Friday, April 19, 2013

Collington Station Burglary Alert

The City of Bowie issued the following burglary alert for the Collington Station neighborhood in Bowie.

John K. Nesky
Chief of Police

April 2013

The Bowie Police Department recently had three burglaries reported in your community. We have put together some safety tips to help you protect your home against break ins.

  • During the day, leave drapes and shades in a normal position - the way you have them when at home. Don’t leave easily movable valuables in sight close to windows.
  • At night, leave on some inside lights - bathrooms and hallways, for example.
  • Consider buying automatic timers that turn lamps on after dark, then off a few hours later or at dawn.
  • Never leave garage doors open - especially with no car in sight. This is a WELCOME sign to burglars.
  • Install deadbolt locks. Make sure locks are firmly screwed in solid wood - not just into a light door jamb. The longer the screws and the longer the lock bolt, the safer your home will be.
  • Burglars often try to find out if anyone is home by phoning. Warn family members, especially children, not to give out information over the phone.
  • Avoid putting your name on mailboxes or on doors.
  • Don’t open your door to anyone you don’t know and trust.
  • Never keep large sums of cash around the house. Keep valuable jewelry that you don’t often wear in a safe deposit box.
  • Don’t advertise your vacation plans. Let a trusted neighbor know you’re going on vacation and ask them to keep an eye on your house and pick up any mail or newspapers left at your doorstep.
  • If you’ll be away from your home for an extended time, tell the Bowie Police Department 301-575-2480.
  • Be a good neighbor. Keep an eye on your neighbors’ homes and ask them to do the same for you.
  • The Bowie Police Department offers free home security surveys. Please contact Sgt. Henderson at to set up an appointment.


Sgt. Bennie Henderson
Community Service Supervisor

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

James T. Woodward, Belair Mansion Owner, Dies after a Short Illness

April 10, 1910 (103 years ago today): James T. Woodward, owner of the Belair Mansion, died after a short illness.  He left the majority of his estate, including the Belair property, to his nephew, William Woodward.

Much of Belair had been sold in pieces during the nineteenth century, and the property had been largely neglected in the years leading up to 1898 when James Woodward purchased the estate.

Despite only owning Belair for twelve years, James Woodward is responsible for transforming the mansion and property, and creating the iconic images of Belair that we have today.  It was during this time that the east and west wings were added onto the Belair Mansion.  Four dormers, two in the front and two in the back, were cut into the roof line.  New stairs and a porch (pictured here) were added to the north side of the mansion.  Woodward also had the sandstone stable building constructed (the present day Belair Stable Museum).  It is believed that the bridge over Foxhill Lake was built at this time as well, although the pond was not known as Foxhill Lake until some time after Levitt & Sons purchased the property.

The size of the Belair estate changed frequently over the years.  The mansion sat on nearly 400 acres at the time James Woodward purchased Belair, and he added approximately 1,000 more acres before his death by buying adjacent properties.  Belair would grow to be 2,300 acres by the time it was sold to Levitt in 1957.

James Woodward's Belair estate was valued at $63,568.54, and the $3,200 inheritance tax paid by his nephew was the largest inheritance tax levied in the history of Prince George's County at the time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

City of Bowie Press Release on Change in Fireworks Venue

For more information:
Matt Corley, Special Events Coordinator
301-809-3078 or email

April 8, 2013

Bowie’s Fourth of July Celebration will be at Prince George’s Stadium this Year.
The Fabulous Hubcaps will Provide the Entertainment.

The City of Bowie is teaming up with the Bowie Baysox to establish a new Fourth of July tradition in Bowie. Rather than fireworks at Allen Pond Park, this year’s celebration will take place at Prince George’s Stadium on Thursday, July 4th.

The Fabulous Hubcaps Band will kick off the event with a show beginning at 7 p.m. and fireworks will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The Fabulous Hubcaps are a popular oldies band, with a large local following. They have performed throughout the US and are known for their fun and entertaining performances. The celebration will be free and tickets will not be required.

“We’re excited about this change and think it will be a great experience for all who attend. In many ways we had outgrown Allen Pond as a venue,” said City of Bowie Special Events Coordinator Matt Corley. The stadium provides more comfort for attendees with seating, more restrooms, and a variety of concessions. Being at the stadium also makes it an easier event to manage. The stadium was built for large crowds and has ample parking and good lighting. “Last year we had some safety concerns with people setting off their own fireworks in the crowd. The setup at the ballpark allows us to better control access, and hopefully eliminate those types of concerns; while at the same time, we expect to spend less money on staffing. I think it’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone,” said Mayor G. Frederick Robinson. “We are very grateful to the Baysox organization for working with us to organize this event.”

This Fourth of July celebration is organized by the City of Bowie and the Bowie Baysox. The Baysox organization will provide ushers, parking assistance, concessions, and other event support. There is no baseball game at the stadium on this date. Parking and admission to the event are free. The main gate to the stadium will open at 6 p.m.


Monday, April 8, 2013

No More Fourth of July Fireworks at Allen Pond

Fourth of July Revelers Dance at Allen Pond Park, July 4, 2011
Bowie Living has learned that the days of watching 4th of July fireworks at Allen Pond are over. Future City of Bowie Fourth of July celebrations will take place at Prince George's Stadium - home of the Bowie Baysox.

According to Bowie Mayor G. Fred Robinson, the crowds have grown larger than can be reasonably accommodated at Allen Pond Park, and traffic continues to be a problem despite trying multiple traffic plans.  The Mayor also indicated that an increased use of unauthorized fireworks at Allen Pond created public safety concerns.

Prince George's Stadium was designed to hold 10,000 people, although approximately 14,000 baseball fans attended the Double-A All Star Game at the stadium in 2000.  Two parking lots can hold more than 2,500 cars, and it's believed that the close proximity to Routes 301 and 50 will create better traffic flow than past Fourth of July celebrations in Bowie.  The stadium provides controlled entrance points which should help keep unauthorized fireworks out.  The stadium will provide Fourth of July revelers with seating, restroom facilities and concessions.  An entertainment stage will be set-up - most likely along the third base line.

The festivities will take place as usual on July 4th.  The Bowie Baysox will be playing a game in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that night, and Mayor Robinson said that the Baysox have expressed a willingness to make the stadium available to the City of Bowie for future Fourth of July celebrations.  The Baysox will have a fireworks show on Wednesday, July 3rd at the stadium after a game with the Akron Aeros.

Prince George's Stadium is the fourth City of Bowie fireworks venue.  City fireworks displays were originally held at the Bowie Race Track before the annual event was moved to Allen Pond Park.  At Allen Pond, the fireworks were originally set off across the pond from the amphitheater, but housing construction forced the city to move the fireworks display to the athletic fields at the park.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pac Man Graffiti Artist Takes on City Hall

After an eight month hiatus, the Pac Man graffiti artist struck again - this time taking on City Hall - literally.  City workers found a freshly painted Pac Man on the front of the two-year-old Bowie City Hall building early Saturday morning.

"I don't know how something like this can happen here," said one city official who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.  "Bowie Police squad cars are constantly driving by this spot day and night.  The person that did this must have a lot of nerve or is just plain stupid.  Well, we've got a holding cell on the other side of this wall waiting for him or her."

The Pac Man caused a steady flow of onlookers on what would normally have been a quiet weekend morning at City Hall.

"I love it," said 19-year-old Summer Sett, a student at Prince George's Community College.  "It made me smile, and it brought all these people together.  How can that be wrong?"

The "Pac Chart," July, 2012
"Bad parenting is to blame," offered 86-year-old Bowie resident, Ken. L. Worthe.  If I had ever done something like this, I would have gotten the ol' hickory switch.  Parents are too afraid to discipline their kids these days.  That's why stuff like this happens."

Over the last two years, Pac Man graffiti has been showing up throughout Bowie on street signs, park benches, roadways and even U.S. Postal Service mail collection boxes.  The public has been divided over whether the images should be considered art or vandalism.  The Pac Man graffiti artist tried to illustrate that division by creating the "Pac Chart" last July on a noise reduction wall along Annapolis Road in Bowie.  Ironically, the chart showed that the majority of people enjoyed "street art," but the image represented a turning point in public support on social media sites for the Pac Man graffiti.

"I originally thought it was all in good fun," said Rocky Ledge, a Bowie resident since 1966.  "I would see a few extra dots on a street sign here, and a harmless painting on the road over there.  I felt the Pac Chart was different.  I felt like a line had been crossed, and I started to think about our tax dollars being used to clean this stuff up."

Multiple Pac Man images appeared in Bowie during the summer of 2012, but it stopped with the Pac Chart - until last Saturday.

Victoria Hites, a sophomore at Bowie High school, enjoys the mystery that surrounds the Pac Man images.  "People have been talking about it all year at school," she said.  "I've heard a lot of stories.  Some people were saying that it's the work of the GoatMan.  Other people claimed that a priest was doing it.  The most widely accepted story is that an 18-year-old home-schooled boy was the main person, and his friends would serve as lookouts while he did his work.  He supposedly went away to college, and that's why it stopped.  Maybe he came home for Easter," she said with a smile.