Governor Samuel Ogle (1692-1752) owned Belair, built circa 1745. The Georgian Palladian style house stands on a tobacco plantation that included gardens, a vineyard, deer park, horse stables and numerous dependencies. Ogle's son, Benjamin (1748-1809), also served as Maryland's governor from 1798 to 1801. Belair house five generations of Ogles before passing out of family ownership in 1871.
James T. Woodward (1837-1910) purchased the estate in 1898, and began to revive Belair. His nephew William Woodward (1876-1953) inherited Belair in 1910, improving the estate and adding wings designed by New York architects William Delano and Chester Aldrich. Woodward continued the history of Belair's role as the "cradle of thoroughbred racing". From Woodward's first track win in 1909, the Belair stud would acquire fame for the next half century.
Purchased by the William Levitt and Sons developers in 1957, Belair served as the Bowie City Hall from 1864 to 1978. Belair was restored in 1995 and opened in conjunction with the Friends of Belair Estate along with the stable as a part of the City of Bowie Museums System.