MD - Germantown

Germantown Maryland


The city of Germantown, Maryland straddles Interstate 270 about 26 miles north of Washington, D.C. It is bounded on the south by Great Seneca Creek, on the north by Little Seneca Creek and Lake, on the west by Blackrock Road, and on the east Brink Road, creating an area of about 6 square miles. It is not incorporated and is governed by the County. Germantown is a planned city. It was laid out as a "Corridor City" by the Montgomery County Government as part of what is called the "Wedges and Corridors Plan" envisioned by the County when Interstate 270 was built in the 1960s. The idea was to preserve the outside edges of the county--the wedges-- as farmland and forests, and to restrict development--building of houses, businesses and industries--to the area where the highway runs--the corridors. In 1972 when development began, Germantown was a rural farming village of about 1,000 people. It has grown since that time by about 2,000 people a year. Germantown is supposed to have 95,000 people by the year 2010.  

 Native Americans

The first people in the area were native Americans. There is evidence that native people lived in the area around the black rock on Blackrock Road thousands of years ago--when herds of buffalo roamed the countryside. Most of these early roaming tribes had more stationary villages closer to the Potomac River. When Europeans first started to settle in this area, in the mid to late 1600s, there was a village of Piscataway Indians at the mouth of Rock Creek, where Georgetown is now. There was also a village at the mouth of the Monocacy River where many different tribes gathered for trading. Where Germantown is today was part of a good hunting ground for these Indians. Indians of the Seneca nation did not live in this area, but would occasionally come down to hunt. Three Indian trails led from the southern village to the northern village. These trails were later used by the European settlers and became River Road, Clopper Road, and Rt. 355 (Frederick Road). 

First Settlers

The first European settlers who came to this area would travel up Rt. 355 from the port of Georgetown. Two of the first towns on this road were Middlebrook Mills and Clarksburg. The general stores, mills and post offices in these two towns served the first settlers of Germantown. Between these two towns was a tavern owned by Joseph Neel which would later serve as the focal point for the town of Neelsville.

The first settlers in what is now known as Germantown were the three Waters brothers, Zachariah, William and Basil. They all inherited land in the 1790s from their father, William Waters, who had a large estate in Brookeville and owned lots of land all around Montgomery County. The three brothers had adjoining farms that covered all of the land north of Rt. 118 from Wisteria Drive to Rt. 355--the areas known as Churchill, Waters Landing, Beaumont Estates and Milestone today. Basil Waters' house is still here today near the intersection of Royal Crown Drive and Observation Drive in Milestone. 

Other families who settled in the area we know today as Germantown before 1800 were the Henry Dorsey family on the east side of town who built the first part of this house later owned by the Blunt family and called Woodbourne; the Thomas Dawson family on the west side of town, who later founded Dawsonville; and the Henry Waring family on the south side of town. The Warings owned a store in Georgetown.


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Data last updated: Feb 17, 2020 6:00:pm.