Montgomery County Information
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Montgomery County of the U.S. state of Maryland is situated just north of Washington, D.C. and Southwest of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the nation, and has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years old that hold an advanced degree. The county seat is Rockville and the largest municipality is the city of Gaithersburg. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, the most populous of which is Silver Spring. It is a part of both the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.Economy
Montgomery County is an important business and research center. Along with the rest of the state of Maryland, Montgomery County is the epicenter for biotechnology in the Mid-Atlantic region. The county is the third largest biotechnology cluster in the nation, holding the principal cluster and companies of large corporate size in the state.
Much research is done in the county through institutions like Johns Hopkins University's Montgomery County Campus (JHU MCC), Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.
Many large firms are based in the county. Discovery Communications, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Host Marriott, Robert Louis Johnson Companies (RLJ Cos), Choice Hotels, MedImmune, Chevy Chase Bank, TV One, BAE Systems Inc, Hughes Network Systems, and GEICO are just a few of the large and popular firms headquartered in Montgomery County.
There are also several government agencies that are based in Montgomery County including, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The area now known as Montgomery County was originally a part of Charles County. In 1696 parts of Charles and Baltimore Counties were split off to form the new Prince George's County. In turn, in 1748, a portion of Prince George's County produced Frederick County. Montgomery County was formed in 1776 by the splitting of Frederick County. The former Frederick County was subdivided into three; the central portion remained Frederick County, while the western was named Washington County in honor of General (later President) George Washington, and the eastern part was named Montgomery County in honor of another Revolutionary War general, Richard Montgomery.
In 1791, portions of Montgomery County, including Georgetown, were ceded to form the new District of Columbia, along with portions of Prince George's County, Maryland, as well as parts of Virginia 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. In the 1860 presidential election, Montgomery County was one of only four Southern counties to vote for Abraham Lincoln.
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.
In 1873, the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opened, with a route between Washington, D.C. and Point of Rocks, Maryland. The railroad spurred development at Takoma Park, Kensington, Garrett Park, and Chevy Chase.
On July 1, 1997, Montgomery County annexed a portion of Prince George's County, after residents of Takoma Park, which spanned both counties, voted to be entirely within the more affluent Montgomery County.
- Carroll County (north)
- Frederick County (northwest)
- Howard County (north)
- Prince George's County (east)
- Washington, D.C. (south)
- Loudoun County, Virginia (west)
- Fairfax County, Virginia (southwest)
As of the 2000 census², there were 873,341 people, 324,565 households, and 224,274 families residing in the county. The population density was 680/km² (1,762/mi²). There were 334,632 housing units at an average density of 261/km² (675/mi²).
The racial makeup of the county was:
- 64.78% White
- 15.14% African American
- 0.29% Native American
- 11.3% Asian
- 0.05% Pacific Islander
- 5.0% from other races
- 3.45% from two or more races.
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 sizeable 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.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.4% 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.
The median income for a household in the county was $71,551, and the median income for a family was $84,035. Males had a median income of $54,005 versus $40,714 for females. The per capita income for the county was $35,684. About 3.7% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
A significant division in terms of diversity and affluence exists between the eastern part of the county, centered around Silver Spring and Olney, the western part of the county, centered around the Bethesda and Potomac, and the agricultural northern portion of the county. The complaint that the western side of the county is given special favors at the expense of the eastern side, such as the Intercounty Connector highway project, has often been raised.
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.
According to the Washington Post, Montgomery County has the largest South American community in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
Law and government
Montgomery County was granted a charter form of government in 1948.
|James P. Gleason||Republican||1970–1978|
|Charles W. Gilchrist||Democrat||1978–1986|
|Douglas M. Duncan||Democrat||1994–2006|
|Isiah "Ike" Leggett||Democrat||2006—|
Ike Leggett was sworn in on December 4, 2006.
The present form of government of Montgomery County dates to November 1948 when the voters changed the form of government from a County Commission/County Manager system, as provided in the original 1948 home rule Charter, to a County Executive/County Council form of government. The first seven-member County Council was elected in 1970. Originally all of the Councilmembers were elected at large (that is, by all of the voters). Five members were required to reside in their Councilmanic 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 councilmanic district and four are elected at-large. Each voter may vote for five Councilmembers—four at-large and one from the district in which they reside.
The current members of the County Council for the 2006-2010 term are:
|Roger Berliner||Democrat||District 1 (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Garrett Park)|
|Mike Knapp||Democrat||District 2 (Upcounty)|
|Phil Andrews||Democrat||District 3 (Rockville, Gaithersburg)|
|Marilyn Praisner||Democrat||District 4 (East County)|
|Valerie Ervin||Democrat||District 5 (Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton)|
Cities and towns
This county contains the following incorporated municipalities:
- 3 Cities:
- 12 Towns:
- Barnesville (incorporated 1888)
- Brookeville (incorporated 1808)
- Chevy Chase (Town of) (incorporated 1918)
- Chevy Chase View (incorporated 1993)
- Chevy Chase Village (incorporated 1910; note that, despite its name, it is a town and not a village.)
- Garrett Park (incorporated 1898)
- Glen Echo (incorporated 1904)
- Kensington (incorporated 1894)
- Laytonsville (incorporated 1892)
- Poolesville (incorporated 1867)
- Somerset (incorporated 1906)
- Washington Grove (incorporated 1937)
- 4 Villages:
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 Bethesda and Silver Spring.
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. Three Special Tax Districts remain in the county:
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:
- Ashton-Sandy Spring (a combination of the communities of Ashton and Sandy Spring recognized as a unit by the Census Bureau)
- Aspen Hill
- Cabin John
- Calverton (This CDP is shared between Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.)
- Chevy Chase (Note that this is also the name of an incorporated town!)
- Forest Glen
- Friendship Village (This CDP includes the Village of Friendship Heights.)
- Hillandale (This CDP is shared between Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.)
- Kemp Mill
- Montgomery Village
- North Bethesda
- North Kensington
- North Potomac
- Silver Spring
- South Kensington
- Wheaton-Glenmont (a combination of the communities of Wheaton and Glenmont recognized as a unit by the Census Bureau)
- White Oak
Other unincorporated places:
Montgomery County is approximately bisected north-south 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 longstanding, fiercely contested plan exists to construct an east-west freeway, the Intercounty Connector (ICC). The ICC would extend Interstate 370 to connect I-270 with Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1 in Laurel, Prince George's County.
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 Avenue); Maryland Route 650 (New Hampshire Avenue), and Maryland Route 28 (Darnestown Road, Montgomery Avenue and Norbeck 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.
Montgomery County is served by three passenger rail systems.
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 Metro serve Montgomery County. It follows the CSX right of way to the west, roughly paralleling Route 355 from Friendship Heights to Shady Grove. The eastern side runs between the two tracks of the CSX right of way from Washington Union Station to Silver Spring, and roughly parallels Georgia Avenue, from Silver Spring to 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 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 in and around Gaithersburg.
The Montgomery County Airpark (FAA GAI, ICAO KGAI), a general aviation facility in Gaithersburg, is the only airport in the county. Commercial air service is provided at the nearby Reagan National, Dulles, and BWI Airports.
Schools are operated by the Montgomery County Public Schools.
Montgomery County is home of the Montgomery County Swim League, a youth (ages 4-18) competitive swimming league comprised of 90 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 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.