History TimelineDev Admin2018-05-28T15:51:17-04:00
Bladensburg History Timeline
From the 1700’s to 2017 – – A past to remember. A future to embrace.
Take the Bladensburg Timeline Journey
Beall Town had been established in the 1720s and was officially recognized as a town by the Prince George’s County Court in 1732. However, its viability as a port was extremely short lived.
In 1738, just four years before petitioning for a new town, the residents of Beall Town complained that “freshets” [floodwaters] had “brought down trees and trash which…choak’d up the channel in the said branch so that boats and other craft cannot be brought up to lod or relod goods at the usual landing place.”
Sir Thomas Bladen
The Town of Bladensburg was renamed after Sir Thomas Bladen who in 1742, began his term as provincial Governor of Maryland. He was the first governor to be born in the Province. He served until 1747.
In 1742, the Bladensburg became the first governmental entity to pass a fire prevention ordinance. The simple ordinance stipulated that all residential and commercial buildings had to be equipped with a smoke chimney.
As of 6 June 1746, only 18 of the lots had been improved according to the stipulations of the act. Christopher Lowndes’ house, Bostwick, and those built by David Ross and William Hilleary (the William Hilleary House) were among them.
Market Master’s House
With the establishment in 1747 of a government tobacco inspection system, Bladensburg became a designated tobacco inspection and grading port. The Market Master’s House is evidence of that role.
By 1761 it had grown so much that it was designated a “hundred” [similar to an election district] of Prince George’s County.
A seaport during the colonial period, Bladensburg is best remembered for the Battle of Bladensburg (1814) during the War of 1812. The defeat (August 24, 1814) here of American troops under Gen. W. H. Winder enabled the British under General Robert Ross to march on Washington, D.C., and burn many of the public buildings. Its role as a seaport faded as the Anacostia River silted up and larger ships could no longer reach the port.
Despite the outlawing of dueling four years before, the Town was also the scene of the historic duel in which Stephen Decatur, the naval hero, was mortally wounded in 1820 by James Barron.
The Town was home of William Wirt, anti-Masonic candidate for president in 1832. He was an author statesman and U.S. Attorney General.
A sharp decline of passengers was experienced in Bladensburg when an extension of the B&O was permitted into the District of Columbia in 1835.
Festival at Spa Spring
In 1844 the Whigs from Baltimore City, Washington, Georgetown, and the surrounding country held their festivals at the Spa Spring where the ladies from Baltimore City furnished and served the banquet.
The town was incorporated in 1854. Schools and churches were constructed, including the first Freedmen’s Bureau school for African-Americans in 1866.
Army of the Commonweath
In the wake of the economic “Panic of 1893”, social reformer Jacob Coxey and his “Army of the Commonwealth,” consisting of approximately 500 unemployed workers, marched from Ohio to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate at the Capitol for unemployment relief. Afterwards, Coxey and his Armystayed at the George Washington House Hotel in Bladensburg. Floodwaters forced the Army to flee Bladensburg on May 20, 1894.
Street Cars Arrives
In 1910, the Washington, Spa Spring and Gretta Railroad, a street car company, began running cars along a single track from a modest waiting station and car barn near 15th and H Streets NE along Bladensburg Road NE to Bladensburg. The company was chartered by the state of Maryland on February 13, 1905 and authorized to enter the District on February 18, 1907. Construction began by March 22, 1908.
The Growing Town
The town experienced its most significant growth in the early 20th century with the construction of the first two residential sections of the town in 1914 and 1917. Named Decatur Heights, the subdivisions had gridded streets platted on the north and south sides of Annapolis Road.
The Peace Cross
Known also as “Peace Cross.” The Snyder-Farmer Post of the American Legion of Hyattsville erected the forty foot cross of cement and marble to recall the forty-nine men of Prince George’s County who died in World War I. The cross was dedicated on July 13, 1925, by the American Legion.
WWII Era Expansion
Hilltop Manor is an apartment complex consisting of eight brick garden apartment buildings, each of which is divided into two to six units or sections, constructed in 1942 and 1943. It was one of the first garden-apartment complexes constructed in the county as a result of the population increase of the Washington metropolitan area during World War II.