Takoma Park, Maryland

Takoma Park is a city in Montgomery County, Maryland. The population was 17,299 at the 2000 census.


Takoma Park was founded by Benjamin Franklin Gilbert in 1883 and incorporated in 1890. It was the first planned commuter suburb in the area, and also bore aspects of a spa and trolley park. For many decades it was world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist church denomination, which has a college, hospital, and radio station there.

Since before the incorporation of Takoma Park in 1890, the Montgomery/Prince George's County boundary cut through the current city boundaries, but pursuant to a popular referendum, and subsequent approval by both counties' councils, and the Maryland General Assembly, on July 1 1997 the county line was moved to include all of the city in Montgomery County, including some territory newly annexed to the city at the time. (Residents in the Prince Georges portion disliked having to pay higher insurance rates, and being part of a county noted for its much higher crime and lower public school scores). At one time an extension of Interstate 95, also known as the North Central Freeway, was proposed that would have cut the city in two. Sam Abbott and others successfully campaigned to prevent this.

Also dividing the community is the boundary line of the District of Columbia, which contains part of the original Gilbert tract. This area is now known as Takoma, Washington, D.C. While politically separate from Takoma Park, Maryland, it shares its history and much of its culture.


Takoma Park is located at (38.980060, -77.002341).

The city of Takoma Park is just northeast of Washington, D.C. at latitude 38°59' North, longitude 77°0' West. The Takoma Park community (as distinct from the actual incorporated area) spills over the D.C.-Maryland line into the Takoma neighborhood of the District, the Carole Highlands neighborhood of Prince George's County, and parts of Silver Spring. However, these neighborhoods are politically separate from the City of Takoma Park, and do not pay the city property tax. (Benjamin Franklin Gilbert's original planned community included land on both sides of the D.C.-Maryland line.)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²), all land, although Sligo Creek and Long Branch (both tributaries of the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River) flow through the city.


Takoma Park is an ethnically diverse city, with a large proportion of the population being recent immigrants.

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,299 people, 6,893 households, and 3,949 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,152.4 people per square mile (3,150.6/km²). There were 7,187 housing units at an average density of 3,387.0/sq mi (1,308.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.79% White, 33.97% African American, 0.44% Native American, 4.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 7.44% from other races, and 4.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.42% of the population.

There were 6,893 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 35.9% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,490, and the median income for a family was $63,434. Males had a median income of $40,668 versus $35,073 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,437. About 8.4% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 20.5% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Takoma Park is known as an extremely liberal community, sometimes called "the Berkeley of the East" , or "The People's Republic of Takoma Park." The City Council voted unanimously in 1983 to become a nuclear free zone. As a result, no city purchases or investments can be carried out with entities that make nuclear weapons, components or delivery systems. In accordance with the city's principles, Takoma Park allows non-U.S.-citizen residents to vote in their own municipal elections. The city was also forbidden, by statute, from doing business with any entity having commercial ties with the government of Burma (Myanmar) , though after a United States Supreme Court decision struck down a similar Massachusetts provision, enforcement of the provision was suspended in the year 2000. As of 2007, the Free Burma Committee is inactive. Takoma Park is also forbidden from purchasing any World Bank financial instruments.. In addition, residents must obtain a permit to cut down any tree on their property measuring more than 8 inches in diameter. On July 23, 2007 Takoma Park joined 80 other jurisdictions when its city council adopted a resolution to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney.


Takoma Park is governed by a city council composed of a mayor and council members for each of six wards. The city administration is run by a City Manager, since 2004, Barbara Burns Matthews. The current Mayor of Takoma Park is Bruce Williams (2007-). Former mayors are:

  • Benjamin Franklin Gilbert (1890-1892)
  • Enoch Maris (1892-1894)
  • Samuel S. Shedd (1894-1902)
  • John B. Kinnear (1902-1906)
  • Wilmer G. Platt (1906-1912)
  • Stephens W. Williams (1912-1917)
  • Wilmer G. Platt (1917-1920)
  • James L. Wilmeth (1920-1923)
  • Henry F. Taff (1923-1926)
  • Ben G. Davis (1926-1932)
  • Frederick L. Lewton (1932-1936)
  • John R. Adams (1936-1940)
  • Oliver W. Youngblood (1940-1948)
  • John C. Post (1948-1950)
  • Ross H. Beville (1950-1954)
  • George M. Miller (1954-1972)
  • John D. Roth (1972-1980)
  • Sammie A. Abbott (1980-1985)
  • Stephen J. Del Giudice (1985-1990)
  • Edward F. Sharp (1990-1997)
  • Kathy Porter (1997-2007)
  • Bruce Williams (2007-Present)

Representative body

Takoma Park has a non-partisan City Council elected by wards. Council members serve terms of two years, and are elected in the odd-numbered years. Non-U.S. citizens may register and vote in the municipal election. The members of the council elected in 2007 are:

  • Ward 1: Josh Wright
  • Ward 2: Colleen Clay
  • Ward 3: Dan Robinson
  • Ward 4: Terry Seamens
  • Ward 5: Reuben Snipper
  • Ward 6: Doug Barry

Voting Methods

In the 2005 election, an advisory referendum on the institution of Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) for municipal elections passed with 84% approval (source: The Takoma Voice). The City Council is widely expected to pass legislation encoding IRV into law; this will make Takoma Park the first political jurisdiction in the state of Maryland to use such a voting system, and it will join a small but growing number of municipalities across the nation who have chosen IRV, such as San Francisco, California, Burlington, Vermont and, more recently, Ferndale, Michigan.

Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Associations by Ward

Ward 1:

Ward 2:

Ward 3:

  • Pinecrest
  • Westmoreland Area Community Organization (WACO)
  • SS Carroll ("The Generals" streets: Grant Ave, Lee Ave, Sherman Ave, Sheridan Ave)

Ward 4:

  • Ritchie Citizens Association

Ward 5:

  • Between the Creeks

Ward 6:

  • Hillwood Manor
  • New Hampshire Gardens Citizens Association


Takoma Park and Silver Spring together host the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts a college wooden-bat baseball team playing in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League. Home games are played at Montgomery Blair Stadium.


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The city is served by the Montgomery County Public Schools.
Elementary schools that serve the city include:

Most Takoma Park residents are zoned to Takoma Park ES and Piney Branch.

Middle schools that serve the city include:

All of the city is served by Montgomery Blair High School.

With the Downcounty Consortium, students have limited opportunity to enroll in one of four other schools, including Kennedy, Northwood, Einstein, and Wheaton.

Colleges and universities


  • The main characters of Becky Anderson's novel In Stereo Where Available refer to Takoma Park as their hometown. The novel's final scene takes place in a fictional high school in the city.

See also


External links

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