Boyds, Maryland

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Boyds, Maryland
Unincorporated community
Boyds Maryland from MD 117.jpg
Boyds, Maryland, seen from Maryland Route 117
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Coordinates: 39°11′01″N77°18′46″W / 39.18361°N 77.31278°W / 39.18361; -77.31278 Coordinates: 39°11′01″N77°18′46″W / 39.18361°N 77.31278°W / 39.18361; -77.31278
Country United States
State Maryland
County Montgomery
Population (2010)
  Total 10,460
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code20841
Area code(s) 240 and 301

Boyds, Maryland is an unincorporated community in rural Montgomery County, Maryland, located about 20 miles (32 km) north of Washington, D.C. [1] Its ZIP Code is 20841.

Unincorporated area Region of land not governed by own local government

In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not governed by a local municipal corporation; similarly an unincorporated community is a settlement that is not governed by its own local municipal corporation, but rather is administered as part of larger administrative divisions, such as a township, parish, borough, county, city, canton, state, province or country. Occasionally, municipalities dissolve or disincorporate, which may happen if they become fiscally insolvent, and services become the responsibility of a higher administration. Widespread unincorporated communities and areas are a distinguishing feature of the United States and Canada. In most other countries of the world, there are either no unincorporated areas at all, or these are very rare; typically remote, outlying, sparsely populated or uninhabited areas.

Montgomery County, Maryland County in Maryland

Montgomery County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland, located adjacent to Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 971,777, increasing by 9.0% to an estimated 1,058,810 in 2017. The county seat and largest municipality is Rockville, although the census-designated place of Germantown is the most populous place. Montgomery County is included in the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn forms part of the Baltimore–Washington Combined Statistical Area. Most of the county's residents live in unincorporated locales, of which the most built up are Silver Spring and Bethesda, although the incorporated cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg are also large population centers, as are many smaller but significant places.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.


According to the United States 2010 Census, the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) for Boyds covers an area of about 26 square miles (67 km2) and has a population of 10,460. [2] Black Hill Regional Park, Little Seneca Lake, and Seneca Creek State Park are located in Boyds.

ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) are statistical entities developed by the United States Census Bureau for tabulating summary statistics. These were introduced with the Census 2000 and continued with the 2010 Census. This new entity was developed to overcome the difficulties in precisely defining the land area covered by each ZIP code. Defining the extent of an area is necessary in order to tabulate census data for that area.

Little Seneca Lake lake in Montgomery County, Maryland

Little Seneca Lake is a reservoir located near the Boyds community in Montgomery County, Maryland.


The community was named for Colonel James Alexander Boyd (1823–1896), a Scottish immigrant who was a construction engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Boyd built a temporary village to house construction workers as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built the Metropolitan Branch line after the American Civil War. The railroad line began service in 1873. After the railroad station opened, a mill, stores, and other businesses were established in the area. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad opened a brick railroad station in 1887. The railroad station was demolished to make way for installation of a second track in 1927. A wooden station was built as a replacement, but it was later taken down. [3] Commuter Rail service (primarily to Washington, D.C.) is still provided at Boyds by the MARC system.

Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scotch-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage. The majority of Scotch-Irish Americans originally came from Lowland Scotland and Northern England before migrating to the province of Ulster in Ireland and thence, beginning about five generations later, to North America in large numbers during the eighteenth century.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad former rail system in the United States of America

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which would have connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At first this railroad was located entirely in the state of Maryland, with an original line built from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook.

Metropolitan Subdivision railroad line in the United States of America

The Metropolitan Subdivision is a railroad line owned and operated by CSX Transportation in the District of Columbia and the U.S. state of Maryland. The line runs from Washington, D.C. northwest to Weverton, Maryland along the former Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

James Boyd established dairy farms in the area and lived in the town until his death in 1896. [4]

Dairy farming class of agricultural, or an animal husbandry, enterprise

Dairy farming is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk, which is processed for eventual sale of a dairy product.

Boyds Negro School

Boyds Negro School in 2013 Boyds Negro School (21601271176).jpg
Boyds Negro School in 2013

Boyds Negro School, located at 19510 White Ground Road, was the only public school erected for African Americans who lived in the area from 1896 to 1936. Boyds Negro School is a Maryland Historic Site.

African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.

Boyds Negro School is a small, one-room school house, containing a small number of desks, a blackboard, and an authentic potbelly stove, as well as a framed picture of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Potbelly stove

A potbelly stove is a cast-iron wood-burning stove, round with a bulge in the middle. The name is derived from the resemblance of the stove to that of a fat man's pot belly. They were designed to heat large spaces and were often found in train stations or one-room schoolhouses. The flat top of the fireplace allowed for cooking of food, or the heating of water.

Frederick Douglass American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman

Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.

Subjects taught in the school included spelling, cooking, reading, singing, and weaving. [5]

Boyds Negro School was renovated by the Boyds Historical Society in 1989. The Boyds Historical Society filled the building with furnishings so the school would look as it did in the early 1900s.

In 2006, termites caused major damage to the wooden floor boards, and the school building was renovated. Boyds Negro School reopened on June 28, 2008, one of Montgomery County's annual heritage days. [6]

Boyds Negro School is currently open to the public on the last Sunday of every month, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, April through October or upon request. [7]

Boyds Mercantile and Stores

The first Boyds Country Store was opened in 1873, the same year that the railroad was connected to the town. It was run by James E. Williams. The store served as a market of goods for both citizens and passers-bye in Boyds, as well as a meeting place for the townspeople in the afternoon.

Colonel Boyd built a second store across the road in 1895. It housed the general store and post office on its first floor and a town hall on the second floor along with a dance hall.

As time went by, the town hall became smaller and smaller as the building was used for additional purposes until it was finally torn down for salvageable lumber in the early 1940s. In the evenings, families would gather on the front porch of the general store; the parents talking and their children playing out on the lawn in front of the store. After the first country store became vacant in 1946, it was bought in an auction by Brice P. Selby. He was known to allow his customers to buy on credit, resulting in not much cash profit for him and his store. However, Selby was well known as a kind and generous soul.

A third store, known as the Boyds Country Market, exists on Barnesville Road across from the site of the old town hall. Boyds Country Market was built by Will Williams in 1933.

The first two Boyds Country Stores, as well as the town hall, old Hoyle's Mill, and a hardware store were all destroyed in the development of the surrounding area.

A small post office was located at the back of the country store from the early 1930s until 1974, when it was relocated to a new building on Barnesville Road, where it still sits today. [8]

Recent development in and around Boyds

Boyds has until recently been a predominantly rural area. The first phase of modern development occurred in the 1980s, following the creation of the man-made Little Seneca Lake. However, since the 2000 Census, there has been enormous population growth in the zip code, particularly in the areas near Germantown and Clarksburg. Large home developments with thousands of residents each, such as The Vistas near the intersection of Route 118 and Richter Farm Road, have rapidly replaced farmland and forest.


More recently, there has been some discussion as to the exact southern boundary of Boyds. Survey maps show that the community's southern boundary runs along Little Seneca Creek.


The residents of Boyds are 38.6% white, 9% Hispanic, 13.8% black, 35.3% Asian, 3.3% mixed or other.

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Maryland Route 121 highway in Maryland

Maryland Route 121 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. Known as Clarksburg Road, the highway runs 3.96 miles (6.37 km) from MD 117 in Boyds north to Stringtown Road between Interstate 270 (I-270) and MD 355 in Clarksburg. MD 121 connects Boyds and Clarksburg in northern Montgomery County. The highway was paved from Clarksburg to Boyds in the early to mid-1910s. MD 121 was extended to north of Clarksburg in the late 1920s and early 1930s. MD 121 was relocated through Clarksburg in the mid-1950s when I-270 was constructed through the area. The highway's northern end was rolled back to MD 355 in the mid-1970s. MD 121 was relocated in Boyds in the mid-1980s. The highway's northern end was moved to its present terminus just north of I-270 when Stringtown Road was constructed in the mid-2000s. In addition to the Boyds–Clarksburg route, MD 121 has also included three disjoint segments in Dawsonville and Germantown. All three of these routes were segments of the original MD 119.

Maryland Route 109 highway in Maryland

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Little Seneca Creek stream in Montgomery County, Maryland

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  1. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Boyds, Maryland
  3. Soderberg, Susan C. (1998), The Met: A History of the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad, Its Stations and Towns, Germantown, Maryland: Germantown Historical Society, pp. 51–53
  4. Clan Boyd Society, International. "Colonel James Alexander Boyd." Accessed December 10, 2008.
  5. Coleman, Margaret: Montgomery County: A Pictorial History, 1984
  6. "Historic school to reopen for Heritage Days".
  7. "Boyds Historical Society".
  8. Virts, Arthur: Boyds: a Character Study, 2008