Bowie, Maryland is a city of 54,727 residents, according to the 2010 Census, located in Prince George’s County, and convenient to Washington, DC, Annapolis, and Baltimore. The city consists of approximately 18-square miles. There are more than 1,100 acres set aside as parks or as preserved open space, including over 22 miles of paths and trails, and 75 ball fields. Bowie has a nonpartisan city government directed by a mayor and six council members. The City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of most months in sessions that are open to the public.
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.