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Montgomery County of the U.S. state of Marylandmarker is situated just north of Washington, D.C.marker and southwest of Baltimoremarker. It is one of the most affluent counties in the nation, and has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years old who hold a post-graduate degree. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockvillemarker. Most of the county's approximately 950,680 residentslive in unincorporated locales, the most populous of which are Silver Springmarker, Germantownmarker, and Bethesdamarker, though the incorporated cities of Rockvillemarker and Gaithersburgmarker are also large population centers. It is a part of both the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.

As of 2008, Montgomery County is the second richest county per capita in the State of Maryland and 8th richest in the nation, with a median household income of $91,440.


Montgomery County is an important business and research center. It is the epicenter for biotechnology in the Mid-Atlantic region. Montgomery County is the third largest biotechnology cluster in the nation, holding the principal cluster and companies of large corporate size in the state. Biomedical research is done in the county through institutions like Johns Hopkins University's Montgomery County Campus (JHU MCC), Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Marylandmarker. Federal government agencies engaged in related work include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Healthmarker, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

Many large firms are based in the county. Discovery Communications, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Host Hotels & Resorts, Travel Channel, Ritz-Carlton, Robert Louis Johnson Companies (RLJ Cos), Choice Hotels, MedImmune, Chevy Chase Bank, TV One, BAE Systems Incmarker, Hughes Network Systems, and GEICO are just a few of the large firms headquartered in Montgomery County.

Other U.S. federal government agencies based in the county include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Downtown Bethesdamarker and Silver Springmarker are the largest urban business hubs in the county; combined, they rival many major city cores.


Prior to the European settlement, the land now known as Montgomery County was covered in a vast swath of forest crossed by the creeks and small streams that feed the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers. A few small villages of the Piscataway, members of the Algonquian people, were scattered across the southern portions of the county. North of the Great Fallsmarker of the Potomac, there were few permanent settlements, and the Piscataway shared hunting camps and foot paths with members of rival peoples like the Susquehannocks and the Senecas. Captain John Smith of the Englishmarker settlement at Jamestown was probably the first European to explore the area, during his travels along the Potomac River and throughout the Chesapeake region.

These lands were claimed by Europeans for the first time when George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore was granted the charter for the colony of Maryland by Charles I of England. However, it wasn't until 1688 that the first tract of land in what is now Montgomery County was granted by the Calvert family to an individual colonist, a wealthy and prominent early Marylander named Henry Darnall. He and other early claimants had no intention of settling their families. They were little more than speculators, securing grants from the colonial leadership and then selling their lands in pieces to settlers. Thus, it was not until approximately 1715 that the first English settlers began building farms and plantations in the area.

These earliest settlers were English or Scottish immigrants from other portions of Maryland, German settlers moving down from Pennsylvania, or Quakers who came to settle on land granted to a convert named James Brooke in what is now Brookevillemarker. Most of these early settlers were small farmers, growing a variety of subsistence crops in addition to the region's main cash crop, tobacco. They transported the tobacco they grew to market through the Potomac River port of Georgetownmarker. Sparsely settled, the area's farms and taverns were nonetheless of strategic importance as access to the interior. General Edward Braddock's army traveled through the county on the way to their disastrous defeat at Fort Duquesnemarker during the French and Indian War.

Like other regions of the American colonies, the future Montgomery County saw protests against British taxation in the years before the American Revolution. Following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, representatives of the area helped draft the new state constitution and begin to build a Maryland free of proprietary control. The new state legislature formed Montgomery County from lands that had at one point or another been part of Charlesmarker, Prince George'smarker, and Frederickmarker Counties, naming it after General Richard Montgomery. The leaders of the new county chose as their county seat an area adjacent to Hungerford's Tavern near the center of the county, which would later become Rockvillemarker. The newly formed Montgomery County supplied arms, food, and forage for the Continental Army during the Revolution, in addition to soldiers.

In 1791, portions of Montgomery County, including Georgetownmarker, were ceded to form the new District of Columbiamarker, along with portions of Prince George's County, Marylandmarker, as well as parts of Virginiamarker that were later returned to Virginia.

In 1828, construction on the C&O Canal commenced and was completed in 1850. Throughout the 19th century, agriculture dominated the economy in Montgomery County, with slaves playing a significant role. In the 1850s, crop production shifted away from tobacco and towards corn. Montgomery County was important in the abolitionist movement, with slave Josiah Henson, who wrote about his experiences in a memoir which became the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Josiah, the inspiration for the character "Uncle Tom", was a slave in the county and a slave cabin where he is believed to have spent time still stands at the end of a driveway off Old Georgetown Road.

Until 1860, only private schools existed in Montgomery County. Initially, schools for European American students were built, and in 1872 schools for African-Americans were added.

Like most of Maryland, the county's southern sympathies resulted in its being occupied by Union forces during the Civil War.

In 1873, the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opened, with a route between Washington, D.C. and Point of Rocks, Marylandmarker. The railroad spurred development at Takoma Parkmarker, Kensingtonmarker, Garrett Parkmarker, and Chevy Chasemarker.

On July 1, 1997, Montgomery County annexed a portion of Prince George's Countymarker, after residents of Takoma Parkmarker, which spanned both counties, voted to be entirely within the more affluent Montgomery County.

The county has a number of sites on the National Register of Historic Places.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and is water.

Adjacent jurisdictions

National protected areas


The southern reaches of Montgomery County, near Washington, D.C.marker, lie within the Humid subtropical climate zone, with hot, humid summers and mild to chilly winters with plentiful precipitation year-round. The central and northern portions of the county lie further from any significant body of water, and lie in the transition zone between Humid subtropical and Humid continental climate zones. The average yearly precipitation is . The average yearly snowfall for the county as a whole is . Areas in the north and west receive more snow, with Boyds at the extreme north in the county receiving a median annual snowfall of compared to for Rockville.


As of the 2000 census, there were 873,341 people, 324,565 households, and 224,274 families residing in the county. The population density was . (The Census Bureau has since estimated that the population grew to just over 950,000 by 2008.)In 2000, there were 334,632 housing units at an average density of .

The racial makeup of the county was:

In addition, 11.52% of the population was Hispanic or Latino, of any race. (Montgomery County has the largest South American community in the Baltimoremarker-Washingtonmarker metropolitan area.)

Significant national ethnic groups included people of Irish (8.5%), German (8.1%), English (6.8%) and Americanmarker (5.0%) ancestry according to Census 2000. The county also has a sizable Jewish population.

There were 324,565 households out of which 35% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.19.

25.4% of the population was under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

Montgomery County has the eighth highest household median income in the United States, and the second highest in the state after Howard Countymarker according to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The median income for a household in the county for 2007 was $89,284 and the median income for a family was $106,093. Males had a median income of $66,415 versus $52,134 for females. The per capita income for the county was $43,073. About 3.3% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.

Since the 1970s, the county has had in place a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) zoning plan that requires developers to include affordable housing in any new residential developments that they construct in the county. The goal is to create socioeconomically mixed neighborhoods and schools so the rich and poor are not isolated in separate parts of the county. Developers who provide for more than the minimum amount of MPDUs are rewarded with permission to increase the density of their developments, which allows them to build more housing and generate more revenue. Montgomery County was one of the first counties in the U.S. to adopt such a plan, but many other areas have since followed suit.

Law and government

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 27.1% 118,608 71.5% 314,444
2004 32.8% 136,334 65.9% 273,936
2000 33.5% 124,580 62.5% 232,453
1996 35.2% 117,730 59.4% 198,807
1992 33.0% 62,955 55.1% 168,691
1988 48.1% 154,191 51.5% 165,187
1984 50.1% 146,924 49.7% 146,036
1980 47.2% 125,515 39.8% 105,822
Montgomery County was granted a charter form of government in 1948.

The present County Executive/County Council form of government of Montgomery County dates to November 1968 when the voters changed the form of government from a County Commission/County Manager system, as provided in the original 1948 home rule Charter.

The county began with a county commissioner system that kept most of the power in Annapolismarker. In 1948 voters approved a "Council-Manager" form of government, making Montgomery County the first home-rule county in Maryland. The first six-member council was elected in 1949. Then in 1968, the voters approved a "County Executive-Council" form of government. That change formed an executive branch under the County Executive, and a legislative branch under a seven-member County Council. Instead of a County Manager, there was now a Chief Administrative Officer appointed by the County Executive. That went into effect in 1970, when the first seven-member County Council was elected. Originally all of the council members were elected at large (that is, by all of the voters). Five members were required to reside in their council district. In November 1986, the voters amended the Charter to increase the number of Council seats in the 1990 election from seven to nine. Now five members are elected by the voters of their council district and four are elected at-large. Each voter may vote for five council members; four at-large and one from the district in which they reside.

County Executives

Name Party Term
James P. Gleason Republican 1970–1978
Charles W. Gilchrist Democrat 1978–1986
Sidney Kramer Democrat 1986–1990
Neal Potter Democrat 1990–1994
Douglas M. Duncan Democrat 1994–2006
Isiah "Ike" Leggett Democrat 2006—

Ike Leggett was sworn in on December 4, 2006.

Legislative body

The current members of the County Council for the 2006-2010 term are:

Name Party District First Elected
Marc Elrich Democrat At-Large 2006
Nancy Floreen Democrat At-Large 2002
George Leventhal Democrat At-Large 2002
Duchy Trachtenberg Democrat At-Large 2006
Roger Berliner Democrat District 1 (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Garrett Park) 2006
Mike Knapp Democrat District 2 (Upcounty) 2002
Phil Andrews Democrat District 3 (Rockville, Gaithersburg) 1998
Nancy Navarro* Democrat District 4 (East County) 2009
Valerie Ervin Democrat District 5 (Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton) 2006
*Previous councilmember Don Praisner died. A special election was held to fill the remainder of his term.

Bi-county agencies

Montgomery and Prince George'smarker Counties share a bi-county planning and parks agency in the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (often referred to as Park and Planning or its initials M-NCPPC by county residents) and a public bi-county water and sewer utility in the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

Cities and towns

This county contains the following incorporated municipalities:

Though the three incorporated cities of Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Takoma Park lie within its boundaries, the most urbanized areas in the county include such unincorporated areas as Bethesdamarker and Silver Springmarker.

Occupying a middle ground between incorporated and unincorporated areas are Special Tax Districts, quasi-municipal unincorporated areas created by legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly. They lack home rule authority and must petition the General Assembly for changes affecting the authority of the district. The four incorporated villages of Montgomery County and the town of Chevy Chase View were originally established as Special Tax Districts. Four Special Tax Districts remain in the county:
  1. Drummondmarker, Village of (1916)
  2. Friendship Heights and "The Hills" (1914)
  3. Oakmont (1918)
  4. Battery Park (1923)

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:
Silver Spring
Silver Spring

  1. Ashton-Sandy Springmarker (a combination of the communities of Ashton and Sandy Springmarker recognized as a unit by the Census Bureau)
  2. Aspen Hillmarker
  3. Bethesdamarker
  4. Brookmontmarker
  5. Burtonsvillemarker
  6. Cabin Johnmarker
  7. Calvertonmarker (This CDP is shared between Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.)
  8. Chevy Chasemarker (Note that this is also the name of an incorporated town)
  9. Clarksburgmarker
  10. Cloverlymarker
  11. Colesvillemarker
  12. Damascusmarker
  13. Darnestownmarker
  14. Fairlandmarker
  15. Forest Glenmarker
  16. Friendship Villagemarker (This CDP includes the Village of Friendship Heights.)
  17. Germantownmarker
  18. Glenmontmarker
  19. Hillandalemarker (This CDP is shared between Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.)
  20. Kemp Millmarker
  21. Montgomery Villagemarker
  22. North Bethesdamarker
  23. North Kensingtonmarker
  24. North Potomacmarker
  25. Olneymarker
  26. Potomacmarker
  27. Redlandmarker
  28. Rossmoormarker
  29. Silver Springmarker
  30. South Kensingtonmarker
  31. Travilahmarker
  32. Wheaton-Glenmontmarker (a combination of the communities of Wheaton and Glenmontmarker recognized as a unit by the Census Bureau)
  33. White Oakmarker

Other unincorporated places:

  1. Beallsvillemarker
  2. Boydsmarker
  3. Derwoodmarker
  4. Dickersonmarker
  5. Hyattstownmarker



Montgomery County is approximately bisected north-south by Interstate 270, a connector linking Interstate 70 with Washington. I-270 divides in North Bethesdamarker with its primary roadway connecting to the eastbound Capital Beltway (Interstate 495), and a spur connecting to southbound I-495 as it approaches Northern Virginia. Another spur highway, Interstate 370, connects Interstate 270 with the Shady Grovemarker Metro station.

A fiercely- and long-contested east-west toll freeway, the Intercounty Connector (Maryland Route 200), also known as the ICC, is under construction as of late 2007.The ICC will link Interstate 370 and I-270 with U.S. 29; and Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 in Laurelmarker, Prince George's Countymarker.

Roughly paralleling 270 is Maryland Route 355, a surface street known for much of its length as Rockville Pike. In its southern reaches it is known as Wisconsin Avenue, while in the north it is known as Frederick Road, or Frederick Ave in Gaithersburg; in the northern half of Rockville (from Town Center north), it is named Hungerford Drive.

Other major routes include Maryland Route 190 (River Road); Maryland Route 97 (Georgia Avenuemarker); Maryland Route 650 (New Hampshire Avenue), Maryland Route 185 (Connecticut Avenue), Randolph Road/Montrose Road, Maryland Route 28 (Darnestown Road, Montgomery Avenue and Norbeck Road), and Maryland Route 27 (Father Hurley Blvd., Ridge Road). U.S. Route 29 parallels the eastern border of the county; first as Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, then Colesville Road, and thence as Columbia Pike through Burtonsville and into Howard County.

The Montgomery County government has strongly supported the use of automated traffic enforcement on county roads. In 2007 this county became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to introduce automated speed cameras on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph, issuing fines of $40 by mail. Red light cameras with fines of $75 are also in use.

A computer coordinates the setting of 750 traffic lights. In 2009, the computer system failed for a brief period, causing considerable problems.


Montgomery County operates its own bus public transit system, known as Ride On. Major routes are also covered by WMATA's Metrobus service.


Montgomery County is served by three passenger rail systems.

Amtrak, the U.S. national passenger rail system, operates its Capitol Limited to Rockville, between Washington Union Stationmarker and Chicago Union Stationmarker.

The Brunswick line of the MARC commuter rail system makes stops at Silver Spring, Kensington, Garrett Park, Rockville, Washington Grove, Gaithersburg, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown, Boyds, Barnesville, and Dickerson, where the line splits into its Frederick and Martinsburg branches.

Both suburban arms of the Red Line of the Washington Metromarker serve Montgomery County. It follows the CSX right of way to the west, roughly paralleling Route 355 from Friendship Heightsmarker to Shady Grovemarker. The eastern side runs between the two tracks of the CSX right of way from Washington Union Stationmarker to Silver Springmarker, and roughly parallels Georgia Avenue, from Silver Spring to Glenmontmarker.

There has been much debate on the construction of two new transitways, both of which are still in the early stages of design. The Purple Line would run "cross-town" connecting nodes in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties near the Beltway; and the Corridor Cities Transitway would provide an extension of the Red Line corridor from Gaithersburgmarker to Germantownmarker and beyond.


The Montgomery County Airparkmarker (FAA GAI, ICAO KGAI), a general aviation facility in Gaithersburg, is the major airport in the county. Davis Airport (FAA Identifier W50), a privately owned airstrip, is located in Laytonsville on Hawkins Creamery Road. Commercial air service is provided at the nearby Ronald Reagan Washington Nationalmarker, Washington Dulles Internationalmarker, and BWImarker Airports.


Elementary and secondary public schools are operated by the Montgomery County Public Schools. The county is also served by Montgomery Collegemarker, a public, open access community college. The county has no public university of its own, but the state university system does operate a facility called Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville that provides access to baccalaureate and Master's level programs from several of the state's public universities.

MCPS operates under the jurisdiction of an elected Board of Education. Its current members are:

Name District Term Ends
Shirley Brandman (President) At-Large 2010
Patricia O'Neill (Vice-President) District 3 2010
Laura Berthiaume District 2 2012
Christopher S. Barclay District 4 2012
Judith Docca District 1 2010
Michael A. Durso District 5 2010
Phil Kauffman At-Large 2012
Timothy Hwang (Student Member) At-Large 2010
Jerry D. Weast (Superintendent) 1999 2011


Montgomery County is home of the Montgomery County Swim League, a youth (ages 4–18) competitive swimming league composed of ninety teams based at community pools throughout the county.

The Maryland Nighthawks, a member of the Premier Basketball League, play their games in the Hanley Center for Athletic Excellence located on the campus of Georgetown Preparatory Schoolmarker.

The Bethesda Big Train, Rockville Express, and Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts all play college level wooden bat baseball in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League.

There are future possibilities of a minor league baseball team forming to play for the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball to represent Montgomery County.

Liquor control

Montgomery County maintains a monopoly on the sale of "hard liquor" alcoholic beverages, while beer and wine may be sold at independently owned stores. This is similar to several U.S. states. The county is thus referred to as an alcoholic beverage control county.


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