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Kensington, Maryland
Town of Kensington
Kensington Town Hall
Kensington Town Hall
Location of Kensington, Maryland
Location of Kensington, Maryland
Country  United States
State  Maryland
County Flag of Montgomery County, Maryland.svg Montgomery
Incorporated 1894
 • Total 0.50 sq mi (1.30 km2)
 • Land 0.50 sq mi (1.30 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
285 ft (87 m)
 • Total 2,122
 • Density 4,218.69/sq mi (1,630.37/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area codes 301, 240
FIPS code 24-43500
GNIS feature ID 0590589

Kensington is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,213 at the 2010 United States Census. Greater Kensington encompasses the entire 20895 ZIP code, with a population of 19,054.


Kensington md plat 1890
Kensington Plat (c. 1890)
Kensington MD B&O station 2009
Kensington B&O railroad station, completed in 1891

The area around the Rock Creek basin where Kensington is located was primarily agricultural until 1873, when the B&O Railroad completed the Metropolitan Branch which traversed Montgomery County. A community arose where the new railroad line intersected the old Rockville-to-Bladensburg road. This early settlement was first known as Knowles Station. In the early 1890s, Washington, D.C. developer Brainard Warner began purchasing land parcels to build a planned Victorian community, complete with church, library and a local newspaper. Fascinated by a recent trip to London, Warner named his subdivision Kensington Park, the 10th and largest subdivision in the area which became the Town of Kensington. Upon incorporation in 1894, Warner convinced the Mayor and Council to name the town Kensington. The historic core of Kensington was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Kensington Historic District in 1980.

Originally a farming community at Knowles Station, Kensington developed into a summer refuge for Washington, D.C., residents wishing to escape the capital's humid summers. As years passed and its residents increasingly remained year round, Kensington evolved into a commuter suburb. The large southernmost section originally mapped out by Warner remains largely unchanged since inception, and is a historically preserved zone. Indeed, the only major changes in the town's basic layout have been the bridging over of the original railroad crossing in 1937, and the extension and widening of Connecticut Avenue, the town's main thoroughfare, in 1957.

In March 1975, Kensington gained attention regionally due to the disappearance of Sheila and Katherine Lyon. The sisters walked to Wheaton Plaza, a local shopping mall where they were seen by witnesses including their brother. However, they never returned home and the case remains unsolved.

The town gained national attention three times in a 10-month span early in the 21st century as a result of events which occurred within a mere quarter-mile radius. In December 2001, the town responded to complaints from anonymous citizens by banning Santa Claus from the annual holiday parade. Protesters arrived at the parade en masse, including hundreds of Santas riding everything from motorcycles to fire trucks. Eight months later, an Amtrak train derailed adjacent to the town center when the tracks separated at an overheated joint, injuring 72 people, though there were no fatalities. Then, on October 2, 2002, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera became the fifth victim of the snipers who terrorized the Washington area that month, while cleaning her auto at a Kensington gas station. (See Beltway sniper attacks.)


The Mormon Temple as seen from the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway

Kensington is located in Montgomery County, northwest of Silver Spring, northeast of Bethesda, west of Wheaton and southeast of Rockville. Its latitude is 39°1′48″N, longitude 77°4′30″W.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.48 square miles (1.24 km2), all land.

While the town proper is but one-half square mile in size, the Kensington Post Office serves a much larger area and extends into North Bethesda and the Wheaton Planning District. Residents within this ZIP code (20895) generally refer to Kensington as their home town even though they technically do not reside in "The Town of Kensington".

Significant through roads in Kensington include Maryland Routes 185 (Connecticut Avenue), 193 (University Boulevard West), and 547 (Knowles Avenue).

The look and white color of the Washington D.C. Temple located in Greater Kensington, coupled with its location near the Capital Beltway has made it a local landmark. D.C.-area traffic reports often refer to the "Mormon temple" or "temple".


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 477
1910 689 44.4%
1920 874 26.9%
1930 948 8.5%
1940 931 −1.8%
1950 1,611 73.0%
1960 2,175 35.0%
1970 2,322 6.8%
1980 1,822 −21.5%
1990 1,713 −6.0%
2000 1,873 9.3%
2010 2,213 18.2%
2020 2,122 −4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,213 people, 870 households, and 563 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,610.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,780.1/km2). There were 902 housing units at an average density of 1,879.2 per square mile (725.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 82.0% White, 6.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 5.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.

There were 870 households, of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.3% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.17.

The median age in the town was 42.1 years. 26.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24% were from 25 to 44; 30% were from 45 to 64; and 14.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.


The International Day of the Book or World Book Day is celebrated on the Sunday closest to April 23. This afternoon street festival celebrates the International Day of the Book with live music, author readings, open mic, activities for children and adults, storytellers, and books. Local authors, book artists, publishers, booksellers, and literary groups line Howard Ave in Historic Old Town Kensington to show, sell, and discuss their works.

Places of worship

  • Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
  • Christ Episcopal Church
  • First Baptist Church, Kengar
  • Holy Redeemer Parish (Roman Catholic)
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Kensington Baptist Church
  • Lee Memorial AME Church
  • Saint Paul's United Methodist Church
  • Temple Emmanuel
  • Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • Washington D.C. Temple of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


The Town of Kensington is served by the Montgomery County Public Schools system, specifically:

  • Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School
  • North Bethesda Middle School
  • Walter Johnson High School

Montgomery County Public Schools serving Greater Kensington include:

  • Garrett Park Elementary School
  • Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School
  • North Chevy Chase Elementary School
  • Oakland Terrace Elementary School
  • Rock View Elementary School
  • Newport Mill Middle School
  • North Bethesda Middle School
  • Tilden Middle School (Formally Charles W. Woodward)
  • Silver Creek Middle School
  • Albert Einstein High School
  • Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
  • Walter Johnson High School

Kensington is also home to:

  • Kensington Nursery School
  • Holy Redeemer School, a Roman Catholic parochial school
  • Grace Episcopal Day School
  • Academy of the Holy Cross, an all-girls Roman Catholic high school
  • Kensington parkrun, a free, timed 5K run/walk that occurs every Saturday at 9:00am.


2019-06-17 15 04 06 View south along Maryland State Route 185 (Connecticut Avenue) just south of Warner Street in Kensington, Montgomery County, Maryland
MD 185 southbound in Kensington

Four state highways serve Kensington. The most prominent of these is Maryland Route 185 (Connecticut Avenue), which provides the most direct link between Kensington and both Interstate 495 (the Capital Beltway) and Washington, D.C. The other major state highway serving the town is Maryland Route 193, which follows University Boulevard and Greenbelt Road east from Kensington across the northern and northeastern suburbs of Washington, D.C. The other two state highways, Maryland Route 192 and Maryland Route 547, are short connectors linking Kensington to nearby communities.

The Marc Brunswick Line serves Kensington at Kensington station (Maryland). It connects downtown Kensington with Washington, D.C. via Washington Union Station, as well as with northern Maryland including Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Point of Rocks, Maryland.

Multiple Ride On (bus) Service Kensington, including lines 4, 5, 33, 34, and 37. These buses take passengers from downtown Kensington to a variety of Destinations including Silver Spring, Maryland, Twinbrook (Rockville, Maryland), Glenmont station, Medical Center station (Washington Metro), Aspen Hill, Maryland, Friendship Heights, Wheaton, Maryland.

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