For over 150 years, College Park has been a center of education, experimentation, and exploration, a place where creative minds pursued innovations first in agriculture, then in flight, and today serves as the home of the flagship campus of the University of Maryland. The Maryland Agricultural College was founded here in 1856 to support scientific research and education in agriculture to bring prosperity to Maryland farmers. Fifty years later, in 1909, the Wright Brothers found College Park the perfect place for an airfield where they could continue their experiments with flight and train the first army pilots. Other forms of transportation also were important to the development of College Park, including the Baltimore-Washington Turnpike (now Route 1), Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (now CSX), and the Washington streetcar system.
The earliest communities that comprise present-day College Park were Branchville, Berwyn, Lakeland, and the neighborhood that was once called College Park and is now known as Old Town. In 1867, a post office was established to serve the fledgling Branchville community. Neighboring Berwyn began to develop in 1891, as did Lakeland, named for the lakes that were used for swimming, boating, ice skating, and a commercial goldfish farm (approximately in the same location as today’s man-made Lake Artemesia). Lakeland, initially designed as a lakeside resort, became a close-knit and significant African-American community. To the south, John Oliver Johnson purchased land in 1890 from Ella Campbell, a Calvert heir, subdivided the property, and named his new development “College Park.” The next neighborhoods to be developed were Daniels Park (1905), Calvert Hills (1907), and Hollywood (1920s and 30s), followed later by Hollywood on the Hill, Yarrow, College Park Estates, College Park Woods, Autoville, and Sunnyside. College Park incorporated as a town in 1945 and today is a thriving city with nearly 30,000 residents.