Bowie | MD
Bowie 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. 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. 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.
Bowie has an area of 16 square miles and about 50,000 residents with nearly 2,000 acres 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 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. Some Bowie residents also attend Eleanor Roosevelt High School in their STEM program. 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.