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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Takoma Park in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Belle Ziegler Park

 
 
Belle Ziegler Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 12, 2012
1. Belle Ziegler Park Marker
Inscription. This park land, originally called North Takoma Park, was donated by city founder Benjamin Franklin Gilbert as part of his effort to create public spaces within the city. By the mid-1920's it had been renamed Washington Park and was the scene of numerous political rallies as well as a place for families to gather. The name changed again in 1966 to honor Jequié, Brazil, our Sister City. For more than ten years Takoma Park maintained a cultural exchange with this Brazilian port city located 10 degrees below the equator. Students from the two cities traded places and cultural celebrations and, though 4,500 miles apart, strengthened the ties between the two states. With the dedication of the park to the memory of Belle Zeigler, the connection to Jequié lives on: one of Belle's legacies was her work on behalf of the Sister City Project.

In 1967 Belle Ziegler founded Takoma Park's Recreation Department and served as its director for the next 23 years. While on City staff, she devoted much of her free time to civic affairs. Upon her retirement in 1990, Belle became the consummate volunteer. Soft-spoken but feisty, she was always a master at recruiting, cajoling, corralling and enticing others to join in. She was known to many as the heart and soul of Takoma Park.

Belle arrived in town in 1956, the single mother of two small children,

Jequie Park Sign image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 12, 2012
2. Jequie Park Sign
As this sign shows this park is still known to the neighbors as Jequie Park.
and took a job with the City overseeing playgrounds, including this one. Soon she was coordinating some of Takoma Park's most popular, long-lasting programs, including the Ben Franklin Kite Contest, and annual Halloween party, the Independence Day fireworks and parade (for which she helped build floats that won awards not only in Takoma Park, but in New Carrollton, Silver Spring and Rockville), sports leagues and, beginning in the 1950's, roller-skating and dances under the old firehouse. Most of these programs ran on volunteer energy.

Belle embodied the spirit of the earliest residents, who took it upon themselves to create a friendly, festive community. Her overarching passion was for the Independence Day Committee, an autonomous group of volunteers who can trace their roots back to 1889. Belle was an active member throughout her years at City Hall and afterward; she served a total of 32 years on the committee. Her legendary recruiting skills guaranteed the ongoing success of the annual celebration.

In 1963 she helped Mayor Miller create the Sister City committee to foster cultural ties with Jequie Brazil. Her daughter Dolores, spent a year in Brazil with the program, and Belle served as den mother to numerous Brazilian students. In 1966, in recognition of the program, this public space was named Jequie Park. In 2010, in homage to Belle,it was re-dedicated as Belle Ziegler

Belle Ziegler Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 15, 2012
3. Belle Ziegler Park Marker
Park.
 
Location. 38° 58.931′ N, 77° 1.243′ W. Marker is in Takoma Park, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Takoma Avenue. Touch for map. The Marker is at the North end of Belle Ziegler Park near corner of Albany and Takoma Avenues, near Moskowitz playground. Marker is in this post office area: Takoma Park MD 20912, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Metropolitan Branch and Takoma Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Living in Takoma Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Walt Penney Field (about 400 feet away); Founding of Takoma Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Jesup Blair House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Silver Spring Experienced by a Mother and Child, 1861-1865 (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Blair Family and their Silver Spring Homes (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Blair Family and the Civil War (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Takoma Park.
 
More about this marker. Belle Ziegler Park is a triangle defined by Takoma Avenue on the west, Albany Avenue on the north and Buffalo Avenue on the east side. It includes Walt Penny Field and Moskowitz playground.
 
Categories. Charity & Public Work
 
Belle Ziegler detail from the Belle Ziegler Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 12, 2012
4. Belle Ziegler detail from the Belle Ziegler Park Marker
Belle Ziegler Park sign at Takoma and Albany Avenues image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 12, 2012
5. Belle Ziegler Park sign at Takoma and Albany Avenues
Belle Ziegler Park sign at Takoma and Buffalo Avenues image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 15, 2012
6. Belle Ziegler Park sign at Takoma and Buffalo Avenues
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 15, 2012, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 328 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 15, 2012, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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