Mount Airy, Maryland

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Mount Airy, Maryland
Main Street in Mt. Airy
Main Street in Mt. Airy
Location of Mount Airy, Maryland shown in Frederick County
Location of Mount Airy, Maryland shown in Frederick County
Coordinates: 39°22′29″N 77°9′20″W / 39.37472°N 77.15556°W / 39.37472; -77.15556Coordinates: 39°22′29″N 77°9′20″W / 39.37472°N 77.15556°W / 39.37472; -77.15556
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
Counties Frederick
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Patrick Rockinberg
 • Total 4.13 sq mi (10.70 km2)
 • Land 4.12 sq mi (10.67 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 781 ft (238 m)
Highest elevation 853 ft (260 m)
Lowest elevation 580 ft (180 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 9,288
 • Estimate (2015[3]) 9,380
 • Density 2,254.4/sq mi (870.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 21771
Area code(s) 240 and 301 [4]
FIPS code 24-53875
GNIS feature ID 0585976

Mount Airy is a town located in Carroll and Frederick counties in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is part of both the Washington Metropolitan Area and Baltimore Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census the population was 9,288.[5]

Outside of the town limits, the surrounding countryside is colloquially referred to as Mount Airy or the "Four-County Area" by locals. The "Four-County Area" derives its name from the fact that the community encompasses portions of Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery, and Howard counties.


Mt. Airy was established in 1830 and continued to develop throughout the decade, beginning with the construction of house settlements along Parr's Ridge. A man named Henry Bussard built the first of these houses. This town was known for its train station on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) at Parr's Ridge. The railroad ran from Baltimore to Frederick, cities to the east and west, respectively, of Mt. Airy. Following 1830, the town received its official name after the suggestion of "Mount Airy" from an Irish B&O worker who complained about his freezing ears on a windy work day.[citation needed] Over the years, milling, canning and sewing industries initially helped support Mt. Airy's economy.

The town's proximity to the National Road contributed to its growth. The National Road ran west from Baltimore to Illinois. By the 1890s, the town's growth had increased significantly and three new churches were built (one Episcopal and two Methodist), along with a very important bridge, still standing and known by residents as the Twin Arch, that helped with railroad transportation. Three great fires (1903, 1914, and 1925) caused setbacks in growth, but the town rebuilt every time.

When Carroll County defined its permanent boundaries in 1837, Mount Airy was divided between two counties, Carroll and Frederick; the town has remained in two counties since that time. About one mile south of the town is the junction of Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties at the source of the South Branch of the Patapsco River.

The town was originally settled in the early 1830s by a core group of six families. Dorsey, Davis and Bussard were the most prominent names in that first settlement, which was followed closely by the construction of the B & O railroad line in 1831. Because Mount Airy sits at an elevation of 830 feet (250 m), a series of four inclined planes were constructed in order for the trains to climb the steep hills. Locomotives and cars were lifted with the assistance of horses and steam winches. Passengers had to disembark during this process. Plane #4, located west of the town at the intersection of Woodville Road and MD Route 144, is still a recognized location today. In 1839 the planes were abandoned, and the new line was constructed north of where Mount Airy is today. This was a result of more powerful locomotives that had been constructed and heavier loads were being hauled. In 1901, a railroad tunnel was constructed on the south side of town and the existing line into town became a spur line into the center of Mount Airy. The town named the first resident, Henry Bussard, the station agent for the new train station. Mr. Bussard was the first major landowner in Mount Airy.

By 1846, the town was sparsely settled with several houses, a store, barber shop and shoemaker shop. Pine Grove Chapel, circa 1846, now a historic monument, was constructed to fill the need for a community church. From the time it was constructed, the chapel basement functioned as a private school. The chapel remained open during the early part of the Civil War despite soldier encampments in close proximity. The school and church were closed later because of distracting soldier activity around the vicinity of the school. After the war ended, the church reopened in 1867 after undergoing a renovation.

In 1893, the Carroll County Board of Education funded the construction of a three-room schoolhouse which was completed in September 1894. The building, approximately 1,700 square feet (160 m2) in size, was located on the east side of Main Street, 1/4 mile south of the railroad tracks. It is now part of the Calvary United Methodist Church property. The school operated from 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m.

With the incorporation of the town in 1894 came the establishment of the town government structure, including a mayor and council. The first Mount Airy mayor was Byron S. Dorsey, who served ten years in that office between 1894 and 1904. In 1900, the town population had grown to 332 residents. By 1910, the town population was 428, and it was determined that the town had enough student population to justify a state-accredited high school. A high school with classes was organized, but an official high school building to house all eleven grades was not constructed at that time.

The town of Mount Airy endured three disastrous fires during the first quarter of the 20th century. The first fire occurred in 1902 and destroyed the business section of the southern side of the downtown area. The second fire was in 1914 and consumed the north side of the downtown business section. The third fire took place about ten years later, in 1925, and again, the northern side of the downtown business district was destroyed. As a result of the 1925 fire, the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1926.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s the town continued to flourish despite the onset of the Great Depression. The 1930 U.S. Census tallied the town population at 845 persons, an increase of 91 people since 1920. The railroad company largely contributed to the growth of not only the population, but the town's economy as well. As a result, expanded town services included necessary public utilities such as electric service when Potomac Edison was established in Mount Airy. The thriving economy supported the initiation of several large businesses in the 1930s, such as a poultry operation, two automobile garages, an ice factory, and the creation of the Mount Airy Canning Company, which provided about 250 jobs. In 1932, the first motion picture theater opened in Mount Airy, establishing a core business district. During that time, the town also saw the purchase of land for a town park, the opening of a grocery store and a lumberyard, and the dedication of Pine Grove Chapel for use as a nonsectarian chapel.

The Mount Airy Historic District that includes the railroad station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[6]

Currently, Mt. Airy is no longer economically dependent on the railroad, as citizens work a variety of different jobs. Many of its citizens work in Washington, DC, or Baltimore; the city is a part of both of those cities' metropolitan areas. Mt. Airy is a neighborhood community for these job centers. Mt. Airy is similar to back in the day with the National Road but now with Interstate 70 bordering the southern end of the city with an interchange with MD-27. In the last few decades Mount Airy has seen significant growth, as laid out in the Mount Airy Master Plan from the 1994 to 2003 update. In 2007 President George W. Bush made a speech in Mount Airy.

Mt. Airy hosts five townwide events each year. These events include the Main Street Heat Chili Cookoff in April, MayFest (formerly known as the Spring Fling) in May, Flag Day in June, FallFest (formerly known as Festival on the Ridge) in October, and Christmas in Olde Town in December. An all-volunteer staff of townspeople dedicates their time to work at each of these events.[7][8]


Mount Airy is home to three schools. The first, Mount Airy Elementary, was built and occupied in 1935. In the mid-1980s, the school received major renovations that are reflected in its current appearance both inside and out. The school has a natural-gas-fired heating system, school-wide air conditioning, and Internet access from the classrooms and computer lab.[9]

Another elementary school, Parr's Ridge Elementary, was built in 2005 due to serious overcrowding at Mount Airy Elementary. Parr's takes students from kindergarten through Grade 2, while Mount Airy takes students in grades 3 through 5.

Mount Airy Middle School was originally built in 1956 as Mount Airy High School. The three-level, 16-classroom building with auditorium, gymnasium, library, cafeteria, industrial arts and vocational agricultural shops, locker rooms, lavatories and offices opened in September 1957. In the fall of 1967, after the completion of South Carroll High School, the Mt. Airy School became Mt. Airy Middle School.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Mt. Airy Middle School was named an Honorable Mention School in the Maryland Blue Ribbon School Program. This program identifies school of excellence in the areas of academic achievement, curricular excellence, significant parent and community involvement, and continuous staff development and growth. In September 2001, Mt. Airy Middle School became the first middle school in Carroll County to earn Blue Ribbon Status.

Due to serious overcrowding in Mt. Airy Elementary School, it was determined that a new elementary school would be built in Watkins Park. Until the completion of the new school, the 5th grade would move to the middle school. With the start of the 2002-03 school year, the 5th grade moved into portables behind the middle school. Parr's Ridge Elementary school opened in September 2005 and Mt. Airy Middle School converted back to grades 6th, 7th and 8th.

Community members and staff advocated for the construction of a new facility to meet the needs of our students, due to serious overcrowding conditions at Mt. Airy Middle. During the 2009-10 school year, a planning committee was established to review conceptual designs for a potential replacement middle school.

In July 2011, ground was broken for the construction of the new Mt. Airy Middle School. Students and staff enjoyed watching the new building grow out of the ground and anxiously anticipated moving into the new building. Plans were made during the 2012-13 school year to move to the new building during spring break. As a result of damage that occurred during Hurricane Sandy in the Fall of 2012, moving to the school was postponed.

In June 2013, the final chapter of the old building was written, as the 8th grade farewell was held for the last time in the school. Within two weeks of the end of the school year, the move was complete to the new building. Demolition of the old building began at the end of June to make room for the bus loop of the new school. Students, parents, staff and community members enjoyed open house tours of the new school in August 2013.[10]


Mount Airy is located on the border between Frederick and Carroll counties, in the far eastern part of Frederick County and the southwest corner of Carroll County. Maryland Route 27 (Ridge Road) runs through the east side of the town, leading northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Westminster, the Carroll County seat, and southwest 14 miles (23 km) to Interstate 270 in Germantown. Interstate 70 forms the southern border of Mount Airy, and leads east 32 miles (51 km) to Baltimore and west 14 miles (23 km) to Frederick.

Mount Airy's Main Street, formerly MD 27 and now Maryland Route 808, runs atop Parrs Ridge in a northeast-southwest direction with elevations ranging between 800 and 850 feet (240 and 260 m). Numerous valleys that extend outward toward the east and west from this ridge give the town its unusually hilly topography. Mount Airy straddles the division of two major drainage basins. Within the Frederick County portion of the town are the headwaters of Woodville Branch and Ben's Branch which are parts of the Linganore Creek watershed, as well as the headwaters of Bush Creek in the southwestern part of the town. The Linganore watershed drains into Lake Linganore, a secondary source of public water for Frederick County. The Linganore and Bush Creek watersheds are part of the Lower Monocacy River watershed, with eventual drainage to the Potomac River. The east side of Mount Airy drains via tributaries of Middle Run and the South Branch of the Patapsco River to Baltimore Harbor. Both the Potomac and the Patapsco are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town of Mount Airy has a total area of 4.13 square miles (10.70 km2), of which 4.12 square miles (10.67 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.29%, is water.[5]


Mount Airy is similar to Westminster in its position astride Parrs Ridge, and has a humid, temperate climate with four rather well defined seasons. The general atmospheric flow is from west to east but alternate surges of cold air from the north and of warm humid air from the south occurs in the area, causing highly variable weather. Nearness to the Atlantic Coast allows coastal storms to make up any deficiency of precipitation resulting from the passage of weather systems over the mountains to the west.

The average annual temperature is approximately 54 degrees, with January generally the coldest month and July the warmest. Temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit an average of 27 days a year. The Town of Mount Airy is in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7a for an annual extreme minimum temperature of 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average annual precipitation totals about 45 inches, with February the driest and August the wettest month. During the growing season, which averages about 177 days from April through to September, the last part of July through to the first part of August is the driest, with an average of 85-90 degrees.

The average seasonal snowfall is 28 inches.

Climate data for Mount Airy, Maryland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 20
Record low °F (°C) −22
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.37
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.8
Source: The Weather Channel[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 91
1900 332
1910 428 28.9%
1920 754 76.2%
1930 860 14.1%
1940 791 −8.0%
1950 1,061 34.1%
1960 1,352 27.4%
1970 1,825 35.0%
1980 2,450 34.2%
1990 3,730 52.2%
2000 6,425 72.3%
2010 9,288 44.6%
Est. 2015 9,380 [3] 1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 9,288 people, 3,107 households, and 2,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,254.4 inhabitants per square mile (870.4/km2). There were 3,225 housing units at an average density of 782.8 per square mile (302.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.1% White, 2.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.7% of the population.

There were 3,107 households of which 50.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.2% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 21.0% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.36.

The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 32% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.2% were from 25 to 44; 25.4% were from 45 to 64; and 8.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 6,425 people, 2,123 households, and 1,717 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,678.5 people per square mile (647.7/km²). There were 2,179 housing units at an average density of 569.3 per square mile (219.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.71% White, 2.58% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.34% of the population.

There were 2,123 households out of which 51.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.0% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.1% were non-families. 14.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.4% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 16.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $66,967, and the median income for a family was $76,214. Males had a median income of $52,177 versus $35,054 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,380. About 2.0% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Mount Airy town, Maryland". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  7. ^ Mount Airy, Maryland
  8. ^ Mount Airy, Maryland History
  9. ^ "Picture History". Mt. Airy Elementary School. Carroll County Public Schools. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  10. ^ "About Mt. Airy Middle School". Mt. Airy Middle School. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Average Weather for Mount Airy, MD - Temperature and precipitation". The Weather Channel. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]