City Logo 125 Years comboBRelated:  TALES OF TAKOMA • Takoma Park turns 125

B.F. Gilbert, founder of Takoma Park, opposed the idea of incorporation.


8 Columbia city-cropRelated: TALES OF TAKOMA • How do you run a city like Takoma?

Since 1890, successive generations have added their changes to the way Takoma is governed.


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.