Monday, October 8, 2012

Model Homes Open at Levitt's Belair at Bowie Development

October 8, 1960 (52 years ago today): The model homes for Levitt & Sons' Belair at Bowie housing development opened to the public off U.S. Route 50 on Sussex Lane in Bowie.  People waiting to see the homes caused a 1 1/2 mile traffic jam.

Levitt & Sons' President, William Levitt, declared it to be the biggest opening since he joined the firm 30 years earlier.  Customers ordered 243 houses in the first five days the model homes were open - a total of more then $4 million in sales.

Customers bought the houses sight unseen.  It would be another year before the first houses would be move-in ready.

Customers had a choice of six house designs ranging in price from $14,999 to $27,500.


Levitt's Biggest Opening
The Washington Post, October 15, 1960

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sniper Shoots Student at Benjamin Tasker Middle School

October 7, 2002 (10 years ago today): Thirteen-year-old Iran Brown was shot by the "Beltway Snipers" after his aunt dropped him off at the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie.  Brown's aunt, a nurse, drove him to the Bowie Health Center, and he was later transported by helicopter to the Children's National Hospital in D.C. Despite having serious injuries, Brown survived the shooting.

A shell casing and a Tarot card (the Death Card) were discovered at the scene.  "Call me God" was hand written on the front of the card, and the back of the card contained the following note:  "For you mr. Police.  Code: 'Call me God'.  Do not release to the press."

After news of the shooting broke, parents rushed to the school to pick up their children.  Benjamin Tasker Middle School closed for the day, but other Prince George's County Schools remained open.

President George W. Bush called the shooting "cowardly and senseless."

The shooting brought Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose to tears.  "Today it went down to the children," he said to reporters.  "Someone is so mean-spirited that they shot a child.  Now we're stepping over the line. Shooting a kid. I guess it's getting to be really, really personal now."

At the scene of a shooting in Montgomery County later that month, the snipers left a note that said, "your children are not safe, anywhere, at any time."

In the days that followed the shooting, brush was cleared in the wooded area between the school and Foxhill Park - the area where the shooter was believed to be hiding during the attack.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Horse Racing Begins at Prince George's Park in Bowie

Bowie Race Track, 1973 (Photo by Arnie Miles)
October 1, 1914 (98 years ago today): Cardigan beat Ischgabibble by a head to win the first horse race ever held at the newly built Prince George's Park in Bowie.  A late train carrying horses from Havre de Grace caused several horses to be scratched from races.  All bets were canceled for the second event of the day after a judge started the race before all horses reached the starting gate.  Horse races were held a total of ten days that October.

The last day of horse racing at the Bowie track was held on July 13th, 1985.

Remember This One?
Washington Post, June 8, 1963

On Inaugural Day of Its Meet
Washington Post, October 2, 1914


Creative Commons License
Photos of Bowie Maryland 1973 through 1975 by Arnie Miles is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States