If you wanted to read the history of the American car industry, a great place to start would be the book, “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer”. This book is inspired by, created for, and dedicated to Lewis Reed whose legacy started almost 100 years ago. “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer” Second Edition is available through Blurb.com print-on-demand bookstore. The second edition has been published in place of the first edition, which was originally released in 2012.
More than 60+ pages of additional content and over 100 new photographs have been added. It is the same as the first edition, but better. You can see a preview of this 168-page book by clicking on the book above. To see the book full screen (highly recommended), click on the button just to the left of the blue “blurb” icon. (The pages turn by clicking the tabs on the left and right of the book.)
As a special thank you to all the readers of this blog, this book has been placed online for everyone to enjoy for free. To download the complimentary eBook formatted for Apple iPad click here.
If you’d like to check out the hard copy book or maybe purchase a copy, click “Book Preview” on the badge below.
This is where it all began, 99 years ago in October of 1915. Reed Brothers was franchised as a Dodge dealership and service facility in October 1915, only one year after the first Dodge automobile was made. In 1914, Lewis Reed became a partner in Rockville Garage with Robert L. and Griffith Warfield. The Warfield brothers had purchased this building in July 1915, from Lee Ricketts and Sons who had the Overland Agency. The business continued to operate under the old name until it was changed at the suggestion of the late Judge Edward Peter shortly after Edgar Reed joined his brother.
Lewis Reed’s Rockville Garage sold more than just Dodges. During the early years, Reed Brothers represented several franchise nameplates along with Dodge, including Oldsmobile, Hudson and Essex. The Hudson and Oldsmobile were sold at Reed Brothers from roughly 1917 through 1921.
In 1930. Reed Brothers added the Plymouth line. The first Plymouth was built in 1928 and Plymouths were sold at Reed Brothers until 1969, when the brand was given to the Chrysler dealers.
The actual story of how Lewis Reed was chosen for a Dodge Brothers Motor Car franchise is lost, but his legacy continued until 2009 as the oldest Dodge dealership under the same family ownership in Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.
Before the advent of color photography, photographers painstakingly applied color to black and white photos in order to show a truer visual depiction of a photo image. The hand-tinted photos of Lewis Reed and his daughter, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner are examples of this medium. The small collection of hand-tinted photographs were taken by Lewis Reed in the early 1900s. The photographs were hand-colored my my mother, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner.
The art of hand tinted photos was introduced along side the daguerreotype in 1839. In the 19th century it was most common for the professional photographer to tint the photograph or tintype just after printing. Later photo artists introduced new techniques using oil, watercolor and other types of paint to achieve the desired result. With the Great Depression, the sale of professional hand tinted photographs declined, but the home artist continued to have access to hand tinting kits. There is a very informative wiki article here which provided me with the brief details I have shared with you.
Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me. I have no formal history training, just a general interest in local history where I grew up. This special post is a part of a new blog feature called, “Rockville’s Past Through the Lens of Lewis Reed”. It doesn’t have anything to do with Reed Brothers Dodge, but it does have a lot to do with it’s founder, Lewis Reed. With photography for a hobby, one that began even before automobiles were around, Lewis Reed had amassed an extensive collection of photographs from historical locations in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.
With that said, I will not try to be an historian; I will simply highlight some photos and supply a few sentences of context. I will begin with some images of Black Rock Mill … through the lens of Lewis Reed.
Black Rock Mill was built by Thomas Hillary and has stood along the banks of Great Seneca Creek as a landmark since its construction in 1815-1816. The mill was in working operation for over a hundred years until a flood in 1920 destroyed a dam on Seneca Creek and damaged the mill. Today, it a unique survivor of the many mills in Montgomery County harnessing the water-power of the creeks to grind wheat and corn into flour. It is one of only two mills standing in Montgomery County Maryland. (click on images to enlarge)
As far as can be determined, Lewis Reed’s collection of Black Rock Mill photographs are probably some of the earliest known.
Lewis Reed was a well-known photographer in the county and many of his early photographs are now part of the Montgomery County Historical Society photo archives. The Jane C. Sween Library was recently given a collection of 280 glass plate negatives, showing Montgomery County in the early 20th century.
A photo taken by Lewis Reed appeared below in an undated Montgomery County Courier newspaper.
For now, the mill sits idle but majestic on the Seneca Creek, a reminder of a long time ago. Black Rock Mill is owned by MCPS and is open to the public during daylight hours. There are also hiking trails all around it since it sits within the parks system. This is a very large structure and is one of the best preserved old mills in Montgomery County. It also sits directly alongside a creek and the interior of the building has flood markers on the walls. At least one flood took over 2/3 of the building.
Directions: From Germantown, go south on Germantown Road/Md 118 for 2.5 miles, turn right onto Black Rock Road and go about 3 miles to the mill on the right at Great Seneca Creek. The mill is located in Seneca Creek State Park.