The suburbanization of Montgomery County began in the late 19th and early 20th century along the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O railroad and the streetcar lines that extended into the County from the District of Columbia.

During the automobile-oriented 20th Century, suburban growth expanded into all areas of the County except the agricultural preserve in the northeastern and northwestern areas of the upper County.

The first two decades of 21st Century have seen a shift away from low density residential and commercial development to a smart growth emphasis on high density, pedestrian friendly, transit oriented development along the Metro Red Line routes and the I-270 corridor.

Beginning in 2018, Montgomery History's Mary Kay Harper Center for Suburban Studies began developing online exhibits that use historic images and research based information to describe how post-WWII Montgomery County evolved as one of the most important suburban jurisdictions of Washington, DC.

Three online exhibits have been developed to date. They examine 1) how the County grew as a suburb in the 1950s, 2) the shopping infrastructure that developed to serve the flood of new residents moving to the County's new suburban housing as population growth shifted from DC to the suburb, and 3) the post-war housing boom, with emphasis on new styles of houses built, what they cost, who built them, and what they look like today.

Please use the links below (or the menu bar at the top of this page) to navigate to the three online online exhibits in our developing series on Montgomery County's suburban development.