New Blog Feature: Then & Now

Then & Now

Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me, and with a newfound interest in history, it occurred to me that with the vast number of historical photographs in Lewis Reed’s Collection, that this blog would be a great place to feature a series of Then & Now photography. With that in mind, I will occasionally be spotlighting some “Then & Now” images from his collection that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales alongside photographs of how they appear today.

I have no formal history training, just a general interest in local history where I grew up. I will not try to be an historian; I will post a photo and supply a few sentences of context. All of them will in some way will offer a visual history of how things have changed over the years. I look forward to sharing them with you.


On the Self-Publishing Horizon … Again!

I’m excited to announce that for the last year or so, I’ve been thinking about self-publishing a photo book specific to my grandfather, Lewis Reed, with a working title of, “Lewis Reed Photograph Collection (1898-1960).”  Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me, and with a newfound interest in history, the curious part of me wants to learn more: When was the picture taken? Where? What is it? Who’s in it? The majority of his photos are more than 100 years old and many are lacking labels and/or dates, which requires quite a bit of research and a little photo detective work on my part.

With that in mind, I will be frequently spotlighting photographs that may not directly pertain to the history of Reed Brothers Dodge, but will have a lot to do with it’s founder, Lewis Reed. I will not try to be an historian; I will post photos and supply a few paragraphs of context. Many photographic images in this collection have never before been seen publicly in print and will be available in this book for the first time.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks, timid to hit the ‘publish’ button. Likely because the size of the project is overwhelming and committing to it is a bit daunting (although exciting at the same time). It doesn’t help that as the ambition of my projects and goals increase, so too, can self-doubt. Below is the Draft Table of Contents for the book, which I’m sure will see some revisions as I progress.

Having said that, I will be switching my focus and time to mostly photo identification and researching/writing for the book.

Time to get to work!

Draft Table of Contents

Draft Table of Contents

Reed Photo Collection (1898-1960)

Lewis Reed Photos

Lewis Reed, founder of Reed Brothers Dodge, was a well-known photographer in Montgomery County. Many of his photographs are now part of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Historical Society photo archives. He even developed his own photographs. He had a darkroom in his house —  in the kitchen, to be exact — and worked at night to develop the negatives.

About This Collection:

Since I started this blog, I have had the opportunity to look through my grandfather’s extensive collection of photographs from historical locations not only in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia, but all across the country. It occurred to me that with the vast number of photographs in his albums, that this blog would be a great place to highlight them.

With that in mind, the Reed Photo Collection (1898-1960) spotlights the photographs that I have been able to research and identify. There are 70+ blog posts within this section that gives a snapshot of what life was like more than 100 years ago. Highlights include the Black Rock Grist Mill, Rockville Water Tower, C&O Canal, 1939 World’s Fair, Frederick & Rockville Fairs, Trolley Cars, Wright Brothers Airplane, Quebec Bridge (8th Wonder of the World) and Old Rockville High School. Especially stunning are images of the aftermath of the 1936 Gainesville Georgia tornado, one of the deadliest tornadoes in American history. Many photographic images in this collection have never before been seen publicly in print.

Lewis Reed’s photography has appeared in highly regarded history books such as, Montgomery County: Two Centuries of Change by Jane C. Sween, Rockville: Portrait of a City by Eileen S. McGuckian, and Gaithersburg: History of a City. His photographs have been featured in the Norris-Banonis Automotive Wall Calendar, on the national television show, American Pickers, and on television’s most watched history series, American Experience on PBS.

Of particular note is Lewis Reed’s collection of hand-tinted photographs and double exposure images. He was 100 years ahead of his time by creating special effects to images long before the convenience and efficiency of digital photography and Photoshop were ever imaginable.

Click here to take a look back in time and explore the lives of those who have gone before us.

Note: All images are scanned from prints made from Lewis Reed’s original glass plate negatives. Glass plate negatives were in common use between the 1880s and the late 1920s. No touch-up or alteration has been done, in order to retain their historical essence.

Book Release: “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer” Third Edition

In September 2012, I created a self-published book version of this blog, entitled “Portrait of An Automobile Dealer”. In short, it’s an updated and chronologically ordered version of this blog. A second edition was published in place of the first edition, which was released in 2013. Now, after five years, the third, and final edition, is available through print-on-demand bookstore. Overall, since the second edition, “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer” Third Edition has expanded to 224 pages and is enhanced by over 600 photographs, some of them more than 100 years old, taken by Lewis Reed, founder of Reed Brothers Dodge. The third edition again has loads of small updates, including a new chapter: “Celebrating a Legacy”.

In this book, readers will find an historic timeline that showcases the company’s 95-year history, how Reed Brothers Dodge came into being, and how the company overcame the inevitable changes and challenges throughout almost a decade of being in business. “This book is of interest not only to those of us who remember Reed Brothers Dodge, but to others who wish to get to know Rockville as it was before they arrived”, said Jane C. Sween, former librarian at the Montgomery County Historical Society.

The author puts the former Dodge dealership in perspective by demonstrating that the dealerships influence continues to this day on the site of its former location, now the Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments. “Honoring the rich historical legacy of this site was extremely important to us,” said Tom Keady, President & Chief Executive Officer of The Bainbridge Companies. “With the sculpture and the floor plan names, our residents and visitors feel a real connection to the site’s past, and we pay tribute to Reed Brothers Dodge’s role in creating a vibrant Rockville.”

Blog creator and book author, Jeanne Gartner, received the 2016 Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development. The book is an “exemplary effort to inform, establishing a virtual commemoration of a landmark, which lacks surviving tangible form”, noted Peerless Rockville.

The book “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer, Third Edition” is available through print-on-demand bookstore. If you would like to check out the hard copy book or purchase a copy, please visit:

As a special thank you to all the readers of this blog, this book has been placed online for everyone to enjoy for free. A complimentary eBook available for Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPad, Android devices, and Mac or PC computers is also available through Blurb:

Note: It’s worth noting that Print-On-Demand (POD) books, are usually more expensive per copy than a book printed via offset printing. That’s because offset printing (the method used for most mass-produced books found in bookstores) requires a minimum order of 500-1,000 copies. Print on demand, on the other hand, needs only a minimum order of one copy. The smaller scale and different workflow results in a higher cost per book, since the books are only printed when they are ordered. This book is not marked up for profit; but sold at base price.

Then & Now: Reed Brothers Dodge 80 Years Ago

Reed Brothers Dodge and the surrounding area sure has changed a lot in its almost century-long history. You might not realize how much things have changed until you look back and see what it looked like in the past. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Google Maps street view image from today for “now”.

THEN: Aerial view showing Reed Brothers Dodge at its original location at the triangle close to 80 years ago. The connector street behind the dealership was later named “Dodge Street” commemorating Reed Brothers’ presence from 1914-1970. Photo taken by Lewis Reed from a Goodyear Blimp that came to the dealership in 1938 to promote tires.

Reed Brothers Dodge Aerial

Aerial view of entire original Reed Brothers dealership at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, ca. 1940. A two-story house stands behind the dealership. Photo by Lewis Reed.

NOW: The color photograph below, is the dealership’s location today, now known as Veterans Park. In the 1970s the site was known as the Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, and later in 1988, it was permanently rededicated as Veterans Park. In the late 1960s, the state of Maryland acquired the land to widen 355 and donated the remaining sliver to the City. The state named the connector street behind the dealership’s location “Dodge Street” because Reed Brothers Dodge dealership was located there for more than 50 years.

Reed Brothers Dodge location 2018

Reed Brothers Dodge original location at the triangle today. Google Image Capture, 2018

Meet Phillip Reed

First Shop Force 1916

1916 – First Shop Force: Lewis Reed, (first name unknown) Long and Phillip Reed

Reed Brothers Dodge started Sales and Service operations in 1915 with a handful of key employees. Phillip Reed was a brother of Lewis Reed and a part of the dealership’s first work force. Phillip came to work for the dealership in 1916 as a mechanic until 1944.

Phillip Reed

Phillip Reed

108 Years Ago at Rockville High School

Montgomery County High School 1906

1911 Originally known as Montgomery County High School, later as Rockville High School. Photo by Lewis Reed

In honor of this year’s commencement, here is a look back at some 1910 class photos from Montgomery County High School that were taken by Lewis Reed. This is a collection of group photos of school children, some with the teacher, taken in 1910 from Montgomery County High School (Old Rockville High School). I wanted to share these photographs, because they offer a visual history of a part of Rockville’s past taken more than 100 years ago.

Most of the photos are labeled with only the year, so if you have corrections to the names or can identify other individuals, please contact me or leave a comment below. Several students have been identified by the Montgomery County Historical Society, which I have included.

In this era, students from grades one through eleven attended the public school at Montgomery Avenue and Monroe Street. Named Montgomery County High School with the addition of upper grades in 1892, as the school board opened other facilities it became Rockville High School and then, in 1935, Richard Montgomery High School. Students came to the school by train, trolley, and later by school bus from all corners of the county.

Step back in time into a much simpler past and get a look at class photos of Rockville High School students from over 108 years ago. As always, click the photos to get a better look. Some of the expressions on these students faces are priceless!

Montgomery County High School 1910

Old Rockville High School class c. 1910. Photo by Lewis Reed

Back row: Edward Story, Lena Ricketts, Tom Young, Louise Larcombe, Miss Ford, Fred Hays, Lucius Lamar, name unknown, name unknown.
Middle Row: name unknown, name unknown, Jesse Wathen, Jesse Higgins, name unknown, name unknown, Mary Hyatt, name unknown, name unknown.
Front Row: Maude England, Rebecca Lamar, (first name unknown) Garrett, Helen Pumphrey, (first name unknown) Lehman.

Montgomery County High School 1910

Old Rockville High School graduates 1910. Photo by Lewis Reed

Back: Harry Beall, Katherine Hughes.
Middle: names unknown
Front: Edith Prettyman, (first name unknown) Darby

Old Rockville High School Baseball Team 1910

Old Rockville High School First Baseball Team 1910. Photo by Lewis Reed

Front: Billy Beck, Tom Young, Ed Storey, Harry Beall, Roy Warfield.
Back: (first name unknown) Hicks, Lucius Lamar, name unknown, name unknown, Jesse Higgins, name unknown, name unknown, Fred Hays, Roger Whiteford.
Holding pennant: Griffith Warfield

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910

Montgomery County High School 1910


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