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.