Belle Ziegler Park

Belle Ziegler Park (HM13O6)

Location: Takoma Park, MD 20912 Montgomery County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 58.931', W 77° 1.243'

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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 Jequi?, 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 Jequi? 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, 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 Park.

HM NumberHM13O6
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 6:54pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324971 N 4316741
Decimal Degrees38.98218333, -77.02071667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 58.931', W 77° 1.243'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 58' 55.86" N, 77° 1' 14.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7329-7599 Takoma Ave, Takoma Park MD 20912, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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