From Agricultural Community to Modern City: the Story of Bowie, MD

03/08/2021

No matter where you go, there's one truth that remains constant in just about every city. What is this truth, you ask? Every city has a story. From Los Angeles to New York, from Austin to Juneau, every locale you visit is bound to have a rich and storied past. Case in point: the beautiful and historic city of Bowie MD!


Today, this city is home to most of the things you'd expect from a mid-sized, upper class town in eastern Maryland, but there's more here than just those surface level elements; this town has a rich and fascinating history! From its humble beginnings as a hub of agricultural commerce to its current status as a distinguished center for wealthy professionals, there's a tumultuous but spellbinding story to be explored; let's explore it!

Humble Beginnings

Despite its refined modern appearance, Bowie started its journey to township as a humble commercial hub for the surrounding local agricultural community. Initially, the area that would one day become Bowie was dotted with small farms and plantations which relied heavily on land and water trading routes to transport their goods to market.


This all changed when Colonel William Ducket Bowie received permission from the Maryland General Assembly to construct a railway connecting the city of Baltimore to that of Pope's creek in southern Maryland. Incentivized by the construction of the railway, an ambitious investor named Ben Plumb sold plots of land around a crucial junction in this railway, dubbing the newly formed town Huntington City.


This new town would soon be renamed to Bowie, after the businessman responsible for the railway that led to its construction, and plots of residential land were quickly sold to eager homesteaders looking to capitalize on the explosion of trade in the area. Before long, the city would be a relatively small but thriving center of commerce.


The young town of Bowie continued to grow when its rail connection was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad, a tremendously powerful railroad company. This fueled the construction of further interurban railways that served to connect Bowie with its adjacent municipalities and bolster local industry and commerce even further.

The Struggle for Equality


While the town continued to grow, systemic issues surrounding the treatment of minorities, (particularly African Americans) soon became apparent in the new township. Bowie was and still is home to a large and thriving African American community, a community whose industrious agricultural enterprises were the source of much of the revenue of the young town.


Although steps were being taken towards inclusion and equality for the African American community, several of Bowie's most successful and affluent companies and residents stood staunchly in opposition to this progress. Among these reprehensible businesses and individuals, none were as openly hostile towards civil equality than the Levitt and Sons firm, particularly regarding their handling of the Belair Estate.


William Levitt was a prominent real estate developer, often credited with the title of being the father of modern suburbia. Despite his accolades from the press, it is a well documented fact that Levitt consistently and unapologetically put in place racially discriminatory policies within his housing developments.


Emblematic of this issue was his firm's handling of the Belair Estate, a tract of land on the outskirts of Bowie upon which Levitt constructed a large planned community. Homes in this community were exclusively sold to whites, with African Americans, Hispanic Americans and other minorities being unilaterally forbidden to purchase homes in the community.


This difficult situation came to a head during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, after Levitt and Sons representatives adamantly refused to sell homes to several African American homebuyers, solely on the basis of their race. Despite months of dedicated protests, sit-ins and picket lines, the Levitt and Sons company only retracted their position when the Civil Rights Act legally forced them to.

Bowie Today


Despite its tumultuous and often painful past, the city of Bowie has managed to rise above its regrettable history and come together to form a diverse, affluent and thriving community of happy residents. Today, the city of Bowie is the wealthiest majority African American community in the United States!


Furthermore, in an ironic but immensely satisfying twist of fate, most of Bowie's African American residents live in the homes that they were denied access to decades ago. While it might not seem like such a big deal, this fact is a quiet but ever so powerful demonstration of the fact that love and acceptance will always eventually prevail over hate and bitterness.


Today, the city of Bowie is a center for industry, a residential hub for successful professionals and a shining beacon of how far we've come as a country in just a few decades. The median household income is nearly twice the national average, the real estate market is thriving, and its residents enjoy an exceptionally high standard of living.

Buying a home in Bowie


If you want to learn more about the troubled but fascinating past of the city of Bowie, why not move there? This city has a ton of things to offer besides its history, and you won't find many towns that are anywhere near as nice to live in as Bowie is. With tons of things to do, easy access to nearby Washington DC and many more attractive qualities, we'd be forgiven for calling it the perfect city!


For anyone who is interested in this proposition, your best way to go about buying a home in this city is to get in touch with the local real estate agents in Bowie MD. These skilled, knowledgeable professionals are your best bet at getting a home that suits your needs and your budget, in as little time as possible. With their help, you'll be one of Bowie's newest residents in no time!


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