Circa 1920s: Rockville Fairground Ferris Wheel

Rockville Fair Ground Old Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel at Rockville Fairground, circa 1920s. Photo by Lewis Reed

Forget Valentine’s, Happy Ferris Wheel Day!

Did you know that February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Ferris Wheel Day? This unofficial national holiday is held on this day to honor the birth of the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. What better way to celebrate Ferris Wheel Day than enjoying this old photograph of the Ferris Wheel taken at the Rockville Fairgrounds, courtesy of Lewis Reed. The fairgrounds were just outside Rockville, about where Richard Montgomery High School is today. The Fair lasted four days, from August 21st to the 24th, and drew visitors from local counties, Washington, and Baltimore.

For the singles and the “enough already with the Valentines”, here is your perfect alternative excuse. Go wish all your friends and family a Happy Ferris Wheel Day!

Feb 8, 1967: Senate Resolution No. 10

On February 8, 1967, the Senate of Maryland passed SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 10 to honor the memory of Lewis Reed shortly after his death on January 28,1967 at the age of 79. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Thomas M. Anderson, Jr and  Senator Louise Gore.

Senate Resolution

Lewis Reed Photo: Old Car Wreck

1920s Car Wreck

Photo by Lewis Reed

This photo taken by Lewis Reed in the early 1920s was not picked for its shock value, but for the history it contains of an era long since gone. During the 1920s a drivers license wasn’t needed in most states. It was the wild west when it came to driving. Poorly maintained roads, uneducated drivers, and speeds approaching 40 mph was the perfect combination for some really bad accidents. The photograph sure hits home with just how fragile those early cars were.

1920s: Dodge Dealers Tackle Snowy Goshen Road in Gaithersburg

MD Dealer Plates 1920 HUDSON SUPER 6 TOURING

Circa 1920 Hudson Six with Maryland Dealer License Plate on front. There weren’t heaters in these old cars, so motorists had to really bundle up. Photo by Lewis Reed

These previously unpublished photos from Lewis Reed’s album are what appears to be a caravan of circa 1920s cars all with Dealer license plates slowly making their way along a snowbound Goshen Road in rural Gaithersburg. The radiator badge on the front of the car in the above image identifies it as a Hudson. The only indication of where these photos were taken was a small piece of paper tucked behind one of the photos that was labeled “Goshen Road – outside Gaithersburg”.

Early motorists weren’t afraid to drive in the snow simply because they didn’t have 4-wheel drive and electronic assistance; they just got out and did it. In the spirit of the upcoming weekend snow storm, here are a few photos that recall the beauties and trials of winters past, from Lewis Reed’s collection.

1920 MD Dealers

Dealer car stopped (stuck?) on snowbound Goshen Road. Note the trailing cars slowly making their way up the hill. Although no tire chains are in evidence, they might have been useful coming up that hill. Photo by Lewis Reed

1920 MD Dealers

Line of Dealer cars stopped on Goshen Road. The car at the rear appears to be getting a helping hand to change a flat tire. Photo by Lewis Reed

1920 MD Dealers

Dealer in a circa 1920 Oldsmobile stopped along Goshen Road outside Gaithersburg. Photo by Lewis Reed

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.

Who would dare go out in these conditions today without an AWD SUV and heated seats?


Peerless Rockville Newsletter Feature

It was 100 years ago in October 1915,  that Lewis Reed signed a franchise agreement with brothers Horace and John Dodge in Detroit. Since then, the business that Lewis Reed founded grew and transformed into Rockville’s oldest family-owned and operated Dodge dealership.

Last October, I was invited to write a feature article for the Winter issue of Peerless Rockville’s Newsletter highlighting the 100th anniversary of Reed Brothers Dodge. Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd. is an award-winning nonprofit, community-based organization founded in 1974 to preserve buildings, objects, and information important to Rockville’s heritage. Their official website can be found here.

Pictured below is page 3 of the newsletter of the Peerless Places series highlighting Reed Brothers Dodge. (click image to enlarge)

Peerless Rockville


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