Rockville grew from a convenient crossroads meeting place in the 1750s to become the legal and market center of the county. The tiny village was selected as the seat of local government in 1776 for its central location and the presence of taverns and inns to accommodate those with court business. Rockville was incorporated in 1860.
Rockville's businesses were not separated from the residential areas as today. Craftspeople and merchants often lived on the second story or next to their businesses. However, proximity to the Court House influenced many hotels, inns, and businesses to locate along Montgomery Avenue, Commerce Lane (now West Montgomery Avenue), and Washington Street. The area consisted of a variety of uses, including brick institutional buildings, small frame residences, 19th century hotels, and small businesses. The area of North Washington Street just north of Middle Lane was the location of the earliest black settlement in the town.
In the 1950s, increased traffic, lack of parking, and economic problems led City officials to redevelop the 46-acre area by demolishing most of the old buildings and replacing them with an enclosed mall. The Rockville Mall was razed in 1995 in an effort to revitalize the Town Center.