In the 1950's, as schools became desegregated and neighborhoods more integrated, many white residents began moving out of the District. Unscrupulous real estate agents used a practice known as "block busting" to frightened white owners into selling homes for low prices, which the agents resold at significantly higher prices to incoming Blacks.
1958 an organization, Neighbors Inc, was formed by
residents of both races to foster stable, integrated neighborhoods. Members included residents of Takoma,
in 1964 the entire community joined together to fight the proposed 10-lane
North Central Freeway. It would have cut
a huge swath, taking hundreds of homes and displacing thousands of residents in
Planning for Metrorail raised new concerns. The original plan for the Takoma Station, to be located in DC, called for the area around the Metro station to be rezoned for high-density development. It called for widening streets to handle more traffic and for construction of a 500-car parking lot. Area residents worked together again to oppose these drastic changes. A new organization, Plan Takoma, helped develop alternatives, including a public park and buffer area, retention of residential and low-density commercial zoning, a limit on parking to 100 non-rush hour spaces, and no change in the width of the streets.
In 1977, before the Metrorail Station opened, Plan Takoma was reactivated, leading to additional planning around the station. By the time the station opened in 1978, the community welcomed its arrival, bringing Takoma full circle to its origins as a rail commuting town.
the years, many of the fine old homes and buildings in Takoma were lost, some
destroyed from natural causes, others razed for new developments. One of the most devastating losses occurred
on August 17, 1967, when fire destroyed the
Takoma DC today retains its historical character, rich in cultural diversity, social and civic activism, small businesses, tree lined streets, sidewalks and parks, and variety of housing from small and moderately-sized bungalows to stately homes, big four-square houses, and art deco apartments. Attracted by the unique ambiance, families of economically, racially, and ethnically diverse backgrounds have made their home in Takoma -- an active community with its small-town charm intact, nestled in the northwest corner of the nation's capital.
By Loretta Neumann, NI Past President, April 2004
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