Historic Hyattsville

05/15/2016
By Preservation Maryland

The City of Hyattsville in Prince George’s County, now known equally for history and art, has a development history closely linked to transportation to and from Washington, DC, and a connection with trade along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and more recent efforts to expand the community through local and State art programs. Hyattsville is also home and hub to the regional State Heritage Area, Maryland Milestones.

Hyattsville’s popularity flourished when the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was chartered with a line that connected Washington DC and Baltimore in 1835, by 1893 the streetcar connected Hyattsville to Washington DC, and in 1908 the Carter Motor Car Factory created a factory in Hyattsville contributing to the more than 6,000 automobiles that traveled each day on the city’s main road, Maryland Avenue, now Route 1.

Although its growth was sparked by improvements in transportation history, Hyattsville’s history is also quite unique.  In 1807, the founder of Hyattsville, Christopher Clark Hyatt, purchased his first parcel of land in the area at the ripe age of eight and, subsequently, founded Hyattsville in 1845. By 1890, Hyattsville was one of only two cities in the county to boast a population that exceeded 1,000 residents, this population also included a small community of immigrants and African Americans. The city made history on the international scale when, in 1892, it was the first city in the United States to institute a single-tax system, which required that taxes be paid on only land and not property.  Hyattsville was also the first city in the area to acquire a newspaper, phone system, and utilities.

The drive to preserve historic Hyattsville began as a community effort by city homeowners in the 1970s.  The Hyattsville Preservation Association (HPA) was formed in 1982, the same year that Hyattsville Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The year that Hyattsville Historic District was placed on the National Register, 600 buildings were listed. Today nearly 1,000 building are listed and they vary from vernacular Victorians to Colonial Revivals, Sears Homes, and the Arts and Crafts influenced.

WALK THROUGH THE HISTORY OF HYATTSVILLE TODAY…

If you have the time for a leisurely Sunday stroll, HPA is holding their 37th Annual Historic Hyattsville House Tour today, May 15th, from 1-5pm.  This annual tour showcases the historical and architectural diversity of the homes in Hyattsville’s Historic District and provides a more in-depth history of this interesting City.

PHOTOS FROM TODAY’S TOUR

Our Director of Communications, Meagan Baco, enjoyed today’s tour; here a just a couple of snapshots of historic Hyattsville.

 

Our Preservation Month posts were written and prepared by Rachel Rettaliata, one of Preservation Maryland’s Waxter Interns. Rachel’s work with us focuses on communications and advocacy. She is a Fulbright Scholar, and will be attending the historic preservation program at the University of Maryland this fall. Learn more about Rachel and our intern program here: presmd.org/waxter

 

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Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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