PGCAR 75th Anniversary April 2008

2008 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®. In 1933, a number of real estate brokers in Prince George's County realized the necessity of organizing an association to establish high standards and professional ethics in the practice of real estate. The original organizers were Robert M. (Bunt) Watkins, T. Raymond Burch, Leo W. Dunn, Arthur Seidenspinner, Perry Boswell, Otway Zantsinger and Ben Brandon. These men founded the first Real Estate Broker's organization in Prince George's County. The new organization was named the Prince George's County Real Estate Board.

Their objectives were to assure business conduct in accordance with established high standards of practice and ethics and to provide a more professional image. Mr. Watkins was asked to serve as President, Mr. Burch as Vice President, and Mr. Dunn as Secretary-Treasurer.

Monthly meetings were held and a Constitution and Bylaws, along with a Code of Ethics, were adopted. Growth was slow, but the original group continued to encourage other brokers to join in the newly created Board. At the start of World War II all meetings were suspended for the duration of the war. Mr. Watkins was known as Board President until 1947 when meetings resumed and Mr. Watkins was formally elected President. Eighteen new members were accepted for membership and activities increased. Frank H. Cowell of Hyattsville was elected Secretary-Treasurer and Mr. Burch was named Vice President. In 1948, Burch succeeded Watkins as President.

In 1948, the Board became a member of the Maryland Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, and Board members became entitled to use the designation "REALTOR®". Many new members joined the Board and its strength and accomplishments increased accordingly. The Board seal "Gateway to the Nation's Capital" and the Board's slogan "Forward with Prince George's County" were designed and adopted. These activities were among the many which helped to establish the Board as an important real estate organization in the county.

In 1949, Dewey M. Freeman was chosen as President and Marion West continued to serve as Secretary-Treasurer. Later, Blair Smith served as Executive Secretary and was followed by Hubert K. Arnold, who later honored with the designation of Executive Vice President Emeritus, served until 1962. The first full time Executive Vice President was William J. Stevens, who in 1963, after resignation, was followed by William A. Collis, who resigned in 1967. Gregory Fitzgerald next served for two years, followed by Arie B. Stouten, Jr., who remained for three years until 1972 when the Executive Vice President, Paul L. Fowler, accepted the position. Mr. Fowler retired in 1998 and the Association became managed by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® under the direction of Greg Milward. When Greg Milward retired in 2004, the Board of Directors appointed Joan Ostenso to serve as Executive Vice President of the Association.

In 1961, the Board formally changed its name to The Prince George's County Board of REALTORS®, Inc., and again in 1989 changed its name to The Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®, which is how it is currently known. The Association, with the help of Past Presidents, funded the completion of REALTORS® Park on Landover Road (Dedication May 6, 1985).

In 2003, The Board of Directors instituted the New Member Orientation, which must be attended by all new members of the Association.

Over its seventy-five year history, due to Mr. Watkins' 14 year reign, there have been 62 Presidents including Linda Simpson, who currently holds that office. In 1999, the Association moved its offices to its present location at 8400 Corporate Drive, Suite 225, in Landover, Maryland. The Association membership has grown from a mere handful to its present strength of approximately 5,000 members.