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(some)
Bladensburg History

An immigrant who earned his passage to the Colonies as an indentured servant in the middle 1600's at one time owned the land which became Garrison's Landing, now the Town of Bladensburg.


Ninian Beall gained his freedom in 1677 and was given a parcel of land in what was known as Terrapin Thicket (now New Carrollton) because of the many turtles which roamed its marshy terrain. By the time of his death in 1717, at the age of 92, he had increased his small holdings to thousands of acres extending from Upper Marlboro to Georgetown, which at the time was still part of Prince George's County.

At the time of its founding, Bladensburg was a thriving port with a depth of 40 feet of water in the river. It was easily accessible by oceangoing ships and shipped large quantities of tobacco abroad, second only to Yorktown, Virginia, in the amount of tonnage shipped from its wharves. The town was also situated at the convergence of several busy roads, including two (now called Annapolis Road and Landover Road) that carried travelers to and from Annapolis and Upper Marlboro, and one that led from Philadelphia and Baltimore to Bladensburg (Baltimore-Washington Boulevard and Rte. 1). Travelers from these cities all ended up in Bladensburg, where they crossed the Anacostia River to old Georgetown and points in what later became Montgomery and Frederick Counties.

Samuel F.B. Morse reportedly received the first telegraph message in Bladensburg, in 1844, before his famous "What Hath God Wrought" message between Baltimore and Washington. His telegraph wire had been strung along the railroad right of way. Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, lived in Bladensburg and is said to have invented the telegraph pole.

Bladensburg inventor C.G. Page unveiled the first horseless carriage in America in 1857. The electric car ran over the Baltimore and Ohio (CSX) Railroad tracks at the rate of 19 miles per hour.

The Freedmen's Bureau established the first school for blacks in the county in Bladensburg in 1866. Classes began the following year with Sallie Cadwallader, a white woman Quaker from Philadelphia, as its first teacher.

Also in 1866, St. Paul's Baptist Church was founded by Sarah Plummer, a former slave who had been abducted in Washington, D.C., taken to New Orleans, and later rescued by her brother and returned to the area. A prayer vigil was conducted on the night of her safe return, and the group which participated later formed the church congregation, meeting initially in homes of members.

Today, the town is involved with the neighboring towns of Colmar Manor and Cottage City in the Port Towns Revitalization project, which not only focuses on the development of the Bladensburg Marina, but which also provides for the development and execution of new roads, help for local businesses, and general improvement of each town's infrastructure.

For Bladensburg the project could bring to fruition a long-held goal of a restored Bladensburg Marina. Plans call for a waterfront park at the marina and a transformation of the sediment-filled inlet into a thriving recreational area with a 60-slip marina, a 500-seat amphitheater and a museum, complete with tour boat rides and bike and pedestrian paths.

For more Bladensburg History go to www.Porttowns.com


Most of the above information was obtained from the book entitled
Proud Past Promising Future
and was reprinted with the permission of the author
George D. Denny, Jr.

Proud Past Promising Future
details the history of each municipality located within
Prince George's County, Maryland.

For more information on
Proud Past Promising Future
please contact:
George D. Denny, Jr.
Dilden Company
P.O. Box 54
Brentwood, MD 20722


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