Takoma Park, in Montgomery County, Maryland, is a suburb of Washington, D.C. and part of the Washington metropolitan area. Founded in 1883 by Benjamin Franklin Gilbert, Takoma Park was one of the first planned commuter suburbs. In 1890, the town of over 200 homes was incorporated.
Early history of the area begins with a legend. Pocahontas’ father, Chief Powhatan, is said to have stopped here for respite at the holistic springs after a battle north of Virginia. The area was farmland, with roads snaking across the landscape, until developers under the name of Williams and Carrolls supplied capital to erect mills, establish buying stations, and fashion native lumber into fuel. An investment towards land bordering Sligo Creek was used to build a mill that would become Takoma Park.
Takoma Park’s modern history is one of activism and progressive thinking. The population is diverse and vocal, with a reputation for getting civically involved on a wide variety of issues as well as hosting a number of cultural events, from the Takoma Park Folk Festival to the counterculture Takoma Park Street Festival. Art and entertainment are a focus of the neighborhood as well, with theaters bookending Takoma, the Takoma Jazz Fest, the Takoma Park Independent Film Festival, and blues label Takoma Records.
Takoma Park, like many other neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. area, has been the target of gentrification in recent years. Many in the community are families with children and the neighborhood in general is changing from older to younger. Previously adapted single-family homes have been converted back into their original states. With its well-defended, dignified old hardwood trees, hilly terrain and vibrant community, Takoma Park has both poise and excitement.