About Ashton, MD
Ashton is a small community located in Montgomery County, Maryland. The commercial center of Ashton is situated at the junction of Route 108 (Ashton Road) and New Hampshire Avenue (Route 650). It’s unclear where the name Ashton came from, but some say it’s from a large ash tree that used to stand at the junction of routes 108 and 650. Others say it’s a combination of the names of two Thomas family homes, Ashland and Clifton, which are both located one mile from the junction.
History of Ashton, MD
The “Ashton Master Plan” (1998) contains a vision to preserve the character of Sandy Spring/Ashton as an historic rural community. However, this goal is in conflict with the trend of development in the area. The plan itself notes that “the reliance on a zoning strategy that permitted large-lot, low-density development patterns and clustering around the village centers has not been as effective in maintaining the rural character, as originally envisioned.” In 2020, significant development efforts have begun pursuant to the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan.
Alban Gilpin Thomas rented the general store in 1870 and opened the first post office in 1889, at which point Ashton’s new name became official. The name was derived from Thomas’ birthplace, Ashland, and another renowned Thomas home, Clifton. Paving came late to the busy crossroad – in 1917 the current Route 108 was surfaced and a decade later New Hampshire Avenue was as well.