American Craftsman homes in Sunday’s House and Garden Tour

IMAGE: A Bungalow on the 2014 House and Garden Tour. Photo by Kathy Jentz.

BY DIANA KOHN

Takoma Park House and Garden Tour on Sunday May 1 celebrates American Craftsman homes

On Sunday, May 1st, the 2016 edition of Takoma Park’s House and Garden Tour turns its attention to the American Craftsman homes so popular in the early 1900s. The suburb of Takoma Park was stretching beyond the Victorians clustered around the train station. Housing preferences had shifted to cozy, more affordable homes, as more middle class families clamored to become homeowners.

The expanding suburb of Takoma Park was perfectly positioned to fill this demand. Developers had recently platted new sections of land between Maple and Carroll Avenues, awaiting buyers. This year’s tour features 14 of these houses in the Willow-Park-Valley View neighborhood.

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The 2014 House and Garden Tour.  Photo by Kathy Jentz.

The new housing boom was also spurred by the Arts and Crafts Movement, which advocated simple, functional designs with an emphasis on craftsmanship. First formulated in England, these principles had been brought to America by Gustav Stickley and translated into affordable family-centered homes, which he called Craftsman.

Stickley is best known as a furniture maker, but his monthly magazine full of exterior designs, open floor plans, interior decor, furniture, and the use of natural materials, had a profound influence across the country. These ideas found their way to Takoma Park, along with bungalows and all varieties of kit houses.

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The Craftsman magazine, founded and edited by Gustav Stickley, was influential in creating the American Craftsman style. It published from 1901 to 1916.

The Craftsman period waned by the late 1930s, but the homes created then continue to be lovingly maintained, and creatively expanded to reflect the original Arts and Crafts, as represented by the houses on this tour.

The self-guided tour runs from 1-5 pm, rain or shine.

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The 2014 House and Garden Tour. Photo by Kathy Jentz.


TICKETS: Advance tickets are $22, online at historictakoma.org or from TPSS Co-op, Ace Hardware or Mark’s Kitchen (sales close Saturday at 5 pm). On May 1st, purchase tickets for $25 at “tour central” – Memorial Park, at the intersection of Philadelphia and Maple Avenues, across from the City Library (101 Philadelphia). For more details, visit historictakoma.org or call 240-393-6060.

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.