Originally called Huntington, Bowie developed as a result of the railroad junction at this location and is now a thriving city.
In 1853, Col. Wm D, Bowie convinced the Maryland legislature to charter the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company. Oden Bowie served as President. Plans for the rail line, which was to serve Southern Maryland, were delayed until after the Civil War. After the war, the Baltimore & Potomac, in an alliance with the Pennsylvania RR, built a long-sought line to Southern Maryland, and a 20-mile spur into Washington, DC.
The junction of the two lines formed a core around which the early town of Bowie grew. Ben Plumb, a developer, purchased 300 acres at the junction and had it surveyed for town lots. Lots sold for $25 each, with plans for houses ranging from four to eight rooms. Shops, a hotel, churches, and homes sprang up. The small village was incorporated in 1874 and was known as Huntington City. The rail depot itself was always knows as the Bowie station.
The importance of the railroad station was clear. However, in 1880, the Legislature passed an act to change the name of the town to Bowie, a tribute to Governor Oden Bowie, whose influence assisted the formation of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad. In 1916, the town of Bowie was formally incorporated.In 1908, the Md. General Assembly established Maryland Normal & Industrial School. In 1910, the school moved to a farm called "Jericho" outside the Town of Bowie, opening in 1911. In 1938 the Normal School became the State Teacher's College of Bowie, later re-named Bowie State College. It is now, Bowie State University.
The Bowie Race Track, founded in 1914 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Association, saw continuous racing until it closed in 1985. The facility remains in use as a training center.In 1959, the Town of Bowie annexed the new William Levitt-developed community, "Belair at Bowie" and subsequently re-incorporated in 1963 as the present city of Bowie.