Sunday, September 11, 2016

Takoma Park Part 1 - The City of Azaleas

My first stop is Takoma Park, because that's the closest to where I live. Also, it's the first stop in the District of Columbia - soon to be the 51st state?

Takoma Park has a local reputation for being a refuge for hippies, and the whole place is lousy with yoga studios, drum circles, small businesses, little libraries, and art installations.

The station itself:
platform in the middle, pokestop is at the end. staff is always friendly, has an elevator that's hard to find, but kind of a fun back way to come into the station. The kiss-and-ride is not visible from the regular metro entrance, but a left after leaving will get you there. Across the street is a 7-11 with a lot of very friendly staff and complee lack of fresh decaf coffee at all times of the day. The field between the 7-11 and the station is usually infested with pokemon.

Across the street from the station, under the bridges for the metro trains, is a beautiful abstract mosaic. On the metro ride in, there is a relatively new mural that kind of gives you a sense of what you're getting into once you get off the train.

Before Takoma Park was every a city incorporated in the state of Maryland, it was very close to the site of Fort Stevens, which, for those astute students of American Civil War history, was a battle in which Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early attacked the Fort where Abraham Lincoln himself had come to see the fighting.

I mention this because someone, apparently very famously shouted "Get down, you damned fool!" at Lincoln when they came under fire, as the six-foot-plus president was just watching the battle through his binoculars and not taking cover. Afterwards no one could agree on who said it. Fancy that.

Developer Benjamin Franklin Gilbert bought land for Takoma Park with the intention of making a railway-accessible suburb for our nation's capitol that would not be plagued by the Malaria rampant in the swamp that is our lovely city (Umm what? Malaria??). Incorporated by Maryland in 1890, the city soon became one of the largest in Montgomery County, became known in the 1960's as "The People's Republic of Takoma Park" due to the political activism of Sam Abbott and other citizens, and declared itself a ''nuclear free zone'' in 1983.

An interesting fact about Takoma Park, according to their .gov website:

"Early residents included Benjamin Y. Morrison (1891–1966), a pioneer in horticulture and the first director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. A scientist, landscape architect, plant explorer, author, and lecturer, Morrison is known for his development of the Glen Dale Azaleas. Many of his hybrid azaleas can be found across the community, thus Takoma Park’s reputation as 'Azalea City.'"
To read more into the history of Takoma Park, check out the Historic Takoma website.

Next post I will continue with Takoma Park, including notable small businesses, bloggers from the area, and things to do.