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Rockville is the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. According to the 2005 census update, the city had a total population of 57,402, making it the fourth largest city in Maryland.
Situated in Piedmont region and crossed by three creeks (Rock Creek, Cabin John Creek, and Watts Branch), Rockville provided an excellent refuge for semi-nomadic Native Americans as early as 8000 BC. By the first millennium BC, a few of these groups had settled down into year-round agricultural communities that exploited the native flora, including sunflowers and marsh elder. By AD 1200, these early groups (dubbed Montgomery Indians by later archaeologists) were increasingly drawn into conflict with the Senecas and Susquehannocks who had migrated south from Pennsylvania and New York. Within the present-day boundaries of the city, six prehistoric sites have been uncovered and documented, and borne artifacts several thousand years old. By the year 1700, under pressure from European colonists, the majority of these original inhabitants had been driven away.
The first land patents in the Rockville area were obtained by Arthur Nelson between 1717 and 1735. Within three decades, the first permanent buildings in what would become the center of Rockville were established on this land. Still a part of Prince George's County at this time, the growth of Daniel Dulaney's Frederick Town prompted the separation of the western portion of the county, including Rockville, into Frederick County in 1748.
Being a small, unincorporated town, early Rockville was known by a variety of names, including Owen's Ordinary, Hungerford's Tavern, and Daley's Tavern. The first recorded mention of the settlement which would later become known as Rockville dates to the Braddock Expedition in 1755. On April 14, one of the approximately two thousand men who were accompanying General Edward Braddock through wrote the following: "we marched to larance Owings or Owings Oardianary, a Single House, it being 18 miles and very dirty." Owen's Ordinary was a small rest stop on Rock Creek Main Road (later the Rockville Pike), which stretched from George Town to Frederick Town, and was then one of the largest thoroughfares in the colony of Maryland.
On September 6, 1776, the Maryland Constitutional Convention agreed to a proposal introduced by Dr. Thomas Sprigg Wootton wherein Frederick County, the largest and most populous county in Maryland, would be divided into three smaller units. The southern portion of the county, of which Rockville was a part, was named Montgomery County. The most populous and prosperous urban center in this new county was George Town, but its location at the far southern edge rendered it worthless as a seat of local government. Rockville, a small, but centrally located and well travelled town, was chosen as the seat of the county's government. Thereafter, the village was referred to by all as Montgomery Court House.
In 1784, William Prather Williams, a local landowner, hired a surveyor to lay out much of the town. In his honour, many took to calling the town Williamsburgh. In practice, however, Williamsburgh and Montgomery Court House were used interchangeably. On July 16, 1803, when the area was officially entered into the county land records, however, the name used was "Rockville," believed to be derived from Rock Creek. Nevertheless, the name Montgomery Court House continued to appear on maps and other documents through the 1820s.
By petition of Rockville's citizens, the Maryland General Assembly incorporated the village on March 10, 1860. During the American Civil War, General George B. McClellan stayed at the Beall Dawson house in 1862. In addition, General J.E.B. Stuart and an army of 8,000 Confederate cavalrymen marched through and occupied Rockville on June 28, 1863 while on their way to Gettysburg and stayed at the Prettyman house. Jubal Anderson Early had also crossed through Maryland, on his way to and from his attack on Washington.
In 1873, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad arrived, making Rockville easily accessible from Washington, D.C. In July 1891, the Tennallytown and Rockville Railway inaugurated Rockville's first trolley service connecting to the Georgetown and Tennallytown Railway terminus at Western Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station in Rockville.
This provided service from Georgetown to Rockville, connecting Rockville to Washington, D.C. by trolley. Trolley service operated for four decades, until, eclipsed by the growing popularity of the automobile, service was halted in August 1935. The Blue Ridge Transportation Company provided bus service for Rockville and Montgomery County from 1924 through 1955. After 1955, Rockville would not see a concerted effort to develop a public transportation infrastructure until the 1970s, when the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) began work to extend the Washington Metro into Rockville and extended Metrobus service into Montgomery County. The Rockville station of Washington Metro was opened on December 15, 1984. Metrobus service was supplemented by Montgomery County's own Ride On bus service starting in 1979. MARC, Maryland's Rail Commuter service, serves Rockville with its Brunswick line. From Rockville MARC provides service to Union Station in Washington D.C. (southbound) and, Frederick and Martinsburg, WV (northbound), as well as intermediate points. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service from Rockville to Chicago and Washington D.C. The city's passenger rail station is located near the intersection of Hungerford Drive and Park Road.
From the 1960s, Rockville's town center, formerly one of the area's commercial centers, suffered from a period of decline. Attempts to revitalize interest in the region culminated in the unsuccessful Rockville Mall which failed to attract either major retailers or customers, and was demolished in 1994. Although efforts to restore the town center continue, the majority of the city's economic activity has since relocated along Rockville Pike (MD Route 355/Wisconsin Avenue). In 2004, Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo announced plans to renovate the Rockville Town Center, including building new stores and housing and relocating the city's library. The city is closely associated with the neighboring towns of Kensington and the unincorporated census-designated place, North Bethesda. The Music Center at Strathmore, an arts and theater center, opened in February 2005 in the latter of these two areas and is presently the second home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The United States Public Health Service headquarters office buildings are in South Rockville. In the past year, the new Rockville town center has been attracting people from all around the county as many new restaurants have opened there. The city is also home to Richard Montgomery High School, one of the top 15 high schools in the country and the best in Maryland, according to Newsweek Magazine.
The grave site of F. Scott Fitzgerald is located at St. Mary's Church, in the center of Rockville, and there is a small theater next to Glenview Mansion in the Civic Center Park named after him. The alternative rock band R.E.M. wrote and performed a song about Rockville, called "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville," that appears on the album Reckoning. 
Rockville is located at 35°5'1" North, 77°8'54" West (39.083708, -77.148226),GR1 in the approximate center of Montgomery County.
As of the 2003 census update, there are 52,375 people and 19,895 households living within the boundaries of the city. These figures are an increase from the earlier 2000 census, which cited a total population of 47,388 people, 17,247 households, and 12,003 families residing in the city.
The population density is 1,360.3/km² (3,524.1/mi²). There are 17,786 housing units at an average density of 510.6/km² (1,322.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.78% White, 9.11% African American, 0.34% Native American, 14.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.78% from other races, and 3.13% from two or more races. 11.67% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. Rockville is home to the largest Chinese community in Maryland, and one of the largest on the East Coast; the city is widely considered to be a Little Taipei. Rockville is also a center of the Washington D.C.'s Jewish population as it contains several synagogues, kosher restaurants, and the largest of the Washington area's three Jewish community centers which includes a Jewish nursing home, day school, theater, and educational facility. The community also boasts a sizeable Asian Indian population.
There are 17,247 households out of which 33.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% are married couples living together, 9.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% are non-families. 23.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.65 and the average family size is 3.13.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city as of 2003 is $73,275. As of 2000, the median income for a family was $79,051. Males have a median income of $53,764 versus $38,788 for females. The per capita income for the city is $30,518. 7.8% of the population and 5.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.9% of those under the age of 18 and 7.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Rockville has a council-manager form of government.
The current Mayor of Rockville is Larry Giammo. Previous mayors include:
- Rose Krasnow (1995-2001)
- James Coyle (1993-1995)
- Douglas M. Duncan (1987-1993)
- Steven Van Grack (1985-1987)
Rockville has a four-member City Council, whose members, along with the Mayor, serve as the legislative body of the city. The Council members for the 2005 to 2007 session are Susan Hoffmann, Bob Dorsey, Phyllis Marcuccio, and Anne Robbins.
Departments and offices
The city manager oversees the following departments:
- Community Planning and Development Services
- Human Resources
- Information and Technology
- Public Works
- Recreation and Parks
Rockville is served by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Institutions of higher education in Rockville include Montgomery College (Rockville Campus), University of Maryland University College (main campus is in Adelphi, Maryland), and Johns Hopkins University (Montgomery County Campus]; main campus is in Baltimore, Maryland).
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides intercity train service to Rockville. The city's passenger rail station is located at 251 Hungerford Drive (at Park Road), ZIP code 20850; this is also the location of the MARC station described above.
- Amtrak Train 29, the westbound Capitol Limited, is scheduled to depart Rockville daily with service to Pittsburg and overnight service to Chicago.
- Amtrak Train 30, the eastbound Capitol Limited, is scheduled to depart Rockville at 12:30pm on it's return to Washington Union Station. This train may run late however.