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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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.
The boundaries of Olney are not officially defined, although it stands as the largest town in the area. The heart of the town is located directly at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Olney-Laytonsville Road. Here the residents can enjoy a variety of lively entertainment as well as dining options. The Olney Theatre draws audience members from near and far and puts on dramatic productions and live music shows. Olney is predominately a residential area, though, and residents enjoy the proximity to the nation's capital where countless venues, boutiques, and restaurants await. For this reason, real estate is slightly higher than the national average, although quite lower compared to DC. However, the residents of Olney can enjoy a lifestyle that includes an incredibly low-crime rate, education opportunities, and college-educated neighbors who are friendly and welcoming.