Hyattsville is a beautiful village . . . Its surroundings are all of the most delightful character, and as a business or residential location it cannot be surpassed, nesting as it does on and around a beautiful chain of Maryland hills. -The Suburban Citizen, 1892
In 1845, merchant Christopher Clarke Hyatt purchased a parcel of land near the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, Washington and Baltimore Turnpike, and shipping ports on the Anacostia River. The surrounding farmland was subdivided into housing lots, and by 1859 the area was known as Hyattsville by the U.S. Post Office and cartographers. The Act of Incorporation of the City of Hyattsville was signed in 1886.
As Andra Damron recounts in Images of America: Hyattsville, the end of the Civil War and slavery forced the sale of tobacco plantations at low prices just as the federal government expanded and Washington, D.C., housing prices rose. Hyattsville’s hilly location by the turnpike made it ideal for homebuyers seeking relief from Washington’s heat. By 1899, an electric streetcar line to Washington had opened. In 1982, the efforts of preservation-minded citizens paid off: about 600 buildings were listed as a district on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, the district was extended to include approximately 1,000 structures.
The City of Hyattsville covers just under three square miles. Today, Hyattsville truly is, as its new motto says, “A World Within Walking Distance”. Residents benefit from the increasing numbers of local businesses, including a yarn store, bike shop, salons, movie theaters, and restaurants. Hyattsville continues to benefit from its proximity to our nation’s capital and the easy access to Washington via two Metro stations and nearby MARC train. With its varied housing stock; its own police force; its newspaper, the Hyattsville Life and Times; its designation as a state-designated Arts and Entertainment District; and its diverse and caring inhabitants, Hyattsville—as its old motto said—is “A Good Place To Live”.