TAKOMA PARK, MD – A Takoma Torch investigation has uncovered a secret plan to impose draconian measures that would restore Takoma Park’s historic district to its state of nearly 120 years ago.
The Takoma Park Historical Brigade’s “Takoma 1900” plan, includes such measures as razing all buildings taller than three stories, replacing the city’s newly installed LED street bulbs with kerosene lanterns, and even providing residents free coal to heat their homes.
“Our history will be besmirched no longer,” wrote the Historical Brigade’s vice president, Barbara Y. Morrison, in a quill-written document obtained by Takoma Torch. “We cannot be deterred in our goal of achieving perfect historical accuracy.”
Included in the Takoma 1900 planning documents is a detailed series of memos in which the Historical Brigade outlines how it will seize power to begin implementation. In exchange for unfettered power, the city council and mayor will be offered permanent, exclusive rights to place solar panels on their rooftops and change out their windows.
Once the Historical Brigade obtains power, county zoning laws will be overturned in place of new ones, including free parking for all wagons, and 15% open space required in front of all commercial buildings to hold protests against corporations, who no longer have to abide by the 40 hour work week limit. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, must be modeled after Hooverville tent structures from the Great Depression era.
The plan would also bar the use of power tools in the historic district. “Too much NOISE,” wrote Doreen Fears, member of the Takoma Park Historical Brigade in a typewritten note. “Builders must only use hand-powered tools. This might add several years to projects, but at least our life-spans these days are longer to enjoy the finished product.”
The Takoma Park Historical Brigade was also found to be planning a complete overhaul of every regulation in the historic district, not just those related to buildings.
“We are no longer only interested in control of the physical appearance of buildings,“ Fears said. “The time has come for us to create a true historic district, with residents in period dress, like a Colonial Williamsburg for Takoma Park.”
Restaurant owners in the historic district must submit all menus items for a Historic Area Restaurant Permit, or HARP review, before being served to the public. Items not seen in the city prior to 1920, such as kimchi tacos, avocado toast, and pumpkin spiced lattes, will no longer be served.
People living in, or traveling through the Takoma Historical Accuracy Zone of Exactitude (Takoma HAZE) would be barred from wearing popular clothing styles after the ’20’s. Residents must say goodbye to yoga pants and flip-flops, and say hello to cloaks, petticoats and ascot ties.
Under the Historic Brigade’s plan, roads will be off-limits to modern automobile models. The 8 mpg Model T would replace the 50 mpg Toyota Prius, and horse drawn carriages would replace Uber (although horses would not be allowed in the farmer’s market on Sundays).
The Historical Brigade would also rewrite the city’s election laws, providing two votes for every resident who has lived in Takoma Park for more than 20 years, three votes for every resident who has lived in Takoma Park for more than 30 years and four votes for those whose tenure extends for 40 years or more.
“The city government would need to go through drastic changes in its hiring system,” stated the City Manager after hearing of the plan. “We would immediately fire our entire IT staff, trash collection crews, and communications director, and replace them with switchboard operators, manure sweeps and cobblers.”
It’s not all bad for young residents worried about going back to a time they never experienced. Under the plan, hipsters can still keep their handlebar moustaches, typewriters, and penny-farthings.
It’s also expected to be a boon for community theater, as Netflix and other streaming video will be banned. Residents can now watch live performances of popular shows like “Handmaid’s Tale,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Orange is the New Blacksmith.”
Though most current residents inside the historic district welcomed the new laws, local businesses expressed the opposite reaction.
Local business owners gathered at Old Takoma Business Association’s headquarters, essentially a small park bench near the Old Town Gazebo, many seen shaking their fists and holding their heads in their heads.
“We’re trying to run a place of business that is inclusive of all people from every time period!” exclaimed Gary Jackson. “Now it’s going to be impossible to keep my VHS rental store alive.”
Angela Hernandez, coffee shop owner on Laurel Avenue was also upset. “You know, I just invested money in a new point-of-sale system involving iPads with the latest technology,” stated Hernandez. “Without them, customers won’t feel obligated to tip knowing I’m watching them intensely as they complete their transaction.”