The discovery of iron ore in the area in the first part of the 1700s brought industry to Beltsville, and the Scottish brothers Andre and Elias Elliot established the Muirkirk Iron Furnace, which supplied pig iron to the US Army. However, the community only started to really grow when the B&O Railroad established a depot on land bought from a farmer called Trueman Belt in 1835, hence the name Beltsville. In 1891, the Beltsville Land Improvement Company began to build roads and sold parcels of land. There was a ban on selling land to African-Americans at that time, although today, the biggest racial group in Beltsville is African-American (34.4%).
The first homes built in Beltsville was a mix of Victorian and Colonial Revival styles, and some are still standing today. In fact, the oldest house in the area was built in 1773. Modern residences have a median value of $238,148.
Beltsville’s most distinguished native is Brigadier General Rezin Beall, who was born in 1723 on one of the plantations established by Snowden and given to the Beall family, lately from Scotland. As a captain of the Maryland Regulars, he was credited for stopping cold the invasion of British troops on St. Mary County via Plum Point on July 16, 1776, during the Revolutionary War, with just 100 men under his command. He was supposedly the reason why Maryland managed to stay out of the war zone.
Other celebrities that called Beltsville home at one point include comic book illustrator and writer Frank Cho (known for his illustrations of Marvel’s Hulk), internationally-known scientist and inventor of the bug bomb Lyle Goodhue, 2016 Summer Olympics gold medal winner (1500 meters) Matthew Centrowitz Jr., and NFL player Cameron Wake.