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Gaithersburg, MD

Covering just over 10 square miles in Montgomery County, Gaithersburg is the fourth largest city in Maryland. It sits about 13 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. In 1765 Gaithersburg was a small agricultural settlement known as Log Town. In 1850 the town was called Forest Oak, named for a large tree on the land. The town officially became Gaithersburg when it was incorporated in 1878. It was named for Benjamin Gaither, who lived on the property where the famous Forest Oak stood. The tree was found to be over 275 years old when it was tested in 1975. The city was dubbed "Science Capital of the United States" when the National Institute of Standards and Technology moved to the area in 1961.

Gaithersburg is part of a national program called Character Counts. Sponsored by the Michael Josephson Institute of Ethics, the program promotes respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, and citizenship. The program also includes an annual scholarship competition for local students.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Gaithersburg was initially a small agricultural settlement, but with the establishment of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) on June 14, 1961, the city underwent a major renovation. The city was designated as the "Science Capital of the United States" with the establishment of this organization. The city is now an urban area and suburb of Washington D.C.

Some key areas of the Gaithersburg area include:

  • Montgomery Village: About 40,000 people live in this planned community of houses, condos and apartments
  • Kentlands: Well known as a leader in "new urbanism", Kentlands is a community of traditional homes built as a traditional, walkable town.
  • Washingtonian Center: A shopping and entertainment center, with nearby office buildings and a lake, this is effectively Gaithersburg's downtown.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Gaithersburg is located between the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas, so it enjoys the cultural and activity benefits of both. Some of the attractions located nearby include:

  • Smithsonian Institution
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • The Nation's Capital
  • Fort McHenry
  • The Baltimore Maritime Museum

Gaithersburg has plenty to offer within its city limits as well. That includes the Community Museum, housed in a restored 1884 railroad station. There is also the Gaithersburg - Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department Museum.

What is now Gaithersburg City Hall was once the home of Edward Schwartz. In 1913, he planted what became a famous peony garden featuring 410 varieties from around the world. Tourists who visited the garden included President Woodrow Wilson. The City purchased the estate in 1958, but the garden is no longer there. However, the peony is the official city flower.

The Olde Towne District is the place where the city's famous "Celebrate Gaithersburg in Olde Towne Festival" is celebrated. The residents of the city gather to celebrate the city's heritage and enjoy food, arts and crafts and a variety of family entertainment.

EVENTS

The Celebrate Gaithersburg in Olde Towne Street Festival is an annual event featuring live music by national acts, samples from numerous local restaurants, arts and crafts, live animals, a circus, and lots of children's activities.

Dogs get special treatment at the Bark in the Park Canine Festival, held at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm. The whole day is dedicated to man's best friend with a dog obstacle course, a bone hunt, and a costume parade. Dog trainers and vendors are also on hand.

Gaithersburg's Arts Barn contains of an art gallery, art workshops and classes, plus musical and theater performances. The Arts Barn is housed in a building originally built in 1900 and used as a stable. After extensive renovations, including four artist studios, an art shop, and a 99-seat theater set up in the former barn loft, the Arts Barn opened to the public. The Arts Barn also offers summer camp programs for kids.

There are numerous annual events to check out:

  • Art in Public Places
  • Backyard Concert Series
  • Concert Pavilion
  • Gaithersburg Community Museum
  • Independence Day Celebration
  • Indoor Flea Markets
  • Labor Day Parade
  • Morning Concerts for Kids at the City Hall Pavilion
  • Oktoberfest at the Kentlands
  • On Stage Concert Series
  • Performances at the City Hall Concert Pavilion
  • Washingtonian South Public Art Project
  • Winter Lights Festival

Gaithersburg offers two weekly Farmers Markets where you can pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other local offerings. The Saturday markets are held at the Main Street Pavilion. A second market is held every Thursday in the Commuter Parking Lot at Cedar Avenue and Route 355.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Besides the National Institute of Standards and Technology, there are a number of major employers with headquarter locations in town.

  • IBM
  • ACE*COMM
  • Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services
  • MedImmune/AstraZeneca
  • Sodexo

Gaithersburg has become a regional location for many high technology companies. The main economic activities of the city include biotechnology, telecommunications and software development.

The city is home to more than 2,000 businesses. The corporate growth focuses on the technology industries. Gaithersburg is also ranked by Fortune Magazine as the fourth best area in the country for business.

The city is also the location of the 220th Military Police Brigade of the United States Army Reserve.

LOCAL MEDIA

Gaithersburg is served by the Washington, D.C., radio and television market, although the city operates Gaithersburg Television, which focuses on local issues. Other local media include:

  • Gaithersburg Gazette
  • The Town Courier
  • On-line blog, Gaithersblog