Lakeland Community Heritage Project

Preserving the history of African Americans in College Park, Maryland.


Rhode Island Avenue

The intersection of Rhode Island Avenue, Lakeland Road, and Navahoe Street was the hub of Lakeland.  Electric streetcars connected the community with the District of Columbia from 1895 until 1962.  Mack’s Market, Black’s Store, the Elks Home, Lakeland Hall, and Miss Waller’s Beauty parlor were located near the
streetcar stop.  Here is a recording of the streetcar journey from Washington.

J. Chesley Mack, sometimes referred to as the unofficial mayor of Lakeland, operated Mack’s Market on Rhode Island Avenue. It was a general store with an ice cream counter and billiard parlor on the main floor, and rental apartments on the second floor.
Mack’s Mark
Black’s Store, shown here circa 1969, was owned by Charles Black.  It had four apartments, a dry cleaners, and a beauty parlor, along with a store that sold groceries and snacks. With a lunch counter and juke box, the establishment became a popular place for teens to gather, eat, dance, and enjoy being together.
Blacks Store

Navahoe Street

Located in the eastern section of Lakeland, the Elks Home, seen here circa 1965, was owned and operated by the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, an organization created in 1899 in answer to the exclusion of African Americans in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. The group was a social and charitable fraternal organization. To raise funds, it hosted regular events that were open to those living in Lakeland and the surrounding communities
Elk’s Lodge
With the limited access African Americans had to public spaces until the 1960s, this building on western Navahoe Street was forced to serve a multitude of functions. It was designated “Lakeland’s Hall” because it served as an informal community center as well as a place for public meetings, dances, wedding receptions, and church services. On Saturday, it became a movie theater. The building is shown here circa 1965.
Lakeland Hall
Lakeland Tavern
Lakeland Tavern
Flooding on Navhoe St.
Flooding on Navhoe St.

The western section of Lakeland frequently flooded after a heavy rain, as shown in the photograph above. On June 23, 1972, tropical storm Agnes devastated Lakeland and much of the region. Flood waters covered the entire community, damaging many homes and destroying several others. Following the storm, efforts to obtain effective flood control and redevelopment were taken up with a new urgency.

Ruins of homes, such as those along a section of Lakeland Road, pictured below, blighted the community for more than five years.
Navhoe Street. Urban Renewal

In 1961, College Park officials recognized the need to improve and renovate some of Lakeland’s homes, many of which had been damaged by the frequent flooding.  To carry out the improvements, city officials adopted an urban renewal plan in 1970.  It mandated redevelopment of Lakeland’s eastern and western sections, about two-thirds of the community.  Residents of the affected areas vacated their homes in the mid-1970s. They were compensated for the value of their homes and promised an opportunity to return to new housing units when construction was completed. The project was expected to take a few years.  However, it took much longer because problems plagued the project

Lakeland Road

Boy Scout Pack 1025 was sponsored by the First Baptist Church of College Park. Embry A.M.E. Church was home to Cub Scout Pack 1025 for more than twenty years.
Boy Scouts and Harold Pitts at his home

2 thoughts on “West

  1. I went to Greenbelt Jr High School (1967-1970) and Parkdale High School (1970-1973) and had several friends from Lakeland I knew the entire six years. Reggie Walker, Derwin Clemons, Travis Jackson, and Iris Few. I lived in Berwyn Heights. Until they blocked the road on the east side of the railroad tracks, I used to drive along the railroad tracks going south, and cut through Lakeland on the way to the Town Hall bar and liquor store.

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