The history of the county dates back to September 10, 1784 when part of the land was carved out which originally formed Philadelphia County.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly then incorporated Montgomery as a boroughon on March 27th, 1887, out of land that was originally part of Clinton Township.
WHAT’S IN THE NAME?
Prior to being called Montgomery, the county was named Black Hole in recognition of the creek that flows through it. The name was also in solidarity of the post office of the same name that was established back in 1836.
Varying accounts persist as to the origins of the name Montgomery. Some historians hold that the county was named after the famous revolutionary war hero, Major General Richard Montgomery (the 1775 invasion of Canada fame). But others tend to disagree!
The newly carved out land was initially part of the Pennsylvania’s Welsh Tract, a strong hold of Welsh Quaker settlers. Other historians believe that the name “Montgomery” was a tribute to Roger de Montgomerie, a key counselor of William the Conqueror in whose memory was also named the Welsh county of Montgomeryshire.
One early name that stands out in Montgomery’s history is that of P.M. Barber, who could rightfully be thought of as the county’s first entrepreneur. In 1859, Barber established the county’s first distillery, then a planing mill in 1869, and followed by the establishment of the Montgomery Machine Shops in 1873.
The one name that residents would however identify with is Montco, a term of endearment that is used to identify modern day Montgomery county.
Over the years
The US Census Bureau puts the county at a total area of 487 sq. miles, with 483 sq. miles land-based, and the remainder (4.2 sq. miles) covered by water. The county is situated along the Western leg of the Susquehanna River, 6 miles due southwest of Muncy borough, and 8.5 miles southeast of Williamsport city.
Administratively, the county is comprised of the following:
- 22 Boroughs
- 34 Townships
- 33 Census-designated places
- 6 Home Rule Municipalities
- 15 unincorporated communities
Montgomery county comprises of 5 congressional districts, including the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th and the 13th.
Historically, the county has been a Republican stronghold. Since 2008, the Democratic party has gained some inroads. Republicans still hold significant local sway in 2008 and subsequently in 2012, President Barack Obama won the county.
In keeping with its entrepreneurial roots back in 1859, Montgomery has now grown into a thriving suburb of Philadelphia, and is a key employment driver for the region. Large commercial and industrial hubs like Fort Washington, Blue Bell, Horsham, Lansdale and King of Purssia attract workers by the thousands from all over.
The economic prosperity of Montgomery has resulted in leading credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s awarding the county the highest credit rating possible – “AAA”. Montco is only a handful of counties in the US to be granted such a rating.
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