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Gaithersburg City

Gaithersburg City Hall is located at 31 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877; phone: 301-258-6310.

Beginnings [1,2]

Gaithersburg, surveyed in 1722, is a milling and trading point in a stock-farming area. On Observatory Hill is the U.S. Coast Guard and Geodetic Observatory. This small frame structure with a removable roof is one of five observatories in the world — others are in California, Japan, Turkistan and Italy — for recording the wobble of the poles and resultant shift in the equator and changes in latitude. In 1899 the International Geodetic Association and the International Astronomical Union financed and founded observatories for this special study. Since then Congress has provided an annual appropriation for the work.

Gaithersburg was incorporated in 1878 and doubled in size through annexations within 10 years. Area farmers converted to raising grains suitable for milling into flour or animal feeds and to dairying for the newly-accessible Washington, D.C. market. The railroad brought new people to town. Enterprising local residents built businesses to serve each group and take advantage of the new rail connection, offering a hotel for visitors and providing services to area farmers who brought their produce to the train.

  1. Works Progress Administration, Federal Works Agency, Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State, American Guide Series, 1940.
  2. Brookes, Russell and Walker Historic District,, accessed January, 2013.
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