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Bowie, Maryland
City
City of Bowie
Old Town Bowie, as seen from the intersection of Maryland Route 564 and Chapel Avenue in January 2008
Old Town Bowie, as seen from the intersection of Maryland Route 564 and Chapel Avenue in January 2008
Official seal of Bowie, Maryland
Seal
Motto: "Growth, Unity and Progress"
Location of Bowie in Prince George's County and the State of Maryland
Location of Bowie in Prince George's County and the State of Maryland
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Flag of Prince George's County, Maryland.svg Prince George's
Incorporated 1916
Area
 • 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)
 • Total 54,727
 • Estimate (2014) 57,646
 • 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. 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 and third largest city by area in the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2014 CNN Money ranked Bowie 28th in its Best Places to Live in America list.

History

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, who was President of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad at the time, and previously Governor of Maryland. 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.

Belair at Bowie

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.

Belair Estate

The original Belair Estate contains the Belair Mansion (circa 1745), the 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.

21st century

Bowie has an area of 16 square miles (41 km2) and about 50,000 residents with 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 Allen Pond Park, the Bowie Town Center, the 800-seat Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, a 150-seat theatrical playhouse, a golf course, and three museums.

Bowie's rail town history is on display via the Huntington Railroad Museum, within the local rail station's restored railroad buildings. In 2006, the city reopened the Bowie Building Association building, a small brick and block structure constructed circa 1930, as a Welcome Center; it originally housed the Bowie Building Association, which helped finance much of the community's early development.

Bowie is home to the Bowie Baysox, a Class AA Eastern League professional baseball team affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles. As of 2015, the Baysox play their home games at Prince George's Stadium.

The city has recently added a senior citizens center and a gymnasium for community programs.

Geography

Bowie, Maryland map enlarged
Detailed census map of Bowie, MD and surrounding areas. The city is in orange.

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).

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.

Bordering areas

ZIP codes

ZIP codes for mail delivery in Bowie are: 20715, 20716, 20717, 20718, 20719, 20720, 20721

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bowie has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 677
1930 694 2.5%
1940 767 10.5%
1950 860 12.1%
1960 1,072 24.7%
1970 35,028 3,167.5%
1980 33,695 −3.8%
1990 37,589 11.6%
2000 50,269 33.7%
2010 54,727 8.9%
Est. 2015 58,025 6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
2014 Estimate

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. 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 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.

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:

Site Name Image Location M-NCPPC Inventory Number Comments
1 Belair Belair Mansion 1.jpg Tulip Grove and Belair Drives 71B-004 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1977-09-16
2 Belair Stables Belair Stables.jpg Belair Drive 71B-005 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1973-05-08
3 Bowie Railroad Buildings Bowie Rail Station.jpg 8614 Chestnut Ave. 71B-002-09 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1998-11-04
4 Boyden House 6501 Hillmeade Road 71A-034
5 Fair Running (Maenner House) 7704 Laurel-Bowie Road 71B-015
6 Fairview Plantation Fairiew 1936.jpg 4600 Fairview Vista Drive 71A-013
7 Don S. S. Goodloe House Goodloe House Dec 08.JPG 13809 Jericho Park Rd. 71A-030 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1988-10-13; African American Heritage site
8 Governor's Bridge Patuxent.River.jpg Governors Bridge Road at Patuxent River 74B-001 Historic American Engineering Record,

Maryland Historical Trust

9 Harmon-Phelps House 8706 Maple Avenue 71B-002-08
10 Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 2.jpg 13104 Annapolis Road 71A-009a
11 Holy Trinity Church Rectory 13106 Annapolis Road 71A-009b
12 Ingersoll House 9006 Laurel-Bowie Road 71A-003
13 Knights of St. John Hall 13004 12th Street 71B-002-23
14 Melford Melford Dec 08.JPG 17107 Melford Boulevard 71B-016 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1988-04-06; also listed at Mitchellville
15 Mitchellville Storekeeper's House and Store Site 2608 Mitchellville Road 71B-007
16 Ryon House 13125 11th Street 71B-002-03
17 Sacred Heart Catholic Church Sacred Heart 1.jpg 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.
18 Albert Smith House 9201 Laurel-Bowie Road 71A-002
19 St. James Episcopal Chapel 13010 8th Street 71B-002-05
20 Straining House 13005 7th Street 71B-002-01
21 Williams Plains Williams Plains South Dec 08.JPG MD 3, White Marsh Recreational Park 71B-003 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1980-11-28
22 Pleasant Prospect
Pleasant Prospect, 2015.jpeg
12806 Woodmore Rd.,Mitchellville, Maryland 74A-006 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, April 30, 1976

Parks

  • Allen Pond Park
  • Foxhill Park

Sister Cities

In June 2016, Mayor Robinson gave honorary Bowie citizenship to Mayor Luigi Lucchi of Berceto, Italy as part of an International Youth Festival being held there.

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