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Present-day Olney was originally Mechanicsville, which was established in 1800. The land was mainly used for farming until it eventually began to attract travellers and artisans. The area's present name comes from the Olney House, which belonged to two early residents who were particularly fond of the English poet William Cowper and named their home after his hometown. And Olney continues to celebrate its culturally inspired beginnings. Many of the roads and buildings established during the founding of Olney still thrive today. St. John's Episcopal church, for example, was established in 1842 and continues to stand. More history and educational programs can be admired at the Sandy Springs Museum.

Although Olney MD is an unincorporated section of Montgomery County, the town has a distinguished character and rich history. Originally an agricultural center, the area has expanded since the 1960s due to growth of the Washington DC suburbs, located only twenty miles south. Olney is a beloved home to many, and was ranked 17 out of the top 100 places to live, according to Money magazine.
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