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South Bowie, Maryland

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South Bowie, Maryland

Bowie, Maryland
City of Bowie

Old Town Bowie, as seen from the intersection of Maryland Route 564 and Chapel Avenue in January 2008
Official seal of Bowie, Maryland
Motto: "Growth, Unity and Progress"

Location of Bowie in the State of Maryland

Coordinates: 38°57′53″N 76°44′40″W / 38.96472°N 76.74444°W / 38.96472; -76.74444Coordinates: 38°57′53″N 76°44′40″W / 38.96472°N 76.74444°W / 38.96472; -76.74444

Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Prince George's
Incorporated 1916
 • Mayor G. Frederick Robinson
 • Total 18.51 sq mi (47.94 km2)
 • Land 18.43 sq mi (47.73 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)
Elevation 154 ft (47 m)
Population (2010 U.S. Census)[2]
 • Total 54,727
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 56,129
 • Density 2,969.5/sq mi (1,146.5/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 20715-20721
Area code(s) 301
FIPS code 24-08775
GNIS feature ID 0597104

Bowie /ˈbi/ is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland.[4] The population was 54,727 at the 2010 U.S. Census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city[5] and third largest city by area in the U.S. state of Maryland.


19th century

The city of Bowie owes its existence to the railway. In 1853, Colonel William Duckett Bowie obtained a charter from the Maryland legislature to construct a rail line into Southern Maryland. In 1869, the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company began the construction of a railroad from Baltimore to Southern Maryland, terminating in Pope's Creek. The area had already been dotted with small farms and large tobacco plantations in an economy based on agriculture and slavery. In 1870, Ben Plumb, a land speculator and developer, sold building lots around the railroad junction and named the settlement Huntington City. By 1872, the line was completed, together with a "spur" to Washington, D.C. and the entire line through Southern Maryland was completed in 1873.

Huntington City was renamed in honor of the son of William Duckett Bowie and his business partner, Oden Bowie,[6][7][8][9] who was President of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad at the time,[10] and previously Governor of Maryland.[11] The town was subsequently rechartered as Bowie in 1880. In the early days the land was subdivided by developers into more than 500 residential building lots, to create a large town site at a junction of the Baltimore and Potomac's main line to southern Maryland, and the branch line to Washington, D.C.

20th century

By 1902, the Baltimore & Potomac was purchased by the powerful Pennsylvania Railroad. A second railroad entered the community when the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway electric trolley line commenced service in 1908. The large interurban cars brought rapid transit to the area, with trains running hourly. Bowie area stations included High Bridge, Hillmeade, and the Race Track.

The convergence of the two rail systems induced the Southern Maryland Agricultural Society to build the Bowie Race Track in 1914. The track enabled the Belair Stud to become one of Maryland's premier areas for thoroughbreds. Also in 1914, a teacher-training college, or normal school as it was referred to then, was built for African-Americans, just outside the town. This now has become Bowie State University. The town of Bowie was incorporated in 1916.

In 1957, the firm of Levitt and Sons acquired the nearby Belair Estate, the original colonial plantation of the Provincial Governor of Maryland, Samuel Ogle, and developed the residential community of Belair at Bowie. Two years later the town of Bowie annexed the Levitt properties, and then re-incorporated the now-larger area as a city in 1963. The overwhelming majority of Bowie residents today live in this 1960s Levitt planned community, whose street names are arranged in alphabetical sections. Levitt & Sons had a long history of prohibiting the sale of houses (including resale by owners) to African Americans which led to civil rights protests in Bowie in 1963.[12]

Bowie enjoys a rich and diverse historic and cultural heritage. The original Belair Estate contains the Belair Mansion (circa 1745), the beautiful five-part Georgian plantation house of Governor Samuel Ogle and his son Governor Benjamin Ogle. It was purchased in 1898 by the wealthy banker James T. Woodward who, on his passing in 1910, left it to his nephew, William Woodward, Sr., who became a famous horseman. Restored to reflect its 250-year-old legacy, the Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Belair Stable, on the Estate, was part of the famous Belair Stud, one of the premier racing stables in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Owned and operated by William Woodward, Sr. (1876–1953), it closed in 1957 following the death of his son, Billy Woodward. Belair had been the oldest continually operating thoroughbred horse farm in the country. It is said that the blood of Belair horses flows through the veins of every American race horse of distinction.

21st century

Honoring the tradition of a rail town, the City of Bowie has preserved this piece of its history in the Huntington Railroad Museum, which includes historic materials displayed in the station's restored railroad buildings. In 2006, the City reopened the Bowie Building Association building as a Welcome Center. This building is a small brick and block structure constructed circa 1930. It originally housed the Bowie Building Association, which helped finance much of the development in the early days of the community.

Bowie has grown from a small agricultural and railroad town to one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Maryland. It is a city of 16 square miles (41 km2) and approximately 50,000 residents. It has nearly 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) set aside as parks or open space. It has 72 ball fields, three community centers, an ice arena at Prince George's Stadium. The city has recently added a state-of-the-art senior citizens center and a gymnasium for community programs. The city is a family-oriented community whose motto is "Growth, unity and progress".

Despite its low crime rate, Bowie has seen high profile criminal activity. Michael Bray was co-pastor at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Bowie when he conspired to bomb 10 clinics and offices of abortion supporters in three states and the District of Columbia from January 1984 through January 1985. He eventually served almost 4 years in prison for these crimes.[13]

Beltway sniper attacks

On October 7, 2002, a 13-year old boy, Iran Brown, was critically wounded by a sniper soon after he was dropped off at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie. This shooting was one in a series of murders and attempted murders referred to collectively as the Beltway sniper attacks.[14]

Historic sites

The following is a list of historic sites in the city of Bowie and vicinity identified by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission:[15]

style="background-color:"| width = 25% style="background-color:"| Site Name width = 8% class="unsortable" style="background-color:"| Image style="background-color:"|Location class="unsortable" style="background-color:"| M-NCPPC Inventory Number class="unsortable" style="background-color:"| Comments
style="background-color:" | 1 Belair Tulip Grove and Belair Drives 71B-004 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1977-09-16
style="background-color:" | 2 Belair Stables Belair Drive 71B-005 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1973-05-08
style="background-color:" | 3 Bowie Railroad Buildings 8614 Chestnut Ave. 71B-002-09 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1998-11-04
style="background-color:" | 4 Boyden House 6501 Hillmeade Road 71A-034
style="background-color:" | 5 Fair Running (Maenner House) 7704 Laurel-Bowie Road 71B-015
style="background-color:" | 6 Fairview Plantation 4600 Fairview Vista Drive 71A-013
style="background-color:" | 7 Don S. S. Goodloe House 13809 Jericho Park Rd. 71A-030 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1988-10-13; African American Heritage site
style="background-color:" | 8 Governor's Bridge Governors Bridge Road at Patuxent River 74B-001 Historic American Engineering Record,[16]

Maryland Historical Trust[17]

style="background-color:" | 9 Harmon-Phelps House 8706 Maple Avenue 71B-002-08
style="background-color:" | 10 Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 100px 13104 Annapolis Road 71A-009a
style="background-color:" | 11 Holy Trinity Church Rectory 13106 Annapolis Road 71A-009b
style="background-color:" | 12 Ingersoll House 9006 Laurel-Bowie Road 71A-003
style="background-color:" | 13 Knights of St. John Hall 13004 12th Street 71B-002-23
style="background-color:" | 14 Melford 17107 Melford Boulevard 71B-016 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1988-04-06; also listed at Mitchellville
style="background-color:" | 15 Mitchellville Storekeeper's House and Store Site 2608 Mitchellville Road 71B-007
style="background-color:" | 16 Ryon House 13125 11th Street 71B-002-03
style="background-color:" | 17 Sacred Heart Catholic Church 100px 16101 Annapolis Road 71A-019 Site where the Catholic Church in America was first organized, and the first US Catholic Bishop, John Carroll was petitioned, then named by the Vatican.
style="background-color:" | 18 Albert Smith House 9201 Laurel-Bowie Road 71A-002
style="background-color:" | 19 St. James Episcopal Chapel 13010 8th Street 71B-002-05
style="background-color:" | 20 Straining House 13005 7th Street 71B-002-01
style="background-color:" | 21 Williams Plains MD 3, White Marsh Recreational Park 71B-003 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1980-11-28


Bowie is located at 38°57′53″N 76°44′40″W / 38.96472°N 76.74444°W / 38.96472; -76.74444 (38.964727, -76.744531).[18]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.51 square miles (47.94 km2), of which, 18.43 square miles (47.73 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water.[1]

Bordering areas

Zip codes

20715, 20716, 20717, 20718, 20719, 20720, 20721


According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $99,105, and the median income for a family was $109,157.[19] Males had a median income of $52,284 versus $40,471 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,703. About 0.7% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.0% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

  • Rank by Per Capita Income in Prince George's County: 7
  • Rank by Per Capita Income in Maryland: 65

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 54,727 people, 19,950 households, and 14,264 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,969.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,146.5 /km2). There were 20,687 housing units at an average density of 1,122.5 per square mile (433.4 /km2). The ethnic makeup of the city was 41.4% White, 48.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.

There were 19,950 households of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.2% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.5% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.23.

The median age in the city was 40.1 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.2% were from 25 to 44; 30.1% were from 45 to 64; and 11.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.9% male and 53.1% female.


The City of Bowie operates under a council-manager government as established by the city charter. This means that the mayor and council are responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, voting appropriations, and having overall supervisory authority in the city government.

City council

The council appoints a professional city manager responsible for supervising government operations and implementing the policies adopted by the council. As of the November 2011 election, the members of the council are:

  • Mayor: G. Frederick Robinson
  • Diane Polangin – Mayor Pro Tem & Councilmember, District 2
  • City Council:
    • James Marcos – Councilmember, District 1
    • Henri Gardner – Councilmember, District 3
    • Isaac Trouth – Councilmember, District 4
    • Dennis Brady – At-Large Councilmember
    • Todd Turner – At-Large Councilmember
  • City Manager: David J. Deutsch
  • Assistant City Manager: John L. Fitzwater

Law enforcement

The primary law enforcement agency for the city is the Bowie Police Department. The Bowie Police Department is also aided by the Prince George's County Police and the Sheriff's Office as directed by authority.


Largest employers

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Prince George's County Public Schools 1,063
2 Inovalon 625
3 City of Bowie 418
4 Wal-Mart 370
5 Target 300


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Bowie is within the Prince George's County Public Schools system.

Area residents are zoned to Benjamin Tasker Middle School or Samuel Ogle Middle School, and Bowie High School.

Elementary schools in Bowie include Heather Hills, High Bridge, Kenilworth, Northview, Pointer Ridge, Rockledge, Tulip Grove, Whitehall, and Yorktown Elementary Schools. Two special education centers are Chapel Forge and C. Elizabeth Reig. A voc/tech school is located at Tall Oaks High School.

Private schools

Bowie is home to several private schools:

  • Ascension Day Care and Kindergarten
  • Belair Baptist Christian Academy
  • Bowie Montessori Children's House
  • Christian Community Presbyterian Church Nursery School
  • Cornerstone Christian Academy
  • Cresthill Christian Academy
  • Grace Christian School (Grades K–8)
  • Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School
  • Patuxent Montessori School
  • Redeemer Child Care Center
  • St. Matthew's Early Education Center
  • St. Pius X Regional School (Grades K–8)
  • The Sunflower Academy

Colleges and universities

Bowie State University, located north of Bowie, has been open since 1865.

Notable people

  • JC Chasez, singer and former member of 'N Sync
  • Eva Cassidy, singer and songwriter[21]
  • David Benson II, country musician and instrumentalist[22]


Team Sport League Championships Venue
Bowie Baysox Baseball Eastern League; South Division 0 Prince George's Stadium

See also


External links

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