Germantown is an urbanized census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland. With a population of 90,676, Germantown is the third most populous place in Maryland, after the city of Baltimore, and Columbia. If Germantown were to incorporate as a city, it would become the second largest incorporated city in Maryland, after Baltimore. Germantown is located approximately 25–30 miles outside of the U.S. capitol of Washington, D.C. and is an important part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. In the 1830s and 1840s, the central business area was focused around the intersection of Liberty Mill Road and Clopper Road. Several German immigrants set up shop at the intersection and the town became known as “German Town”, even though most residents of the town were of English or Scottish descent.
Since the early 1980s, Germantown has experienced rapid economic and population growth, both in the form of townhouses and single-family dwellings, and an urbanized “town center” has been built. Germantown was the fastest growing zip code in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and Maryland in 1986, and the 1980s saw a population growth of 323.3%. In October 2000, the Maryland SoccerPlex opened in Germantown. The sports complex includes nineteen natural grass fields, three artificial fields, a 5,200 seat soccer stadium with lighting and press box, eight indoor convertible basketball/volleyball courts. Two miniature golf courses, a splash park, a driving range, an archery course, community garden, model boat pond, two BMX courses, tennis center, and a swim center are also located within the confines of the complex. The soccerplex is the current home of the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Since development began in the late 20th century, Germantown has experienced economies of agglomeration, with many high-tech companies opening headquarters and other offices in Germantown and other areas along the Interstate 270 corridor. Library Systems & Services, Qiagen North America, Earth Network Systems Inc., Digital Receiver Technology Inc., Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, and Hughes Network Systems all have their headquarters in Germantown. In addition to the companies headquartered in Germantown, many have offices in the area, including Wabtec, Xerox, General Electric Aviation, WeatherBug, and Proxy Aviation Systems.