Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bowie Levitt Neighborhood Names

Neighborhood Names Significant at Belair is an article published by The Washington Post in 1965 that reveals the origins of the neighborhood names in the early Belair at Bowie development. Former Vice President of Levitt and Sons of Maryland, Inc. James P. Lee was interviewed for the story. The following descriptions were taken directly from the article.
  • Foxhill: "The Foxhill neighborhood once echoed with the baying of foxhounds and the horn of the hunt master as Governor Ogle's private pack of hounds searched for the elusive fox."
  • Chapel Forge: "Chapel Forge is so named because it is near the site of the original estate's forge, or blacksmith shop, and also near the site of a Catholic chapel that once attracted many pilgrims to the area."
  • Buckingham and Kenilworth: "Buckingham and Kenilworth bear the same names as a well known English palace and castle - one the home of today's English royal family and the other made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Kenilworth."
  • Tulip Grove: "Tulip Grove is named for an impressive stand of 78 tulip poplar trees, over 200 years old and 150 feet high. They were nursed back to good health by Levitt landscape men. For protection, each tree is fitted with its own lightning rod."
  • Meadowbrook: "Meadow Brook received its pastoral name because of the fact it once was a meadow crossed by a brook."
  • Long Ridge: "Long Ridge is named because it was built on a ridge, a distinctive feature in the rolling Maryland terrain."
The Somerset neighborhood was not mentioned in the article, and neighborhoods like Whitehall and Rockledge had not been developed by the time the article was written.

"Neighborhood Names Significant at Belair," The Washington Post, September 11, 1965


  1. Are the tulip grove trees still there?

  2. Abbot,
    Blospot seems to be acting funny today. I can see your comment in my e-mail, but not on this page.

    To answer your question, I talked to Pam Williams with the City of Bowie museums, and here is what she said:

    We have, if I recall correctly, two still on the mansion grounds. The past couple of years – hurricanes, storms and disease…not to mention age – have taken a toll. However, as I look out my window, across the street, I am comforted to see that those "over-sized lots with the kids playing beneath the tulip trees" still have a fairly good stand of them. We watch the two retrievers owned by a really nice couple who walk them up here occasionally romping back there. Those trees are on private property – there is no easement or city maintenance of them.

    We had to take down the one closest to Tulip Grove Drive about 4-5 years ago. It was so rotten inside, hollow WAY up into it, city was concerned that it would fall over on somebody – probably was miraculous that it did not. Hurricane took down the one that was closest to the south back side of the house.

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