Dorothy’s Woods dedicated

IMAGE: Dorothy Barnes – in red sweater – is honored at the dedication of Dorothy’s Woods. Photo by Jack Carson.

OCT 28—The Takoma Park city council officially named the wooded lot behind the former Washington-McLaughlin Christian School “Dorothy’s Woods” in honor of Dorothy Barnes, who lived next to the woods most of her 94 years. The dedication of Dorothy’s Woods was held Oct. 23.

Barnes has been a valued source of historical information for the city. At its Sept. 14 meeting, the council turned the request over to the city’s Commemoration Commission, which quickly approved the proposal. The city council passed a resolution Sept. 28 naming the woods.


Mayor Kate Stewart reads the resolution dedicating the woods. Photo by Jack Carson.

Ms Barnes, who sold her house last year and moved to assisted living in Rockville, attended the dedication where Mayor Kate Stewart presented her a copy of the resolution.

In her Sept. 15 Tales of Takoma column Diane Kohn wrote “Dorothy Thomsen Barnes was born in 1922, soon after her parents bought a small house at 419 Elm Avenue. Dorothy and her friends grew up playing in the woods behind their house. She described those years in an oral history recorded in 2001.


The Mayor, former mayor Bruce Williams, city councilmembers and residents at the dedication ceremony. Photo by Jack Carson.

“’We raced and ran through the woods behind our houses. We walked to school through a meadow of daisies and grasses and little tiny trees. Now it’s a wooded area, of course, with houses built after they cut [Woodland Avenue ]through.;”


2 Comments on "Dorothy’s Woods dedicated"

  1. This is problematic on various levels. The environmentally responsible course of action is to responsibly develop the property. There are a certain number of people. We have to house them somewhere, one would think. We can build dense housing on close-in properties such as this one, or we can allow sprawl to inevitably occur in outlying areas. Takoma Park residents champion themselves as environmentalists for saving a few dozen trees (and their views and property values) while causing the destruction of thousands. Involving an elderly person in these policy initiatives is bad form, but I don’t expect anything else from Historic Takoma or the Commemoration Committee.

  2. But don’t take my word for it. Why don’t we revisit the Voice’s inspired observations at the time of purchase –

    “Takoma Park citizens are so excited – the city spent $253,000 of their money, including $115,000 in donations – on a sorry lump of vine-choked badly-drained real estate behind the McLaughlin School, a lump of real estate that will continue to cost taxpayer’s money to pay off liens, fix and maintain.

    Either the city will sell the land or keep it as a park. Oh, please, get that sappy tree-hugger look off your face, Dear Readers. If you want to keep it as a park, are you willing to pay out of pocket for it? Your taxes aren’t high enough? You want to hire more Public Works Department staff – and pay their salary, benefits and life-long pensions?

    Don’t talk to us about preserving “wetlands.” The Plan C partnership had the property assessed and they say the wet bit is actually the result of inadequate storm drainage. There is a spring and a small stream – which was diverted underground decades ago – but no wetlands.

    The trees may not be very old. Somebody claimed the land was a field, perhaps even a war-time victory garden, within living memory.

    But, now it makes a nice back-drop for the surrounding houses, and that’s why the community fought for it – and forked over donations. So, the rest of the city is going to subsidize their pretty backdrop. How nice for them.

    Some charged that when Plan C partnership bid against the city, it cost the city more. That may not be true. If we understand this correctly, the city would have to pay that much – and probably more – regardless. The auction money goes to a judge who distributes it to the institutions with liens against the property. The instituations are owed around $500,000 – twice as much as the city paid. If that’s the amount the city ends up paying, it won’t matter how much they paid at auction – it was just a down-payment.”

    Do we even know how much the city has spent so far on this property?

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