Gaithersburg, Maryland

Gaithersburg (/ˈɡθərz.bərɡ/ About this soundpronunciation ), officially the City of Gaithersburg, is a city in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. Census, Gaithersburg had a population of 59,933, making it the fourth-largest incorporated city in the state, behind Baltimore, Frederick, and Rockville.[6] Gaithersburg is located to the northwest of Washington, and is considered a suburb and a primary city within the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. Gaithersburg was incorporated as a town in 1878 and as a city in 1968.

Gaithersburg, Maryland
City of Gaithersburg
The NIST Advanced Measurement Laboratory, the Gaithersburg city hall, a row of Gaithersburg townhouses, the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the John A. Belt Building, and the Washingtonian Waterfront
The NIST Advanced Measurement Laboratory, the Gaithersburg city hall, a row of Gaithersburg townhouses, the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the John A. Belt Building, and the Washingtonian Waterfront
Flag of Gaithersburg, Maryland
Official seal of Gaithersburg, Maryland
Coat of arms of Gaithersburg, Maryland
Coat of arms
"A Character Counts! city"
Location in Montgomery County and the U.S. state of Maryland
Location in Montgomery County and the U.S. state of Maryland
Gaithersburg is located in Maryland
Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
Gaithersburg is located in the United States
Gaithersburg (the United States)
Coordinates: 39°7′55″N 77°13′35″W / 39.13194°N 77.22639°W / 39.13194; -77.22639Coordinates: 39°7′55″N 77°13′35″W / 39.13194°N 77.22639°W / 39.13194; -77.22639
Country United States
State Maryland
County Montgomery
Settled (as Log Town)1765
Incorporated (as a town)April 5, 1878
Ascension (to city status)1968[1]
Named forBenjamin Gaither
 • MayorJud Ashman[2]
 • Total10.44 sq mi (27.04 km2)
 • Land10.32 sq mi (26.73 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
350 ft (106 m)
 • Total59,933
 • Estimate 
 • RankUS: 521th
 • Density6,588.33/sq mi (2,543.81/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)301
FIPS code24-31175
GNIS feature ID0593389

Gaithersburg is divided into east and west sections, separated by Interstate 270. The eastern section of the city is older and is the original portion of the town before more recent growth. Landmarks and buildings from that time can still be seen in many places but especially in the historic central business district of Gaithersburg called "Olde Towne". The east side also includes Lakeforest Mall, City Hall, and the Montgomery County Fair grounds, and Bohrer Park (a well-known joint community recreation center and outdoor water park for kids and families). The west side of the city has many wealthier neighborhoods that were designed with smart growth techniques and embrace New Urbanism. These include the award-winning Kentlands community, the Lakelands community, and the Washingtonian Center (better known as Rio), a popular shopping/business district. Consumers often come to this area during Black Friday and other shopping holidays for the deals and variety of huge brand name stores like Target and Dick's Sporting Goods, and smaller stores like Francesca's and Blue Mercury. Two New Urbanism communities are under construction, including Watkins Mill Town Center (Casey East and West), and the massive "Science City"[citation needed]. The state has a bus rapid transit line, Corridor Cities Transitway or "CCT", planned for the western portion of the city starting at Shady Grove Metro Station and connecting all the high density western Gaithersburg neighborhoods with a total of eight stops planned in the city.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is headquartered in Gaithersburg directly west of I-270.[N 1] Other major employers in the city include IBM, Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services business area headquarters, AstraZeneca, and the French multinational corporation, Sodexo. Gaithersburg is also the location of the garrison of the U.S. Army Reserve's 220th Military Police Brigade.

Gaithersburg is noted for its ethnic and economic diversity; WalletHub in 2016 ranked it first among the 313 largest U.S. cities for ethnic diversity and second for social class diversity.[7]


Summit Avenue in the early 1900s

Gaithersburg was settled in 1765 as a small agricultural settlement known as Log Town near the present day Summit Hall on Ralph Crabb's 1725 land grant "Deer Park".[8] The northern portion of the land grant was purchased by Henry Brookes, and he built his brick home "Montpelier" there, starting first with a log cabin in 1780/3. This 1,000 acre tract became part of the landmark IBM Headquarters complex built on the then-new I-270 Interstate "Industrial", now "Technology", Corridor in the late 1960s to the 1970s. Benjamin Gaither married Henry's daughter Margaret, and Benjamin and Margaret inherited a portion of Henry's land prior to Henry's death in 1807. Gaither built his home on the land in 1802.[9] By the 1850s the area had ceased to be called Log Town and was known to inhabitants as Gaithersburg.[10]

19th centuryEdit

The Forest Oak Post Office, named for a large tree in the town, was located in Gaither's store in 1851. However, when the railroad was built through town the new station was called Gaithersburg, an officially recognized name for the community for the first time.

The town incorporated under its current name in 1878. Gaithersburg boomed during the late 19th century and churches, schools, a mill, grain elevators, stores, and hotels were built. Much of this development focused around the railroad station.[10]

In 1873 the B&O Railroad constructed a station at Gaithersburg,[8] designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin as part of his well-known series of Victorian stations in Maryland.[11] Rapid growth occurred shortly thereafter, and on April 5, 1878 the town was officially incorporated as the Town of Gaithersburg.

In 1899, Gaithersburg was selected as one of six global locations for the construction of an International Latitude Observatory as part of a project to measure the Earth's wobble on its polar axis. The Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory is (as of 2007) the only National Historic Landmark in the City of Gaithersburg. The observatory and five others in Japan, Italy, Russia, and the United States gathered information that is still used by scientists today, along with information from satellites, to determine polar motion; the size, shape, and physical properties of the earth; and to aid the space program through the precise navigational patterns of orbiting satellites. The Gaithersburg station operated until 1982 when computerization rendered the manual observation obsolete.

Late 20th centuryEdit

In 1968, Gaithersburg was upgraded from a town to a city.

Gaithersburg remained a predominantly rural farm town until the 1970s when more construction began. As the population grew, with homes spreading throughout the area, Gaithersburg began taking on a suburban and semi-urban feel, leaving its farming roots behind. During the late 1990s and 2000s, it had become one of the most economically and ethnically diverse areas in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area as well as the State of Maryland, with people from all walks of life calling Gaithersburg home. This can be seen in the local schools, with Gaithersburg High School and Watkins Mill High School having two of the most diverse student bodies in the region.

During a 1997 rainstorm, the 295-year-old forest oak tree that gave its name to the Forest Oak Post Office crashed down.[12] The tree served as the inspiration for the city's logo,[12] which is also featured prominently on the city's flag.[12]

21st centuryEdit

In 2007, parts of the film Body of Lies were filmed in the city, at a building on 100 Edison Park Drive. The film was released in 2008 and the building is now the Montgomery County Police Department's headquarters.[13]

On July 16, 2010, Gaithersburg was hit by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to occur in Maryland.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.34 square miles (26.78 km2), of which 10.20 square miles (26.42 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.[14]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)67,985[5]13.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2018 Estimate[16]

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 59,933 people, 22,000 households, and 14,548 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,875.8 inhabitants per square mile (2,268.7/km2). There were 23,337 housing units at an average density of 2,287.9 per square mile (883.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 31.9% non-Hispanic White, 16.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 16.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 10.7% from other races, and 4.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.2% of the population (8.3% Salvadoran, 2% Honduran, 1.9% Mexican, 1.9% Peruvian, 1.7% Guatemalan).

There were 22,000 households, of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.9% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.24.

The median age in the city was 35.1 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 33.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.6% were from 45 to 64; and 9.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% females.

2000 censusEdit

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 52,613 people, 19,621 households, and 12,577 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,216.2 people per square mile (2,013.3/km2). There were 20,674 housing units at an average density of 2,049.7 per square mile (791.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city is 34.7% White, 19.5% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 13.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. 24.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 34.3% of Gaithersburg's population was foreign-born.

There were 19,621 households, out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.14 the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 37.7% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.


According to the City's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[18] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 National Institute of Standards and Technology 2,730
2 AstraZeneca (formerly MedImmune) 2,290
3 Leidos (formerly Lockheed Martin) 1,200
4 Asbury Methodist Village 820
5 GeneDx 556
6 Sodexo USA 511
7 Hughes Network Systems, LLC 450
8 Adventist HealthCare 400
9 Emergent BioSolutions 387
10 Kaiser Permanente 350

Gaithersburg also receives significant income from its conference organization platform including prominent conferences such as the CHI 84 conference.

RIO Washingtonian Center a.k.a. rio a.k.a. Rio Lakefront, is 760,000 square-foot complex of retail, restaurant and entertainment including AMC/Loews rio Cinemas, Target, LOFT, Barnes & Noble, Dave & Buster's, and Dick's Sporting Goods, built along an artificial lake.[19]


Gaithersburg has an elected, five-member City Council, which serves as the legislative body of the city. The Mayor, who is also elected, serves as president of the council. The day-to-day administration of the City is overseen by a career City Manager. Gaithersburg is also the location of the 220th Military Police Brigade of the United States Army Reserve.

The city's current mayor is Jud Ashman, who has held the office since 2014. On October 6, 2014, the Gaithersburg City Council selected City Council Member Jud Ashman to serve as mayor until the next City of Gaithersburg election in November 2015, replacing resigning mayor Sidney Katz. Ashman was re-elected in November 2015.[20]

Previous mayors include:

  1. George W. Meem 1898–1904
  2. Carson Ward 1904–1906
  3. John W. Walker 1906–1908
  4. E. D. Kingsley 1908–1912
  5. Richard H. Miles 1912–1918
  6. John W. Walker 1918–1924
  7. Walter M. Magruder 1924–1926
  8. William McBain 1926–1948
  9. Harry C. Perry, Sr. 1948–1954
  10. Merton F. Duvall 1954–1966
  11. John W. Griffith 1966–1967
  12. Harold C. Morris 1967–1974
  13. Susan E. Nicholson, May–September 1974
  14. Milton M. Walker 1974–1976
  15. B. Daniel Walder 1976–1978
  16. Bruce A. Goldensohn 1978–1986
  17. W. Edward Bohrer, Jr. 1986–1998
  18. Sidney A. Katz 1998 – 2014
  19. Jud Ashman, November 2014 – Present

The departments of the city of Gaithersburg and their directors include:

  • Office of the City Manager, Dennis Eslinger (Acting)
  • Finance and Administration, Rafiu Ighile
  • Planning and Code Administration, John Schlichting
  • Community and Public Relations, Britta Monaco
  • Human Resources, Kimberly Yocklin
  • Information Technology, Peter Cottrell
  • Parks, Recreation, and Culture, Carolyn Muller
  • Chief of Police, Mark Sroka
  • Public Works, Michael Johnson


The following Montgomery County Public Schools are located in Gaithersburg:[21]

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Brown Station
  • Rachel Carson
  • Darnestown
  • Diamond
  • DuFief
  • Fields Road
  • Flower Hill
  • Gaithersburg
  • Goshen
  • Jones Lane
  • Laytonsville
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Judith A. Resnik
  • Rosemont
  • South Lake
  • Stedwick
  • Strawberry Knoll
  • Summit Hall
  • Washington Grove
  • Whetstone
  • Woodfield

Middle schoolsEdit

  • Forest Oak
  • Gaithersburg
  • Lakelands Park
  • Ridgeview
  • Shady Grove

High schoolsEdit


Gaithersburg is primarily served by the Washington, D.C. media market.




Being a city, Gaithersburg also has its own police department, which was created in 1963.[22]


Roads and highwaysEdit

I-270 southbound at the interchange with I-370 in Gaithersburg

The most prominent highways serving Gaithersburg are Interstate 270 and Interstate 370. I-270 is the main highway leading northwest out of metropolitan Washington, D.C., beginning at Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) and proceeding northwestward to Interstate 70 in Frederick. I-370 is a short spur, starting just west of I-270 in Gaithersburg and heading east to its junction with Maryland Route 200. Via MD 200, I-370 connects Gaithersburg with Interstate 95 near Laurel.

Maryland Route 355 was the precursor to I-270 and follows a parallel route. It now serves as the main commercial roadway through Gaithersburg and neighboring communities. Other state highways serving Gaithersburg include Maryland Route 117, Maryland Route 119 and Maryland Route 124. Maryland Route 28 passes just outside the Gaithersburg corporate limits.


The Gaithersburg train station in January 2007

Gaithersburg is connected to the Washington Metro via Shady Grove station, which is located just outside the city limits and is the north-western terminus of the Red Line.

The Corridor Cities Transitway is a proposed bus rapid transit line that would have 8 stops in Gaithersburg, generally in the western half of the city.

Maryland's MARC system operates commuter rail services connecting Gaithersburg to Washington, D.C. with two stations in the city, at Old Town Gaithersburg and Metropolitan Grove, and a third station — Washington Grove — just outside city limits.

Bus service in Gaithersburg consists of Metrobus routes operated by WMATA and Ride-On routes operated by Montgomery County, as well as paratransit service provided by MetroAccess.

Notable peopleEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • Gaithersburg is mentioned as the location of IniTech Labs on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S3E6) by character Daisy Johnson.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Season 13, Episode 4, the serial rapist was linked to a case in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
  • Part of the 2006 film Borat was filmed in Gaithersburg in 2005.[23]
  • Part of an episode of Da Ali G Show was filmed in Gaithersburg in 2004.[24][25]
  • It is mentioned by character Fox Mulder in episodes of The X-Files and as a story location.[26][27][28]
  • Mentioned as a location of a suspect in The Blacklist, Season 3, Episode 14
  • "Most Diverse City in America" United Shades Of America Season 2, Episode 1
  • Gaithersburg is mentioned in some of the rapper Logic's songs, it being his hometown. One of these songs being Take It Back where he describes his dangerous childhood in Maryland.
  • Episode 1 of season 1 of the Netflix original series Rapture partially was filmed in Gaithersburg.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Although NIST's mailing address states Gaithersburg, and the City of Gaithersburg surrounds NIST's property, the land where NIST is situated is not incorporated into the City of Gaithersburg. Instead, it is in an unincorporated part of Montgomery County. Owing to the manner in which land has been added to Gaithersburg over the years, there are multiple such unincorporated enclaves within the perimeter; see the City's Zoning Map for details (3MB PDF).


  1. ^ "A Master Plan Element" (PDF). Maryland: City of Gaithersburg. October 5, 2007. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 28, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "Mayor & City Council".
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ U.S. Census website, U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Richie Bernardo, 2016’s Most Diverse Cities in America, WalletHub (May 11, 2016) (viewed Sept. 12, 2016).
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "20,000 Expected to Wish Gaithersburg Happy Birthday". The Washington Post. September 4, 1950. p. 3. 
  10. ^ a b Offutt, William; Sween, Jane (1999). Montgomery County: Centuries of Change. American Historical Press. pp. 166–167.
  11. ^ "Gaithersburg Station". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. October 17, 1985. p. MDA4. 
  12. ^ a b c Vogel, Steve (June 28, 1997). "Gaithersburg Tree Goes Down in History: Storm Fells City's Famed Forest Oak". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. p. B1. 
  13. ^ "Spy thriller brings a touch of Hollywood to the county". 17 March 2015. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  15. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  16. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  18. ^ "City of Gaithersburg CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Council Member Jud Ashman Selected as Mayor of Gaithersburg".
  21. ^ "List of Schools" (PDF). Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  22. ^ "Police Department History". Maryland: City of Gaithersburg. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  23. ^ "Accidental Stars of 'Borat' Want the Last Laugh". ABC News. 13 November 2006.
  24. ^ tontonflingueur (13 April 2006). "ALi G Funny shit Simpsons, Gang Signs" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Gaithersburg detective appears on HBO comedy show".
  26. ^ "The Erlenmeyer Flask – 1X23".
  27. ^ "All Souls – 5X17".
  28. ^ "The End – 5X20".

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit