Posted by: David Giacalone | June 1, 2009

Takoma Park’s colors — hues kidding hue

Colors of Takoma poster (click for details). .  Colors of Takoma poster

Takoma Park Historic District Sign It’s not often that I’m away from the Schenectady’s Stockade Historic District and Mohawk River for an entire week.  But, I just spent 8 days visiting various friends in and around Washington, D.C., while staying with John Redman and Marianne Clarke, in Takoma Park, Montgomery County, Maryland.  Their home is located in the Takoma Park Historic District, so I was still surrounded by fine old homes, located along hilly and tree-lined streets — mostly Victorians and craftsman bungalows (many constructed from Sears kits in the 1920s).

2 Cucumber Alley - Stockade – 2 Cucumber Alley, Stockade –

Here in the Stockade, I’ve come to associate striking shades and combinations of colors with our sunsets along the Mohawk, not our historic buildings.  Even when Stockadians decide to create an adventurous color scheme for their residences, the palette tends to be rather subdued — with any intense shades used sparingly on a bit of trim. [One exception, of course, is the lovely, recently-painted home at 2 Cucumber Alley, seen above.]

Westmoreland Ave. Pumpkin - Takoma Park In the Takoma Park Historic District, on the other hand, eye-popping colors have become a tradition, and have been celebrated recently in the Colors of Takoma poster shown at the head of this posting.  As explained in the Historic Takoma Newsletter (Dec. 2008, at 5), the poster is the work of Ross Chapple and Lea Chartock who live in Takoma Park. (For more “Colors of Takoma Park,” see the FourthWall weblog, by the folks at Takoma’s Design Farm.)

6910 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park

My appetite for gaudily painted homes was whetted immediately on my arrival in TP, while swinging lazily on John and Marianne’s modestly-hued front porch, with this view to the right (as usual, click to enlarge the photos)

– 6908 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park –  6908 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park, MD (May 2009)

. . . and this colorful pair right across the street:

6907 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park, MD

. . 6907 Westmoreland - with red Chimney . .

6909 Westmoreland Ave, Takoma Park

The unconventional colors reminded me that Takoma Park has long been thought of as the hippie-lefty headquarters of the DC Metro region.  These days, it has mellowed into a gray-ponytail, aging Boomer enclave.  Shortly before I moved from DC to Schenectady, in the article “How to Get Rid of Rats in Most Humane Way” (September 25, 1987), the New York Times stated:

“This is not your average Washington suburb, and never has been. Its 17,000 residents love a good argument, especially one over on the leftish side of things.”

As you can see below, the free-spirited residents of Takoma Park, Maryland, continue to strut their stuff with their colorful homes:

TP yellow dream

. . .

TP sunburst on blue sunburst on white - Takoma Park

– next-door neighbors –

. . .

Willow House, Takoma Park, May09

. . .

Tulip St, Blue

. . .

TP purple plus . . .  TP rail detail

TP polychrome home

TP blue victorian

TP surprise


TP surprise front view

. . .

TP violet

Takoma Park favorite

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On the other hand: Stockade District Colors:

101 Front St 12Dec08 . . .  . . . 3 Front St - Stockade

41 Front St. - Stockade . . .  Church St - Knights Hall - Stockade

Of course, Schenectady’s Stockade District isn’t totally colorless or stodgy.   Here are a few side-by-side comparisons with Takoma Park’s colorful displays:

- 108 Front St., Stockade - . . .   TP yellowdream sidebay

– 108 Front St., Stockade –                                                               – Takoma Park –

FrontSt Magenta Door . . .  TP Willow House Door . . . .     142 Front St Door

– Stockade –                                   – Takoma Park –                               – Stockade –

TP burgundy door . . NFerry-Door .. Morris Family Door . . 110 Front St. Door

– Takoma Park –             ———————– Stockade doors —————————-

103 Front St. - Stockade The colors of Takoma and the Stockade’s hues make me thankful for people who love historic districts and lovingly care for their homes.

overtime (June 2, 2009):  Driving up Green St. this evening, I realized there were a few doorways that needed to be recognized in this posting.  So, I walked back home and got my PowerShot:

Doorway of 225 Green St - Stockade . . .  entry to 215 GreenSt. - Stockade . . .   door at 227 Greeen St - Stockade

…… Green Street doorways, Schenectady Stockade …..

p.s. Maybe I’m Sunset Jingoist: None of the Takoma sunsets last week could match this one from my backyard, my first night back along the Mohawk:

16 Washington Ave. Sunset - Stockade - 29May09

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