Isaac and Amanda Thomas built the first house in Takoma Park in 1884. Isaac was the first postmaster and shopkeeper in the city, and he and his wife lived in the house until selling it to Franklin Siegler and his family in 1919.
Siegler’s son Edward was a prominent entomologist with the Department of Agriculture for over 50 years. After his death in 1984, his widow planned to sell the property to a developer with designs on demolishing the house and other structures and building apartments.
Concerned residents rallied to form Friends of the Thomas-Siegler Historic Property, to oppose the proposed development. The group found new owners for the house, which was divided into two separate living quarters. The Trust for Public Land stepped in to save the carriage house and garden, which were sold back to the City of Takoma Park.
The original house is still a private residence, but the carriage house is now home to the Thomas-Siegler Carriage House Museum. The garden still contains many of the original plants, including white oaks, magnolias, and azaleas, including some strains planted by Benjamin Y. Morrison, the founder and first director of the National Arboretum.
The site is an excellent example of civic action prevailing over the wrecking ball to prevent the erasure of local history.
Know Before You Go
The site is open to the public from dawn to dusk, and parking can be found nearby on Tulip Avenue.