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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Belair Stables
Inventory No.: PG:71B-5
Other Name(s): City of Bowie Stable Museum
Date Listed: 5/8/1973
Location: 2835 Belair Drive , Bowie, Prince Georges County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1900
Description: The Belair Stables consists of a one-story U-shaped stone and brick building dating to the turn of the 20th century. The original portion of the building is constructed of local dark-brown sandstone, 24 inches thick, laid in ashlar courses of random pattern on a foundation of the same material. At the center of this structure is an arch leading into the exercise yard, which serves as the focal point of the building. Flanking the arch on the outer wall are three windows to either side, will diamond-pattern muntins and sandstone jack arches. The interior wall contains a door and three 6/6 sash windows to the left of the arch, surrounded by board-and-batten wood siding. The corresponding space to the right of the arch is occupied by four stall doors, each with a four-light window in the upper portion. The building has a slate hip roof with exposed rafter feet, with two hip-roofed dormer windows on either side, all with diamond-pane windows. The central arch on either side is framed by a shallow gable. The second phase of construction consists of the brick wings stretching to the east of the original portion. These contained stables and box stalls, and have slate gable roofs also with exposed rafter feet, but no dormers. The walls are laid in Flemish bond, with stone foundations. Flat brick arches cap each window and door opening.. Earth floors are within the stables and brick paving is outside the stalls, in the corridor between the exterior wall and the stalls. The ceilings are constructed of a beaded board 4" wide nailed to the bottom side of the roof joist. Significance: The significance of the Belair Stables lies in its association with thoroughbred horse racing and breeding at Belair Estate. Belair Estate is recognized as being the only one of the great colonial estates where breeding for the Course was carried on through three centuries. Mr. William Woodward, noted in racing circles, and chairman of the Jockey Club (1916) built the present stables around the turn of the 20th century. The stable housed foals which later became famous racehorses, including two winners of the Triple Crown: Gallant Fox and Omaha. The present stable was actively used until 1955. It was acquired by the City of Bowie in 1969 for the purpose of establishing a racing museum and library. The city has restored the stables and placed trophies and memorabilia of the horses in the stalls.

 

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