Good old Montgomery County. This beautiful 487 square mile tract of land northwest of Philadelphia has played an important part of the lives of many people reading this article. Whether residing, working, or simply traveling through the region on a regular basis, most consider themselves Montgomery County experts. True it takes quite a bit of knowledge to navigate the King of Prussia Mall, but most don’t know much about the County’s history aside from Washington’s stay at Valley Forge.
How the name “Montgomery” was decided upon has remained a topic of debate even until today. Some believe the county was named after the American Revolutionary War general named Richard Montgomery who was killed in 1775 while attacking Quebec City, Canada. Others contest that it was named after legislators named Montgomery who were involved in the initial creation of the county.
The land known today as Montgomery County was first settled in 1685 by Germans. Fittingly, the town they settled is called Germantown. Later, Welsh, English, Scotch and Swede settlers moved into the area creating a diverse culture that still exists today. Farmers were originally attracted to the area because of the ideal growing climate and rich soil. MontCo’s economy was enhanced with the opening of the Schuylkill Canal in 1825 and later construction of railroads. The addition of PA Railroad’s Main Line encouraged wealthy families to build up residential districts in the region.
Much of Montgomery County’s success and growth is a direct result of its strong manufacturing history. Iron, textile, steel, chemical and rubber industries have brought significant income to the area. Today, large business parks span the county with major employers including companies such as Merck, Teva Pharmaceuticals, BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline and Motorola. In fact, Forbes ranked MontCo as the 20th wealthiest county in the country in 2005 based on personal per-capita income.
With a current population of about 800,000 residents, Montgomery County’s population continues to grow. It’s apparent people looking for a suburb rich in culture, history, and diversity chose to call Montgomery County their home. As it seems there is always something going on these days in the county, we at MontCo Happening will strive to keep our readers up to date on any community events, attractions, local news, or noteworthy places to wine and dine that catch our interest.