Sitting high on Parr’s Ridge overlooking rolling farmland, St. James’ Episcopal Church is located in Mount Airy, MD, an area which includes the Town of Mount Airy and spreads over four counties – Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery. Baltimore is 35 miles to the East, Frederick is 20 miles to the West and Washington, D.C. is 50 miles to the South. The town sits just northwest of the intersection of Interstate 70 and MD Route 27. St. James’ is on Main Street just north of the town where the Town Hall, our Thrift Shop, wonderful restaurants, antique shops and gift shops are located. A welcoming community, Mount Airy is a place where you meet your friends for coffee and greet your neighbors on Main Street.
The community began in 1830 as a settlement of houses and stores along Parr’s Ridge. During the early years the settlement was not named. In the 1840’s the town’s few citizens felt a need for a church and education for their children. In 1846, the Presbyterian Church, now known as Pine Grove Chapel, was built for worship and, for over twenty years, private school classes were held in the basement. History tells of an Irish B&O Railroad brakeman whose ears were freezing from the very cold wind which crosses Parr’s Ridge. He suggested that the name Mount Airy (Mt. Airy) would be appropriate for the small town. The name met with the favor of the people and became the town’s legal name.
Thanks to the B&O Railroad, the town grew considerably. During the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, St. James’ Episcopal Church was built, followed by the Methodist and Southern Methodist Churches. Because of its proximity to the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan corridor, the four county area in which St. James’ is located has been experiencing a tremendous population growth. 2012 data shows that the Town of Mount Airy has 3,107 households and a population that has grown to 9,365 since 2000, a 64% increase in 12 years. The surrounding Mount Airy zip code contains 9,845 households and has a population of 29,563. Since Mount Airy has a small town, country setting and is easily accessible to Baltimore and Washington, the population growth has mainly been business and professional people who drive 45 – 60 minutes to their work locations. Homes in the area are generally priced between $200,000 and $700,000. The Mount Airy zip code is serviced by the public school systems of Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. Based on annual statewide testing, these school systems are considered among the best in Maryland.
Within a one to four hour drive from Mount Airy are the Shenandoah and Allegheny Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the nation’s capital Washington D.C., historic civil war battlefields, and the states of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Three major airports and AMTRAK are within an hour’s drive of Mount Airy. Sports enthusiasts can cheer for National Football League teams (the Ravens and the Redskins) and Major League Baseball teams (the Orioles and the Nationals). The Mid Atlantic area offers a wonderful variety of scenery and activities for all age groups.