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Montgomery County, Maryland


Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County, Maryland
Downtown Rockville in 2001, the Black Rock Mill in 2006, the National Naval Medical Center in 2003, Shady Grove in 2004, and the Gaithersburg city hall in 2007.
Flag of Montgomery County, Maryland
Seal of Montgomery County, Maryland
Logo of Montgomery County, Maryland
Motto: "Gardez Bien"
(English: Watch Well)
Map of Maryland highlighting Montgomery County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the United States highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1776[1]
Named for Richard Montgomery
Seat Rockville
Largest community Germantown
 • Total 507 sq mi (1,313 km2)
 • Land 491 sq mi (1,272 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 3.1%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 1,016,677
 • Density 1,978/sq mi (764/km²)
Congressional districts 3rd, 6th, 8th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .gov.montgomerycountymdwww

Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 971,777, and a 2013 estimate put the population at 1,016,677.[2] It is the most populous county in Maryland. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville, although the census-designated place of Germantown is more populous.[3]

Montgomery County is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, the most populous of which are Silver Spring, Germantown and Bethesda, though the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers.[N 1]

It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States,[4] and has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate degrees.[5] In 2011, it was ranked by Forbes as the 10th richest in the United States, with a median household income of $92,213.[6][7]


The Maryland state legislature named Montgomery County after Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. The county's nickname of "MoCo" is derived from a portmanteau of "Montgomery" and "County".

The county's motto, adopted in 1976, is "Gardez Bien", a phrase meaning "Watch Well". The county's motto is also the motto of its namesake's family.[8][9][10]


Map of Montgomery County, Maryland. Compiled in the Bureau of Topographical Engineers from the latest and best authorities, September 1862.
The former flag of Montgomery County, Maryland, used from May 3, 1944 to October 5, 1976.

Early history

Before European immigration, 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 Falls 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 English settlement at Jamestown was probably the first European to explore the area, during his travels along the Potomac River and throughout the Chesapeake region.[11]

The Madison House in Brookeville was built around 1800 and originally owned by Caleb Bentley. The house provided refuge for President James Madison, on August 26, 1814, after the British burned Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812.

These lands were claimed by Europeans for the first time when Charles I of England.[12] However, it was not 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 British settlers began building farms and plantations in the area.[13]

These earliest settlers were English or Scottish immigrants from other portions of Maryland, German settlers moving down from Pennsylvania, or [14] 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 its disastrous defeat at Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.[15]

Like other regions of the American colonies, the region that is now Montgomery County saw protests against British taxation in the years before the Frederick Counties, naming it after General Richard Montgomery.[18] 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 later became Rockville.[19] The newly formed Montgomery County supplied arms, food and forage for the Continental Army during the Revolution, in addition to soldiers.[20]

In 1791, portions of Montgomery County, including Virginia that were later returned to Virginia.

19th century

In 1828, construction on the C&O Canal commenced and was completed in 1850, built primarily by Irish immigrants[21] Throughout the 19th century, agriculture dominated the economy in Montgomery County, with slaves playing a significant role, though the vast majority of farmers owned 10 slaves or less rather than large plantations.[22] In the first half of the 19th century, low tobacco prices and worn-out soil caused many tobacco farms to be abandoned.[23] Crop production gradually shifted away from tobacco and toward wheat and corn. Prior to the Civil War, Montgomery County allied itself with other slaveholding counties in southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.[21] Montgomery County was important in the abolitionist movement, especially among the Quakers in the northern part of the county near Sandy Spring.[24] Josiah Henson grew up as a slave on the Riley farm south of Rockville.[25] He wrote about his experiences in a memoir which became the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). 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. A school in Rockville for free African-Americans existed until 1866.[26] Another school for African-Americans was opened by 1877 in Rockville.[27]

Montgomery County's proximity to the nation's capital and split sympathies to North and South resulted in it being occupied by Union forces during the Civil War. The county was "invaded" on multiple occasions by Confederate and Union forces.[28]

In 1855, work on the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began, in order to provide a route between Washington, D.C., and Point of Rocks, Maryland.[29] In 1873, the railroad opened. The railroad spurred development at Takoma Park, Kensington, Garrett Park and Chevy Chase. By providing a much-needed transportation link, it also greatly increased the value of farmland and spurred the development of a dairy industry in the county.[30]

20th and 21st centuries

On July 1, 1922, the Montgomery County Police Department was established.[31] Prior to that time, law enforcement duties rested in the Montgomery County Sheriff and designated constables.[32] In 1922, the police department comprised of three to six officers who were appointed to two-year terms by the Board of County Commissioners, one of whom would be appointed as Chief.[32] In 1927, the police department was enlarged to twenty officers.[32]

Home rule

The county began with most legislative power in the hands of the Maryland state government, with a five-person Montgomery County Board of Commissioners who oversaw the administration of the county but could neither pass county laws nor enact policies.[33]

In 1915, Maryland amended its constitution.[33] According to the constitutional amendment,[34] a county's residents may propose a petition to create a nonpartisan Charter Board.[33] If the petition receives signatures from at least twenty percent of the county's registered voters, all county residents would vote to select the members of the Charter Board during the next general election.[33] The Charter Board would be authorized to draft a new system of county government, which could include a county council with the power to enact legislation and policies.[33] Charter Board's proposal would then be voted upon by registered voters during the following general election, and it would be enacted if approved by the voters.[33]

The county commissioners authorized the Brookings Institution to study the existing county government structure and suggest recommendations in 1938.[35] The 720-page report opined that the county had outgrown its form of government.[36] The study recommended the creation of a nonpartisan county council consisting of nine members representing defined districts of the county who could pass legislation, determine policy, and control over the administration of the county.[36] The study also recommended the hiring of a county administrator, the creation of an independent comptroller in charge of county finances, and a civil service commission.[36] The Montgomery County Civic Federation praised the study for its comprehensiveness.[37] The county commissioners appointed a citizen's committee to determine how to enact the study's recommendations.[38] The county commissioners strongly criticized the recommendation to create a county council, both because the council would be nonpartisan and because each county resident would be able to vote for only one representative rather than for all nine.[38]

In 1942, Montgomery County Charter Committee was organized, which was formed primarily to circulate petitions to form a Charter Board.[39] The Charter Board petitioned to form a county council with the power to pass laws without the consent of the Maryland General Assembly and with authority over the administration the county.[40] While the Democratic Party did not explicitly denounce the charter,[41] it issued a statement calling out the ostensibly nonpartisan movement for hidden partisan goals[42] and claimed that backers of the charter petition for their alleged personal and political attacks on the Democratic Party and its officials.[43] The newly formed Independent Party endorsed the charter, praising county residents' goal of improving their form of government.[44] In the November 1942 election, county residents voted in favor of forming a Charter Board.[45]

In 1943, the Charter Board released its draft charter.[46] The council would have nine unpaid members,[47] of which five would represent each of five single-member districts and four would represent the county at-large.[46] Council seats would be nonpartisan, each seat would be held for four years, and elections would occur every two years.[46] The council would have the power to enact legislation and hire a county manager, to whom all governmental department heads would report.[46] All sessions of the council would be open to the public.[46] The office of county treasurer would be abolished and replaced by a director of finance, who would be responsible for assessment and collection of taxes, assessments, and licenses, custody and disbursement of public funds and property, and preparation of monthly financial statements.[46] A department of public works, department of education, department of safety, department of welfare, and department of health would also be created.[46]

The Montgomery County Charter Board opened its campaign headquarters in Bethesda, to serve as an information center regarding the draft charter.[48] The Charter Board emphasized that the draft charter would allow for county affairs to be decided by local representatives rather than by a vote of members of the Maryland General Assembly who represent citizens of all parts of the state.[48] Another group opposing the draft charter opened its headquarters in Bethesda.[47] The group said there was no good reason to abolish the functional state-level system already in place, and that the draft charter would increase taxes and establish heads of governmental agencies with indefinite terms who are not directly accountable to the public.[47] The group also said that making the council seats nonpartisan would go against the country's political history.[47] The editorial board of The Washington Post supported the draft charter.[49] The Montgomery County League of Women Voters also endorsed the draft charter.[50]

In a near-record turnout,[51] a 1946 vote to enact a home-rule charter failed by a vote of 14,471 to 13,270.[52] Following the vote, proponents of the charter said they would not give up the fight.[53]

Several months later, Montgomery County Democratic Party leader Col. E. Brooke Lee said he would support Montgomery County home rule by way of an act of the Maryland state legislature.[53] Lee proposed a bill to create a position of county supervisor, who would be in charge of routine county business, would appoint county employees subject to civil service rules and regulations, would supervise expenditures, and would prepare the operating and capital budgets.[54] The bill did not disband the county commissioners or create a county council.[54] The bill passed the state legislature and was signed by Governor Herbert R. O'Conor in 1945.[54] The county commissioners appointed Willard F. Day to the position.[54]

In 1948, by a vote of 17,809 in favor and 13,752 against, voters approved a charter for a "Council-Manager" form of government, making Montgomery County the first home-rule county in Maryland.[55] The charter created an elected seven-member County Council with the power to pass local laws.[55] All seven Council Members would be elected at-large by all county residents.[56] Five would have to live in five different residence districts, while the other two could live anywhere within the county.[56] The Council would serve as both the legislative and executive functions of the county.[57] Council members would elect one of their own to serve as president of the Council.[57] The charter also authorized the hiring of a county manager, the top administrative official,[58] who could be dismissed by the Council after a public hearing.[59] The charter created a department of public works, department of finance, and office of the county attorney, while it abolished the positions of county treasurer and police commissioner.[59] The first County County was elected in 1949.[58]

County Executive

In 1962, a county civic group advocated for the election of a county executive.[60] The group's report said that the new position would give citizens another place to go if their concerns were refused by the Montgomery County Council.[60] The group said that the fact that the county had four appointed county managers in thirteen years demonstrates that establishing the position in 1948 had not been a stunning success.[60] The group also advocated for nonpartisan elections for council members.[61] Among the reasons for the suggested changes in governance is the fact that the county's population had more than doubled since the governmental system had been established in 1948.[60]

In 1966, the Montgomery County Council adopted a proposed charter amendment to create a new elected position of County Executive.[62] Elected to a four-year term, the County Executive could veto legislation passed by the County Council, although five members of the County Council could vote to overrule the veto.[62] All Council Members would continue to be at-large, but they would need to live in seven different residence districts.[62] Republicans favored a referendum on the proposed charter amendment, while Democrats favored it in principle but urged the specific amendment's defeat because the duties of the County Executive were not specific enough.[63][64] In the referendum held in September 1966,[65] the referendum was defeated, with 57 percent of voters opposed.[66]

In February 1967, the Montgomery County Council formed a commission to draft a charter amendment to elect a county executive.[67] The commission's plan was to separate the legislative and executive functions of government.[57] The county council would continue to be the legislative branch of county government, and an elected full-time County Executive who could veto legislation passed by the Council; it would take five votes by the Council to override a veto.[68] The County Executive would hire a chief administrative officer to supervise the daily operations of the government.[68] All Council Members would be elected at-large by all county residents, but five of the seven would need to live in each of five different residential districts of substantially equal population.[68] In November 1968, the charter amendment was approved, with 53 percent of votes in favor.[69]

In the first election for County Executive, held in 1970,[69] Republican James P. Gleason defeated Democrat William W. Greenhalgh by a margin of 420 votes.[70]

In November 1986, 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.[71]


In November 1995, the City of Takoma Park held a state-sponsored referendum asking whether the portions of the city in Prince George's County should be annexed to Montgomery County or vice versa. The majority of votes in the referendum were in favor of unification of the entire city in Montgomery County.[72] Following subsequent approval by both counties' councils and the [73]

In October 2002, the county was the site of several of the Beltway sniper attacks.

The county has a number of sites on the National Register of Historic Places.[74]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 507 square miles (1,310 km2), of which 491 square miles (1,270 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (3.1%) is water.[75] Montgomery County lies entirely inside the Piedmont plateau. The topography is generally rolling. Elevations range from a low of near sea level along the Potomac River to about 875 feet in the northernmost portion of the county north of Damascus. Relief between valley bottoms and hilltops is several hundred feet. The northern boundary of the county was set (from the northeast to the northwest) as westerly along the course of the Patuxent River, then from the source of this river NE to the source of the South Branch of the Patapsco River at Parr's Spring, then a long straight line roughly southwest to the junction of the Monocacy and Potomac Rivers. This forms a geographic oddity of a sliver of land at the far northern tip of the county that is several miles long and averages less than 200 yards wide. In fact, a single house on Lakeview Drive and its yard is sectioned by this sliver into 3 portions, each separately contained within Montgomery, Frederick and Howard Counties. These jurisdictions and Carroll County meet at a single point at Parr's Spring on Parr's Ridge.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Montgomery County lies within the northern portions of the humid subtropical climate. It has four distinct seasons, including hot, humid summers and chilly winters. Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with an inter-quartile range of 37–45 inches. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, and account for the majority of the average 35 days with thunder per year. Heavy precipitation is most common in summer thunderstorms, but droughty periods are more likely during these months since summer precipitation is more variable than winter.

The mean annual temperature is 55 °F (13 °C). The average summer (June–July–August) afternoon maximum is about 85 °F (29 °C) while the morning minimums average 66 °F (19 °C). In winter (December–January–February), these averages are 44 °F (7 °C) and 28 °F (−2 °C). Extreme heat waves can raise readings to around and slightly above 100 °F (38 °C), and arctic blasts can drop lows to −10 °F (−23 °C) to 0 °F (−18 °C).

The average yearly snowfall for the county ranges from 32" in the southernmost extents to 89" across the northern portions where elevations are highest (850 ft. asl) in the Damascus area. Infrequent, large snowstorms, called nor'easters (named for their formation along the Northeast coast, and more importantly, their strong winds from the northeast) can sometimes paralyze the area. The greatest seasonal snowfall total on record was 98.5" in Damascus during the 2009–2010 season.


At the 2010 census, there were 971,777 people residing in the county. The population density was 1,762 per square mile (680/km2). In 2000, there were 334,632 housing units at an average density of 675 per square mile (261/km2).


The ethnic makeup of the county, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, was the following:


In 2000, significant national ethnic groups included people of Irish (8.5%), German (8.1%), English (6.8%) and American (5.0%) ancestry according to Census 2000. The county also has a sizable Jewish population, and is home to an increasing number of affluent Indian Americans, Armenian Americans and Iranian Americans. There is also a large population of African immigrants to the United States.

There were 324,565 households 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 tenth highest median household income in the United States, and the second highest in the state after Howard County as of 2011. The median household income in 2007 was $89,284 and the median family income 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.[80]

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.


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 U.S., holding the principal cluster and companies of large corporate size in the state. Biomedical research is carried out by institutions including Johns Hopkins University's Montgomery County Campus (JHU MCC), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Federal government agencies engaged in related work include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

Many large firms are based in the county, including Discovery Communications, Coventry Health Care, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Host Hotels & Resorts, Travel Channel, Ritz-Carlton, Robert Louis Johnson Companies (RLJ Companies), Choice Hotels, MedImmune, TV One, BAE Systems Inc, Hughes Network Systems and GEICO.

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 (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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

Top employers

According to the County's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[81] the top employers by number of employees in the county are:
# Employer # of Employees
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 29,700
2 Montgomery County Public Schools 22,016
3 U.S. Department of Defense 12,690
4 Montgomery County government 8,849
5 U.S. Department of Commerce 8,250
6 Marriott International 5,441
7 Adventist HealthCare 5,310
8 Lockheed Martin 4,745
9 Nuclear Regulatory Commission 3,840
10 Giant 3,842
11 Verizon 3,292


Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2012 27.1% 123,353 70.9% 323,400[82]
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
The former Montgomery County Courthouse in Rockville, Maryland, in January 2006, which served as the county courthouse from 1931 to 1982. The building now houses a state district court after the county court was moved to the Montgomery County Judicial Center.

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 Montgomery County Police Department provides county-wide law enforcement services.

County executives

The Montgomery County Judicial Center courthouse in Rockville, Maryland, in May 2010.
The office of the county executive was established in 1970. The first executive was James P. Gleason. The current executive is Isiah "Ike" Leggett, who was sworn in for his first term on December 4, 2006. He was reelected on November 2, 2010.
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—

Legislative body

The last Republican serving on the Montgomery County Council, Howard A. Denis of District 1 (Potomac/Bethesda), was defeated in 2006. The board has since been all-Democratic. The members of the County Council for the 2010–2014 term are:

County Council
Position Name Affiliation District Region First Elected
  President Craig L. Rice Democratic 2 Germantown/Clarksburg/Darnestown/Damascus 2010
  Vice President George L. Leventhal Democratic At-Large At-Large 2006
  Member Nancy Navarro Democratic 4 Wheaton/Glenmont/Aspen Hill/Ashton/Laytonsville 2009
  Member Roger Berliner Democratic 1 Poolesville/Potomac/Bethesda/Chevy Chase 2006
  Member Phil Andrews Democratic 3 Rockville/Gaithersburg 1998
  Member Valerie Ervin Democratic 5 Silver Spring/Takoma Park/Burtonsville 2006
  Member Marc Elrich Democratic At-Large At-Large 2006
  Member Nancy Floreen Democratic At-Large At-Large 2002
  Member Hans Riemer Democratic At-Large At-Large 2010

Bi-county agencies

Montgomery and 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).

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 and at a single location within the county for a store chain. This is similar to several U.S. states. The county is thus referred to as an alcoholic beverage control county.



Montgomery County is approximately bisected northwest-southeast by Interstate 270, a connector linking Interstate 70 with Washington. I-270 divides in North Bethesda 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 Grove Metro station.

A fiercely and long-contested east-west toll freeway, the Maryland Route 355, a surface street known for much of its length as Rockville Pike or simply "The 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.

Commercial buildings located at the intersection of Maryland Route 355 (Wisconsin Avenue), and Maryland Route 410 (East West Highway), near the Bethesda Metro station entrance, in downtown Bethesda in July 2009.

Other major routes include 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.[83]

A computer system coordinates the setting of 750 traffic lights. In 2009, the computer system failed for a brief period, causing considerable problems.[84]


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 Station and Chicago Union Station.

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 Glenmont.

There has been much debate on the construction of two new transitways, both of which are still in the early stages of design. The Beltway; and the Corridor Cities Transitway would provide an extension of the Red Line corridor from Gaithersburg to Germantown and beyond.


The Montgomery County Airpark (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.[85] Commercial air service is provided at the nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International, and BWI Airports.


Elementary and secondary public schools are operated by the Montgomery County Public Schools. The county is also served by Montgomery College, 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.

The "Smondrowski Amendment"

On November 11, 2014, the Board approved an amendment introduced by Rebecca Smondrowksi to modify the school calendar to delete all references to religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. The amendment was in response to requests by an interfaith organization called Equality for Eid which asked that the listing for the Muslim Holiday, Eid Al-Adha be listed along side Yom Kippur which occurred on the same day.

The Smondrowski amendment received both national[1] and international attention [2]. Criticism of the Smondrowski amendment came from a variety of sources including the Montgomery County Executive, Isiah Leggett, Congressman John Delaney[3] and even actor Chuck Norris.

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

Name District Term Ends
Shirley Brandman At-Large 2010
Patricia O'Neill (President) District 3 2010
Laura Berthiaume District 2 2012
Christopher S. Barclay (Vice-President) District 4 2012
Judith Docca District 1 2010
Michael A. Durso District 5 2010
Phil Kauffman At-Large 2012
Dahlia Huh (Student Member) At-Large 2014
Joshua P. Starr (Superintendent) 2012 -



Of Montgomery County's population, 13% is Catholic, 5% is Baptist, 4% is Evangelical Protestant, 3% is Jewish, 3% is Methodist/Pietist, 2% is Adventist, 2% is Presbyterian, 1% is Episcopalian/Anglican, 1% is Mormon, 1% is Muslim, 1% is Lutheran, 1% is Eastern Orthodox, 1% is Pentecostal, 1% is Buddhist, and 1% is Hindu.[86][N 2]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church maintains its General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring Maryland.[87]


Bethesda's Congressional Country Club has hosted four Major Championships, including three playings of the U.S. Open, most recently in 2011 which was won by Rory McIlroy. The Club also hosts the AT&T National, an annual event on the PGA Tour which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Previously, neighboring TPC at Avenel hosted the Booz Allen Classic.

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

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.

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

Montgomery County State Agricultural Fair

Montgomery County Fairgrounds

Since 1949 the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, the largest in the state, showcases farm life in the county. The week long event offers family events, carnival rides, live animals, entertainment and food. Visitors can also purchase canned and baked goods, clothing, quilts and produce from local county farmers.[88]


Takoma Park




Special Tax Districts

Occupying a middle ground between incorporated and unincorporated areas are Special Tax Districts, quasi-municipal unincorporated areas created by legislation passed by either the Maryland General Assembly or the county.[89] The Special Tax Districts generally have limited purposes, such as providing some municipal services or improvements to drainage or street lighting.[89] Special Tax Districts lack home rule authority and must petition their cognizant governmental entity 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:

Census-designated places

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 census-designated places in the county:

Silver Spring

Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. ^ Although Rockville is the most populous incorporated city in Montgomery County, Germantown, an unincorporated census-designated place, is the most populous locale in the county.
  2. ^ These figures count adherents, meaning all full members, their children, and others who regularly attend services. In all of Montgomery County, 40% of the population is adherent to any particular religion.


  1. ^ a b "Montgomery County Centennial: An Old-Fashioned Maryland Reunion". The Baltimore Sun. September 7, 1876. p. 1. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "Maryland by Place – GCT-PH1-R. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density (geographies ranked by total population): 2000". Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  4. ^ Morello, Carol; Mellnick, Ted (September 19, 2012). "Seven of nation's 10 most affluent counties are in Washington region". Retrieved April 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ US Census Bureau: R1403. Percent of People 25 Years and Over Who Have Completed an Advanced Degree: 2004
  6. ^ "Complete List: America's Richest Counties",, February 2, 2008
  7. ^ "Montgomery County QuickFacts", September 9, 2009
  8. ^ Clan Montgomery Society (June 14, 2008). "Montgomery Motto". Clan Montgomery Symbols. Clan Montgomery Society. Retrieved September 5, 2008. “Garde” (pronounced gard-uh) or “Gardez” (pronounced garday) means “watch”, in the sense of “look out” or “on guard”. “Bien” (pronounced bee-ann) means “good” to give the overall meaning of “Watch Well”. 
  9. ^ Montgomery Planning (January 26, 2012). "Places From the Past". Montgomery County Historic Sites. 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910: Montgomery County Planning Department. Retrieved April 30, 2012. Gardez Bien, adopted in 1976 as the county motto, means to guard well or take good care 
  10. ^ House of Names (2014). "Montgomery Family Crest and Name History". House of Names. Swyrich Corporation. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ Offutt, pages 11–13
  12. ^ Offutt, page 9
  13. ^ Offutt, pages 18–19
  14. ^ Offutt, pages 19–21
  15. ^ Offutt, page 23
  16. ^ MacMaster, Richard K.; Hiebert, Ray Eldon (1976). A Grateful Remembrance: The Story of Montgomery County, Maryland 1776-1976. Rockville, MD: Montgomery County Government and Montgomery County Historical Society. p. 30.  
  17. ^ Offutt, page 28
  18. ^ McMaster and Hiebert, p 41
  19. ^ Offutt, pages 29–30
  20. ^ Offutt, page 32
  21. ^ a b MacMaster and Hiebert, p 101
  22. ^ MacMaster and Hiebert, p 152
  23. ^ MacMaster and Hiebert, p 113-116
  24. ^ McMaster and Hiebert, p 48
  25. ^ MacMaster and Hiebert, p 154
  26. ^ "Colored School in Rockville Closed". Washington Evening Star. June 25, 1866. p. 2. 
  27. ^ "The colored public school in Rockville, Md. has over a hundred pupils, some of whom live five miles from town, but walk to and from school regularly". Washington Evening Star. May 19, 1877. p. 5. 
  28. ^ Mary Kay Harper (November 16, 2009). "Must have title". Civil War The Smithsonian Associates. 
  29. ^ Office of Metropolitan Railroad Company (January 16, 1855). "Notice to Contractors" (classified advertisement). Washington Evening Star. p. 4. 
  30. ^ MacMaster and Hiebert, p 209-10
  31. ^ "County police department celebrates 75th anniversary". The Gazette. 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877: Post-Newsweek Media, Inc. July 2, 1997. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c "Montgomery County, Maryland - Government, Executive Branch, Public Safety: Department of Police". Maryland State Archives. State of Maryland. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f Venemann, Chester R. (August 31, 1942). "Many Confused By Charter Fight: Montgomery Plan Is Explained as Merely Opening Chance of Reform to Voters". The Washington Post. p. B11. 
  34. ^ "Proclamation: Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of Maryland". The Baltimore Sun. August 3, 1915. p. 11. 
  35. ^ "Brookings Institution to Make Montgomery County Survey: Commissioners Limit Cost to $5,000; Report to Include Recommended Changes; Board is Unanimous in Acceptance". The Washington Post. November 30, 1938. p. 16. 
  36. ^ a b c Secrest, James D. (March 16, 1941). "Overhaul Montgomery Setup, Brookings Report Recommends: Montgomery Setup, Brookings Report Recommends". The Washington Post. p. 1. 
  37. ^ "Brookings Montgomery Survey Praised". The Washington Post. March 17, 1941. p. 8. 
  38. ^ a b "Officials Call Brookings Plan Radical: Would Scrap Time-Honored System, Assert Montgomery Heads". The Washington Post. August 20, 1941. p. 13. 
  39. ^ "Citizens Seek County Charter In Montgomery". The Washington Post. July 2, 1942. p. 30. 
  40. ^ "More Home Rule Called Charter Aim". The Washington Post. August 15, 1942. p. 12. 
  41. ^ Venemann, Chester R. (September 4, 1942). "Montgomery Politicians Mum On Charter Vote Predictions". The Washington Post. p. B8. 
  42. ^ "Democrats Give Statement On Charter". The Washington Post. September 6, 1942. p. X7. 
  43. ^ "Democrats Spurn Truce in Charter Fight". The Washington Post. September 13, 1942. p. SP8. 
  44. ^ "Montgomery Independents Back Charter". The Washington Post. September 5, 1942. p. 16. 
  45. ^ "Montgomery Now Faces Job Of Drafting County Charter". The Washington Post. Nov 5, 1942. p. 15. 
  46. ^ a b c d e f g "Board of 9 Men Would Rule Montgomery County Under Terms of New Charter". The Washington Post. April 12, 1943. p. 8. 
  47. ^ a b c d "Anticharter Unit Forms in Montgomery". The Washington Post. August 25, 1944. p. 9. 
  48. ^ a b "Charter Committee Opens Headquarters in Montgomery". The Washington Post. May 16, 1944. p. 4. 
  49. ^ "Montgomery Charter" (editorial). The Washington Post. April 17, 1943. p. 10. 
  50. ^ "Montgomery Women Voters Back Charter". The Washington Post. March 25, 1944. p. 3. 
  51. ^ "Near-Record Vote Crowds Md. Polls". Associated Press (The Washington Post). November 8, 1944. p. 5. 
  52. ^ "Charter Plan In Montgomery Is Defeated". The Washington Post. November 9, 1944. p. 7. 
  53. ^ a b "Mr. Lee's Sudden Switch To The Support Of Home Rule". The Baltimore Sun. February 14, 1945. p. 12. 
  54. ^ a b c d "Will Montgomery County Have Better Government Now?". The Baltimore Sun. July 28, 1945. p. 6. 
  55. ^ a b "Montgomery Votes Heavily For Charter: Montgomery Votes Charter". The Washington Post. November 3, 1948. p. 1. 
  56. ^ a b Feinberg, Lawrence (April 24, 1968). "Montgomery Council Expansion Proposed". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  57. ^ a b c Rovner, Sandy (August 7, 1967). "Montgomery Plan Devised: It Adds Full-Time, Elected President Of Council". The Baltimore Sun. p. A7. 
  58. ^ a b "A New Government In Montgomery County". The Baltimore Sun. January 19, 1949. p. 10. 
  59. ^ a b Farquhar, Roger B. (November 4, 1948). "Charter Council Plan Set in Motion". The Washington Post. p. 4. 
  60. ^ a b c d Dessoff, Alan L. (June 12, 1962). "Citizens Group Urges Big Changes in County". B9. 
  61. ^ Dessoff, Alan L. (December 10, 1962). "Citizens Propose Major Changes In Montgomery Government Plan". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  62. ^ a b c Yenckel, James T. (July 13, 1966). "Voters Will Decide On New Executive For Montgomery". The Washington Post. p. C2. 
  63. ^ Gresham, Katharine (November 3, 1966). "Republicans Push County Executive For Montgomery". The Washington Post. p. G6. 
  64. ^ Douglas, Walter B. (October 16, 1966). "Montgomery to Vote On Elected Executive: Party Stands Other Questions". The Washington Post. p. B2. 
  65. ^ "Referendum Prepared on County Shift". The Washington Post. July 20, 1966. p. C4. 
  66. ^ "Montgomery County Unofficial Vote Tally". The Washington Post. November 10, 1966. p. A9. 
  67. ^ Rovner, Sandy (February 8, 1967). "Montgomery Head Urged: Council Moves To Provide For County Executive". The Baltimore Sun. p. A9. 
  68. ^ a b c Feinberg, Lawrence (October 20, 1968). "Montgomery Charter Draws Little Fire: Center of Argument". The Washington Post. p. D2. 
  69. ^ a b Rovner, Sandy (November 6, 1968). "Charter Backed in Montgomery: First County Executive To Be Elected In 2 Years". The Baltimore Sun. p. C11. 
  70. ^ "Greenhalgh Concedes Race: For Montgomery Executive". The Washington Post. November 9, 1970. p. C1. 
  71. ^ "Montgomery County, Maryland: Our History and Government" (PDF). Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  72. ^ Montgomery, David (November 8, 1995). "In a Montgomery State of Mind, Takoma Park Votes to Unify". Washington Post. 
  73. ^ "Substantial Changes to Counties and County Equivalent Entities: 1970-Present". Census Bureau. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  74. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  75. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  76. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  77. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
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  79. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  80. ^ "Montgomery County, MD Fact Sheet". Census Bureau. 2005–2007. 
  81. ^ Montgomery County, Maryland Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, for the Year ended June 30, 2011
  82. ^ Maryland State Board of Elections. (November 28, 2012). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  83. ^ Spivack, Miranda S. (March 13, 2007). "Cameras Deployed To Slow Speeders -". Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  84. ^ Ashley Halsey III (November 5, 2009). "Humming along with technology, until it's not". Washington Post (Washington Post). pp. A1. 
  85. ^ "Davis Airport". Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  86. ^ "County Membership Report: Montgomery County, Maryland: Religious Traditions, 2010".  
  87. ^ "Contact". Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  88. ^
  89. ^ a b "Special Taxing Districts and Regional Agencies". 1998 Legislative Handbook. General Assembly of Maryland. 1998. Archived from the original on March 17, 2008. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Census Incorporated Places and Census Designated Places in Montgomery County, as shown by Maryland Department of Planning
  • The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce
  • Why Is It Named Montgomery County?
  • Montgomery County Documentary produced by WETA-TV
  • Montgomery County Digital Aerial Photo Image Server
  • ZIP Code Areas. Maryland Department of Planning. 2011.
  • Montgomery County: Independent City, County Subdivisions, and Other Places. U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Page E-15.

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