Numerous American towns and cities owe their beginnings to railroads. Fifteen miles outside Washington, D. C. and almost 30 from Baltimore sat the perfect spot, anchored by several tobacco plantations, for the Baltimore Potomac Railroad Company's line to Southern Maryland with a short line to Washington, D. C. How do you suppose the plantation lawns stay looking as pretty today as they did 140 years ago?
Colonel William Duckett Bowie had the charter from the Maryland legislature, and by 1873 the line was finished. In 1870, a developer reserved 500 lots around the railroad line for homes and called the settlement Huntington City. Ten years later, it was renamed Bowie for railroad owner Colonel Bowie and his son, former Maryland governor Oden Bowie.
There were miles and miles of nothing but green grounds with tobacco fields and horses. Those green grounds were tended carefully and lovingly, almost as well as Lawn Love would have done. This broad green area grew from a railroad community into the largest city in Prince George's County and the third largest city in Maryland.
Fairview was built in 1800 by Colonel Bowie's father-in-law. When he died, he left it to Colonel Bowie. Add to that bequests by his grandfather (Baruch Duckett willed him the Quarter Plantation near Collington,) his father, uncle, brothers, and sisters, and you have a suddenly rich Colonel Bowie. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates as well as the Maryland Senate, serving two terms in both.
Fairview was one of the largest plantations in the area. Pictures at various times in the 20th and 21st centuries show an architecturally balanced brick house with stunning lawns dappled by the sun shining through magnificent trees. The trees might have been there when the house was built.
After building the railroad and his term as governor was complete, Colonel Bowie's son Oden turned to horses. The nearby Belair plantation and thoroughbred horse concern gave Oden ideas. Oden served for almost 20 years as president of the Pimlico and Maryland Jockey Clubs. In 1880, his horse Crickmore was named American Champion Two Year Old Colt.
One of the ideas was a horse race for the two-year-old horses of his friends, a bet made while they were at a dinner party. If his friends agreed to let the race be run in Baltimore, then he would build a race track in Maryland. The Dixie Stakes and Pimlico Race Course came from that bet.
Like his father before him, Oden Bowie left his name behind. The town of Odenton, about 14 miles from Bowie going North on Maryland Route 3, was named for the former governor. His one thousand acre plantation, given to him when his father remarried and moved, has had a substantial allotment of homes built on it; the community is called Fairwood. Both Oden and his father are buried in Fairview's family cemetery. Bowie family descendants have lived in the house up to the year 2015.
The planned part of Bowie sits mostly atop Fairview property. Collington, which in early days contained several plantations, has been absorbed by Bowie. Bowie State University has been open since 1865 and was once a plantation itself. The house is still on the university property.
The plantation houses of early days are still there, some being used as museums and some as parks. Melford, for instance, was built by a Duckett relative and is now part of the Maryland Science and Technology Center campus.
When we take a tour of a plantation today, we walk on paths or sidewalks especially constructed to keep us off the grass. The grass is emerald green and cut to precise measures. It has been scientifically analyzed so that its grass seed, aeration, fertilizer, and water produces the perfect carpet of grass.
When you drive through Bowie, you'll see that the churches, schools and universities, and private homes have lawns that have been professionally done. Your lawn can look like that. We use the latest science and technology to make sure your lawn is healthy. We take care of trees, shrubs, and flowers as well, using the same methods to ensure they look and are healthy.
We know you're busy. We know you don't have time. We're here whenever you need us, so just tell us what you need, and we'll take care of it for you.