What do University Park, Hyattsville and College Park have in common? All three played a part in the life of Jim Henson, world-renowned puppeteer and creator of “The Muppets.”
James Maury “Jim” Henson was born in Leland, Miss., in 1936. His father, Paul, an agronomist with the Department of Agriculture, was transferred from Mississippi to the Washington, D.C., area in the late 1940s and Henson and his family relocated to University Park when he was in the fifth grade.
Commenter John Essex pointed us to the exact addresses of the homes where Henson and his family lived: 4012 Tennyson Rd. and 4002 Beechwood Dr., both in University Park. We spoke with Karen Falk, the curator for the Jim Henson Company, and she confirmed those are correct.
Still, while Henson lived in University Park with his family, he went to Northwestern High School in Hyattsville and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he created “Sam and Friends.”
So no matter how you slice it, University Park, Hyattsville and College Park can all lay claim to Henson in some way, though the curated archives of the Jim Henson Red Book project and quite a few other resources online about Henson generally refer to him as living in Hyattsville.
In honor of this extraordinary American icon, the Hyattsville Wire created a section of the site devoted to exploring Henson’s life while he lived in the area.