The United States Census Bureau headquarters in 2007.
|U.S. state of Maryland|
|Country||United States of America|
|• Total||4.2 sq mi (11 km2)|
|• Land||4.2 sq mi (11 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||290 ft (90 m)|
|• Density||6,100/sq mi (2,400/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||20746, 20747|
|Area code(s)||301, 240|
Suitland is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, about 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 25,825. Prior to 2010, Suitland was part of the Suitland-Silver Hill census-designated place.
Seventeenth and eighteenth century
In the 1600s, the Piscataway tribe inhabited the lands in southern Maryland. European settlers established their first Maryland colony on Saint Clement's Island (renamed Saint Mary's City) in 1694, and by the 1660s-1680s, settlers had moved into what is now known as Prince Georges County. Faced with this encroachment, the Piscataways left the area in 1697, moving north to what is now known as Conoy Island, and eventually moving further north into Pennsylvania and Michigan. The sole export of the incoming settlers was tobacco, and slaves were first brought to the county in the 1700s.
Prior to the American Civil War, as a result of tobacco production, Prince Georges County was one of the wealthiest counties in Maryland and half of the county's population were slave. After the war, old plantations were broken up and replaced by communities centered around small farming and country villages.
In 1867, Samuel Taylor Suit moved to Maryland and purchased more than 800 acres near Washington, D.C. In the 1870s-1880s, the Suitland estate was visited by prominent guests, including U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, and was the site where an international tribunal of representatives settled negotiations for the 1871 Alabama claims. After Suit's death in 1888, portions of the estate were sold (circa 1892-1903) to William A. Harrison, and the land was subsequently subdivided and sold over the years. Suit's son, Arthur B. Suit, retained 3 acres of land near the corner of Suitland and Silver Hill Roads, where he maintained a general store, bar, bowling alley, and the community's one-room jailhouse.
By the turn of the century, the village of Suitland had added a post office, churches, and several houses. On August 10, 1909, local residents met at the home of George J. Hess and organized the Suitland Improvement Association of Maryland to raise funds for a community meeting hall. Three officers were elected to serve one year posts: President - Dr. C.M. Emmons; Vice President - C.L. Jenkins; and Secretary and Treasurer, George J. Hess. The Association was incorporated on November 17, 1950 and is now known as the Suitland Civic Association.
There are two historic cemeteries in Suitland, Cedar Hill and Lincoln Memorial. Cedar Hill Cemetery was founded in 1901 and built on the former Nonesuch Plantation. Prior to 1913, it was known as Forest Lake Cemetery and was likely renamed after the cedar trees that lined both sides of Suitland Road from the D.C. line to Silver Hill Road. Early churches performed baptisms at this location and it is also the burial site for victims of the 1906 Terra Cotta Railroad wreck. Lincoln Memorial Cemetery was founded in 1927 on the former Landon dairy farm and is the site where many prominent African-Americans are buried. Individuals include Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who established improved techniques for blood storage and developed large scale blood banks early in World War II, and Nannie Helen Burroughs, educator and civil rights activist.
The first one-room schoolhouse was built in 1891 on land purchased by the community. A two-room schoolhouse was later built in 1915 on Silver Hill Road, expanded to four rooms in 1922, and saw additions to the building in 1928, 1941, and 1957.
Property owned by James West and Joseph Friday, located near the current intersection of Swann and Silver Hill Roads, was used as an airfield from 1938 to 1941. Named "Skyhaven" by a local student who won the naming contest sponsored by West and Friday, Skyhaven Airfield hosted a flying club that served 20 small planes, including Wacos, Great Lakes, and Pipers.
Suitland remained a rural farming community until the onset of World War II. To meet the need for additional office space to support the war effort, in September 1941, the Public Buildings Administration awarded a $2,749,000 contract to McCloskey and Co. of Philadelphia to develop a new federal office building in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Later that year, 437 acres of farm and dairy land were purchased in Suitland to build the Suitland Federal Center. The 12 existing residences on this property included the former dairy and summer home of Albert Carry, the German-American founder of the National Capital Brewing Company and the Carry Ice Cream Co. The Suitland House, built by Lowell O. Minear, a pioneer designer of memorial parks, is the sole remaining residence on the Federal Center property. A colonial-revival style home, it now serves as office space for the U.S. Census Bureau and is included in the Prince Georges County Planning Department's 2010 Approved Historic Sites and Districts Plan.
In 1942, the Suitland Manor apartments were built in anticipation of new federal workers. Parkway Terrace, Whitehall Square, and Marlborough House developments soon followed to accommodate the influx of Census Bureau and other federal employees. In 1943, the Census Bureau turned 14 acres of land at the Federal Center site into the largest Victory Garden in the Washington metropolitan area. The land was a parceled into 616 plots and plowed, fertilized, and tended by census employees. As late as 1989, 110 garden plots were still available for summer rental on a first come, first serve basis for $7.00 each. These gardens were located at the site of the current Naval Intelligence Building.
In 1944, the Suitland Parkway was opened to connect the Army's Bolling Air Force Base (Bolling Field) to the Camp Springs Army Military Reservation, later named Andrews Air Force Base and now known as Joint Base Andrews. The 9.35 miles (15.05 km) of highway, originally named the Fighter Command Station Access Parkway, was initially limited to military use only and came under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in 1949.
Suitland Junior-Senior High School, was the first high school in Suitland. The building was dedicated on November 15, 1951 to the high ideal of freedom of education, with John W. McNamara presiding as master-of-ceremonies and principal Thomas Warthen accepting the dedication on behalf of the students and faculty. Nearby was also LaReine High School, offering a Roman Catholic education for girls. LaReine was eventually closed, and its students transferred to nearby Bishop McNamara High School which became co-educational.
The 1950s-1960s were a period of major growth for Suitland, as new middle and working-class families settled into the newly built residential communities. However, this population boom came to an end around 1970 due to several converging factors. These included the availability of cheaper land and lower taxes in neighboring county jurisdictions; the ending of the postwar baby boom; the slowdown in the rate of federal government growth; and migration patterns spurred by school busing mandates leading to regional demographic shifts.
The 1970s were both the beginning of a period of population adjustment and a recognition of Suitland's unique local history. Beginning in 1973, Prince Georges County became the largest school district to adopt a busing plan after the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. Board of Education. The demographic changes caused by desegregation busing changed the county, transforming a great number of neighborhoods that were formerly middle-class and white to black and upper-middle class, and these shifts are reflected in the current population demographic of the Suitland CDP.
In 1975, local historian Darlene Norton was elected to draft a local history of the township in preparation for Suitland's centennial celebration. A History of Suitland, Maryland, 1867-1976 (1976) includes a detailed history of early residents, businesses, land purchases, and the development of Suitland civic, public, and private enterprises. That same year, local resident Walter Coley organized a committee within the Suitland Civic Association to preserve the Suitland Bog, which led to the purchase of 20 acres of woods and wetland by the Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission.
In the 1980s, crime associated with vandalism, property violations, landlord absenteeism, and drugs were seen as a threat to the federal workers who were now commuting into Suitland from outside the community, and in 1983, a razor wired fence was erected around the Federal Center complex. Through most of this decade, neighborhoods near the Federal Center remained distressed and in need of a plan for positive change and growth.
In the mid-1990s, county executive Wayne Curry conceived a plan to revitalize Suitland as part of a greater county-wide effort to improve townships located inside the Beltway. In 1997, as the first stage of the Prince Georges County Redevelopment Authority project to reduce local crime rates and revitalize the site, the Manchester Square housing development was turned over to the county. Two years later, the fence surrounding the Federal Center was replaced with a regular wrought iron fence.
The Suitland Metro, an extension of the Washington Metro Transit Authority's Green Line, opened to the public January 13, 2001.
In 2004, Windsor Crossing, a $45 million multifamily condominium complex built by Stavrou Associates in partnership with the Prince Georges Redevelopment Authority, was completed on the former Manchester Square development. In 2005, the $15.7 million Suitland Elementary School was opened to the public as part of the revitalization plan. The defense departments Base Realignment Commission initiatives resulted in major changes at Andrews Air Force Base with hundreds of new employment positions anticipated over the coming decades.
In 2006, multi-million dollar federal renovations of the U.S. Census Building and National Oceanic and Atmospheric headquarters were completed. On Oct. 1, 2009, Andrews Air Force Base, along with Naval Air Facility Washington, became a joint base known as Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington, or Joint Base Andrews. Renovations were completed at the Spauldings Branch Library in 2012, which while located in District Heights, MD also serves Suitland and surrounding communities.
In addition to crime rates falling by double digits during the decade, Suitland residents awake each day with the knowledge that they are at the epicenter of numerous development initiatives in the county with National Harbor to the south, Konterra to the north, Joint Base Andrews with an influx of hundreds of hundred thousand dollar plus jobs to the east and of course, the continuing development and/or gentrification of southeast Washington D.C. to the west. Multiple currently under utilized Metro Stations in or bordering the community provide the promise of further development as does the passage of legislation permitting gaming/casinos to be located in National Harbor. Two additional revitalization projects were detailed to the public in 2012, the Buy Suitland initiative and the Green Suitland Neighborhood Stabilization Project.
The Buy Suitland initiative offers up to 5% purchase price to first time home buyers, up to 7% purchase price to local civic workers, or 35% of purchase price or $40,000 to debt-to-income candidates for properties located in 11 census tracts. Green Suitland NSP is allocating over $2 million for the purchase of foreclosed and abandoned homes to be rehabilitated with enviro-friendly, cost-saving upgrades before they are offered up for resale.
As an unincorporated area, Suitland's boundaries are not officially defined. The U.S. Geological Survey locates the center of Suitland at 38°50'49"N 76°55'33"W. This area is roughly bounded by Southern Avenue (D.C. Line) to the north, Branch Avenue (MD 5) to the west, Pennsylvania Avenue (MD 4) to the east, and Donnell Drive/Suitland Parkway/Meadowbrook Drive (Henson Creek) to the south. Within the northeastern section of these boundaries lies the township of Morningside, MD and a small portion of another unincorporated area known as Forestville, MD.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11.0 km2), a 25% reduction from the 5.6 sq. mi. used in previous years. While the Census Bureau defines the CDP as all land, the Suitland Bog and portions of Henson Creek, a tributary of the Potomac, are located off of Suitland Parkway near the southern border of the CDP.
Suitland Bog is one of the last of the natural bogs in the D.C. region, which numbered around thirty before the onset of suburban development. This wetland ecosystem features sweet bay magnolias and other rare species of plants, including northern pitcher-plants, lady slipper orchids, sundews, and sphagnum moss.
Parks and recreation
There are two community recreation centers (Bradbury Heights Recreation Center and William Beanes Community Center) and 4 parks (Auth Village Neighborhood Park, Douglas Patterson Community Park, Dupont Heights Neighborhood Park, and Michael J. Polley Neighborhood Park) maintained by the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation.
note: land area of Suitland CDP
reduced by 25% for 2010 census
Note: For the 2010 Census the boundaries of the Suitland CDP were changed reducing the land area by approx. 25%. As a result, the population count for 2010 shows a 22.9% decrease, with a population density increase of 4%.
As of the 2010 census, there were 25,825 people and 10,139 households residing in the Suitland CDP. The population density was 6148 people per square mile. There were 10,805 housing units at an average density of 2572 per square mile. The racial makeup of the community was 91.9% African American, 2.6% White, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 4.7% Latino, 1.7% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races.
There were 10,139 households out of which 3,682 were households with no family and 6,457 were identified as household with families. Of those households, 30.9% were married couples living together, 32.4% had a female householder, and 9% had a male householder. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the census area, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.5 years.
The median income for a household in the census area was $56,217, and the median income for a family was $61.393. The per capita income for the area was $26,040. 7.4% (+/- 2.0%) of the population and 6.5% (+/-2.4%) of families were below the poverty line.
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|Two or More Races||540||2|
|American Indian||104||< 1%|
The major roads in Suitland are mostly 2-3 lane highways. Suitland Parkway runs through the entirety of the Suitland CDP, and the Capital Beltway can be accessed from Pennsylvania Avenue (MD 4) and Branch Avenue (MD 5).
The community is served by the Washington Metro Naylor Road, Suitland and Branch Avenue stations (on the Green Line), respectively located at the intersections of Naylor Road and Branch Avenue, Silver Hill Road and Suitland Parkway then terminating between Auth Way and Capital Gateway Drive just off Branch Avenue and Auth Road.
- Interstate 95 enters the county at Laurel. It joins with Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) in College Park where it continues and leaves at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River.
- Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) enters the county near Adelphi, and joins Interstate 95 at the College Park Interchange here it continues and leaves at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River.
- Maryland Route 4, also called Pennsylvania Avenue, runs from the Maryland-D.C. border eastward into Anne Arundel County and south in Calvert County.
- Maryland Route 5, also called Branch Avenue, runs from the Maryland-D.C. border southeast through Charles County into St. Mary's County.
- Maryland Route 458, also called Silver Hill Road, runs from Branch Avenue northeast to Walker Mill Road in District Heights
- Maryland Route 218, also called Suitland Road, runs from the Maryland-D.C. border east across Maryland Route 458 terminating at the front gate of Joint Base Andrews on Allentown Road.
Suitland is served by the county-wide public school system, Prince Georges County Public Schools. Public high schools that serve the area include Suitland High School and Crossland High School. Suitland High School is a public magnet school with specialized programs in the visual and performing arts, International Baccalaureate program, and vocational Technical Academy.
Suitland is also served by the Spauldings Branch Library, which was fully renovated in 2012.
The federal government has headquartered multiple agencies in the area including:
- National Archives and Records Administration, Washington National Records Center
- National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office
- NOAA Office of Satellite Operations
- Smithsonian Institution, Museum Support Center
- Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian Cultural Resources Center
- Smithsonian Institution, Paul E. Garber Preservation and Storage Facility
- United States Census Bureau
- Steny Hoyer (b. 1939) - House Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
- Lamont Jordan (b. 1978) - University of Maryland and NFL football player
- Chad Scott (b. 1974) - NFL football player
- NaVorro Bowman (b. 1988)- Penn State & NFL football player
- Jude Waddy (b. 1975) - NFL football player
- Bobby Maze - University of Tennessee basketball player
- Devin Tyler - Temple University & NFL football player
- George O. Gore II (b. 1982) - Actor
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Suitland CDP, Maryland". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
- "History - Suitland, MD". Census Bureau.
- Virta, Alan (1984). Prince Georges County, A Pictorial History.
- Dunmore, Chris. "Samuel Taylor Suit - Person Sheet". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "History - Colonel Suit". Census Bureau. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "History of the Suitland Civic Association". Suitland Civic Association.
- "Cedar Hill Cemetery". Cedar Hill Cemetery.
- "Lincoln Memorial Cemetery". Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
- Norton, Darlene (1976). A History of Suitland Maryland, 1867-1976.
- "History - Skyhaven Airport". Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "History - Suitland Federal Center". Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Approved Historic Sites and Districts Plan". Prince Georges County Planning Department. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Suitland High School Mission Statement". Suitland High School. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- Merida, Kevin (2 September 1998). "Where That Bus Ride Took Me". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Morningside-Skyline column". The Sentinel. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Schwartzman, Paul (2 June 2004). "Suitland's Chance to Make a Change". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Klein, Allison (21 July 2005). "Prince Georges Set to Raze Much of Deadly Drug Market". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Buy Suitland Initiative". Prince Georges County Association of Realtors. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Green Suitland NSP". Prince Georges County government. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Suitland, MD Census Designated Place". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Suitland-Silver Hill map". Zipmap. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Suitland CDP, Maryland". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
- "Prince Georges County Parks". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Quick Facts - Suitland CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Suitland Maryland Population Statistics". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2013.