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Seneca, Maryland
Seneca Schoolhouse Museum in Seneca, Montgomery County, Maryland
Seneca Schoolhouse Museum in Seneca, Montgomery County, Maryland
Country United States
State Maryland
County Montgomery
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code

Seneca is an unincorporated community in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It is located near the intersection of River Road and Seneca Creek, not far from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) and Potomac River. Its history goes back before the American Revolutionary War and it thrived when the canal was operating—having several warehouses, mills, a store, a hotel, and a school. Fighting occurred in the area on more than one occasion during the American Civil War. The community declined as the C&O Canal declined.

Today (2020), the community uses a Poolesville ZIP code, but is part of the Darnestown census-designated place. The Seneca schoolhouse is a museum, and nearby Riley's Lock and lock house are part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The community is located near the Dierssen Wildlife Management Area and the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area. Since 1978, Seneca and additional territory have been part of the Seneca Historic District.


Darnestown CDP and Seneca

Seneca is part of the Darnestown census-designated place (CDP), an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland. The CDP is 17.70 square miles (45.8 km2) with the Potomac River as its southern border and the Muddy Branch as much of its eastern border. Seneca Creek borders portions of its north and west sides. As of the 2010 U.S. census, the Darnestown CDP population was 6,802—and Seneca's population is a small subset of the CDP total. Total land area for the CDP was 16.39 square miles (42.4 km2) out of a total area of 17.70 square miles (45.8 km2). The population density for the CDP was 415.0 inhabitants per square mile (160.2/km2). The CDP had 2,275 housing units at an average density of 138.8 per square mile (53.6/km2). These densities were much lower than county seat Rockville, where the District 4 portion had a population density of 4,403.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,700.1/km2) and a housing density of 1,779.3 units per square mile (687.0 units per km2).


Darnestown Elementary School
Darnestown Elementary School in 2020

Seneca is served by Montgomery County Public Schools. Those that live on, or east of, Rileys Lock Road attend Darnestown Elementary, Lakelands Park Middle School, and Northwest High School. Northwest High School is located in Germantown. Those that live west of Seneca Creek attend Poolesville elementary, middle, and high schools. Private schools in the area include Butler Montessori, Mary of Nazareth Catholic School, and Seneca Academy. Bullis School, which serves kindergarten through high school, is located slightly further away on a 102-acre campus in Potomac, Maryland.

Higher education

Montgomery College has a Germantown campus known as the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology. It also has a campus in Rockville and a training center in Gaithersburg. The Universities at Shady Grove is located within North Potomac and offers select degree programs from nine public Maryland universities. Instead of being a university itself, this campus partners with other universities and offers courses for 80 upper-level undergraduate, graduate degree, and certificate programs. The participating universities handle admissions. Johns Hopkins University has a campus in Rockville near the Universities at Shady Grove.

Public library

Two libraries, part of the Montgomery County Public Library system, are located less than 10 miles (16 km) from Seneca. Poolesville Library, also known as Maggie Nightingale Library, is northwest of Seneca in Poolesville. Potomac Library, constructed in 1985 by the county, is located east of Seneca in Potomac. Priddy Library is part of the University of Maryland Libraries system and is located at the Universities at Shady Grove in North Potomac. The Priddy Library opened in 2007 and is available to the public.



2016-10-21 14 11 06 View east along Maryland State Route 190 (River Road) at Maryland State Route 112 (Seneca Road) in Darnestown, Montgomery County, Maryland
River Road at Seneca Road in 2016

Seneca's major roads are River Road (Maryland Route 190) and Seneca Road (Maryland Route 112). Three Interstate Highways are reasonably close. Maryland's Interstate 270 is a major north–south Interstate Highway for Montgomery County that connects with Washington's Capital Beltway (a.k.a. Interstate 495). Interstate 95 is a major north–south highway for the nation's east coast. Portions of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metrorail system are located in Montgomery County, and Red Line stations on the west side of the county are closest to Seneca. Among those west side Metro stations with ample parking lots is the Grosvenor-Strathmore station.


Seneca's electric power is provided by Pepco (Potomac Electric Power Company), which serves much of Montgomery County, portions of Prince George's County, and all of the District of Columbia. Washington Gas provides natural gas service to residents and businesses. The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, a county waste collection facility located in Rockville, is available for drop off of garbage, recycling, and yard debris.


The nearest general hospital is the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville. This medical facility has a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Adventist Health Care has multiple satellite locations throughout the county.

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