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Montgomery County, locally also referred to as Montco, is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Based on the 2010 census, the
population was 799,874, making it the third-most populous county in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties. The county seat
is Norristown. Montgomery County is very diverse, ranging from farms and open land in Upper Hanover to densely populated rowhouse streets in
Montgomery County is included in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is a suburban county northwest of Philadelphia, and marks the region's northern border, with the Lehigh Valley region of the state to the north.
Named perhaps for Montgomeryshire in Wales, for the Revolutionary hero Gen. Richard Montgomery, or for two legislators named Montgomery who advanced the bill to create the county.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Created on September 10, 1784 from
part of Philadelphia County. Named perhaps for Montgomeryshire in Wales, for the
Revolutionary hero Gen. Richard Montgomery, or for two legislators named
Montgomery who advanced the bill to create the county. Norristown, the county
seat, was laid out in 1784 and incorporated as a borough on March 31, 1812. It
was named for Isaac Norris who owned land there.
Settled since 1685, the first residents were Germans, mainly pietists, in Germantown. Welsh, Scotch-Irish, English (mostly Quakers), and Swedes flocked to the area. The opening of the Schuylkill Canal in 1825 boosted the economy, followed by railroads. The Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line passed through in the 1860s, giving rise to an elite residential area, "the Main Line." Intelligent farming has always been practiced on the county's good soil. Iron works arose in Norristown, Pottstown, and Conshohocken, and leather tanning was very important until the 1930s. Bernard McCready began a large textile factory in Norristown in 1826, with an enormous factory. Cigars, carriages, and paper were nineteenth-century Montgomery specialties, and marble is still quarried. From about 1900 to the 1970s steel, machinery, textiles, rubber, electrical, chemicals, and paint manufacturing were strong. The county is still a manufacturing giant. In 1992 it had the highest "value added from manufactures" figure of any Pennsylvania county. This was an amazing 9 ¼ billion dollars- more than double the figure for any other county. In addition, much personal income comes in from residents who work in Philadelphia. The county has the highest personal income rate and lowest percentage in poverty of the sixty-seven counties. Eighteen percent of the land is still farmed, and the county ranks eleventh in cash receipts from field crops. Both Republican Gov. Hartranft and Democratic presidential candidate Winfield Scott Hancock were natives.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 487 square miles (1,262 km2), of
which, 483 square miles (1,251 km2) of it is land and 4 square miles (11 km2) of it (0.89%) is water.
Bordering counties are as follows:
Bryn Athyn College
Bryn Mawr College
DeVry University – Fort Washington
Gwynedd Mercy University
Montgomery County Community College
Pennsylvania College of Optometry (Salus University)
Penn State Abington – a commonwealth campus of Pennsylvania State University
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
Saint Joseph's University
Temple University – Ambler
Westminster Theological Seminary