Recent History

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg

Arrival of the Federal Government (NIST): 1961

The decision to move the National Bureau of Standards from Washington, D.C. to Gaithersburg in 1961 was the second major event in the city’s history (with the building of the railroad being the first). This sparked the beginning of a large research and development industry in Gaithersburg, officially making it a strategic part of the I-270 Technology Corridor.

The moving of NIST also sparked a building boom, as the population increased rapidly from 8,000 residents to tens of thousands. It was at this time that Gaithersburg began to lose its rural character and to become more suburban.

The Kentlands

The area now known as the Kentlands was originally part of the Tschiffley family plantation, named "The Wheatlands" for obvious reasons. Once the family began to spend more of their time in Washington, D.C., they sold it to attorney Otis Beall Kent. In 1988, the land was sold again, this time to a developer determined to create a completely planned town modeled on a 19th century village.

Montgomery Village

In 1962, the Kettler brothers, inspired by a holistic vision of communities, began purchasing adjacent farms in Gaithersburg in what is now Montgomery Village. A few years later, they broke ground; in an effort to beautify the land, they purchased 10,000 full-grown oak trees to plant and created Lake Whetstone with a dam.

In 1966, the Montgomery Village Foundation was founded and issued a mission statement detailing its plans to promote the health, safety and welfare of its residents. Because of this, the foundation was granted nonprofit status. This emphasis is illustrated in the official Montgomery Village, depicting two stick figures “reaching toward the heavens in a gesture of friendship and peace.”

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