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Displaying items by tag: Stable Museum

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 02:20

Belair Mansion and Belair Stable Museum

Belair Mansion in Bowie, Maryland, was completed in 1747 for Maryland governor Samuel Ogle and his wife, Anne Tasker Ogle. Known by their contemporaries as tastemakers and avid horse enthusiasts, Belair originally functioned as a summer home, profitable tobacco plantation, stud farm, and comfortable retreat enjoyed by the likes of Benjamin Franklin. After falling out of Ogle hands in 1871 and into disrepair, Belair Mansion was rescued from ruin, in 1898, by the Woodwards, a New York banking family. They hired the famed architectural firm Delano & Aldrich update its infrastructure and appearance by adding plumbing and opposite wings between 1904 and 1914. Following the untimely 1955 death of the last Woodward owner, “Billy” Jr., the Mansion and estate were put up for sale. William J. Levitt, of Levittown fame, purchased the farm in 1957 and initially developed the land with an eye for profit rather than preservation. Later, Levitt honored the mansion’s historic value when he sold it to the City of Bowie for $1 so long as it remained in the public trust. Serving as the City Hall from 1964 to 1978, thereafter the mansion once again fell out of use but not the public eye. By 1980 a group of Bowie citizens created the Friends of the Belair Estate to assist the City of Bowie in raising funds to restore the structure to support a local museum.

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