The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Takoma

Photo courtesy of
‘Takoma DC Public Library’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

I went into this week’s Where We Live with limited knowledge about Takoma– I’ve visited a few times, swam at the pool, walked through the pretty tree-lined streets. I knew that Takoma was a beautiful neighborhood, filled with residents who really love living there.  But the Takoma I discovered while writing this feature was just flat-out awesome: it’s a neighborhood  that feels like a small town within a big city, with community events all the time, and even a neighborhood rooster.  Seriously.

History: Takoma got its start back in 1883 as a commuter rail suburb of Washington, offering clean water, fresh air, and a semi-rural lifestyle with access to the city.  Back then the community, which straddled the DC/MD line, was known as Takoma Park.  The area attracted a good deal of residential growth with some smaller commercial areas.  The area eventually took on two names– Takoma (a neighborhood in Washington DC) and Takoma Park (a city in Maryland).  There’s a shared identity between these two parts, and the area has come to be known for its active residents.  Residents successfully joined together to oppose the North Central Freeway Project in 1964, and they had a significant impact on the Takoma Metro station (which sits on the Washington DC side, thus the name) back in the 1970s.  Initial plans called for high-density commercial and residential development around the station and a 500-space commuter parking lot, but residents organized a group called Plan Takoma that developed the alternative of what you see today: a public park, a 100-space parking lot, and the retention of medium-density houses and shops.

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Mythbusting DC, The Features

DC Mythbusting: Takoma or Takoma Park?

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Hoffmann’

Welcome to another edition of DC Mythbusting.  This week we’ll be tackling a myth about nomenclature– is the town on the other edge of the boundary with DC called Takoma or Takoma Park?  If it is Takoma Park (which is the name you hear more often), why on earth is the Metro station just called Takoma?

Because there are two different places– Takoma Park is a city in Maryland, while Takoma is a neighborhood in NW Washington DC.  They’re right next to each other, and they used to both be part of a suburb called Takoma Park, until the District of Columbia grew up to its current boundary.  Takoma Park was founded back in 1883 as a Washington garden suburb with “clean air, pure water, and no mosquitoes.”  The area grew as an attractive estate-filled suburb with streetcar service connecting it to Downtown DC.  In 1890 Takoma Park was incorporated as a town by the Maryland General Assembly. However, the northeast boundary line of Washington DC ran right through what was formerly known as Takoma Park. Pierre L’Enfant probably wouldn’t have been too happy with someone messing with the boundaries of his orderly 10-mile square, so the part of the suburb that was within DC remained under District control.

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