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.

22 Then & Now Photos to Show Just How Much Has Changed

Reed Brothers Dodge and the surrounding area sure has changed a lot in its almost century-long history. I thought it would be fun to revisit some locations using some of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and Google Maps street view images from today for “now” to see what differences are visible. Google Maps time-lapse tool lets you explore an area’s evolution as far back as 2007. Some views look remarkably similar, while others are completely unrecognizable. So, in no particular order, here is a collection of Reed Brothers “then and now” photographs taken between 1915 and today. (click images to enlarge)

The black and white photograph on the left is Lewis Reed’s original 1914 Rockville Garage located at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. In those days, many early car dealers grew out of existing garages. In  1914, Lewis Reed became a partner in the 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.

On the right, is a 1970 artist rendition of the new dealership. After 55 years at the original location at the triangle at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, Lee Gartner purchased 4.37 acres of land from Eugene Casey and relocated Reed Brothers Dodge to a new state-of-the-art showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex on Route 355 at 15955 Frederick Road in Rockville Maryland.

The black and white photograph above taken by Lewis Reed, is the dealership close to 80 years ago … and on the right is the same 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.

These photographs were taken on the corner of Route 355 at the intersection of King Farm Boulevard and Frederick Road. Reed Brothers Dodge stood at this location for more than 40 years. The photo on the left is a Google street view taken in April 2012 of Reed Brothers just before closing.

The dealership’s legacy continues to this day on the site of its former location on the right, which is now the Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments. A 20-ft sculpture that commemorates the dealership’s history sits prominently at the main entrance to the development and can be seen by thousands of daily commuters taking the Red Line from the Shady Grove Metro Station to Bethesda, Maryland and Washington, D.C.  The sculpture can be seen from some distance, especially at night, and now acts as a key landmark at the entrance to the Shady Grove Metro Station.

The black and white photograph above was taken by Lewis Reed in 1915 from the location of his Rockville Garage. Their first “gas station” consisted of a single pump which can be seen in the photo. The view is looking West on Main Street of Rockville showing an early Trolley car. From 1900 – 1935, the trolley cars went past Reed Brothers Dodge as they traveled up Rockville Pike. Also in the background is the old St Mary’s Cemetery. And on the right is the same view today, fondly known as “the mixing bowl.”

The “then” photo above was taken by Lewis Reed in 1953 at the corner of East Montgomery Ave and Dodge Street. It shows the new building for Reed Brothers Showroom, Parts and Service Departments. When the state of Maryland widened the roads in 1970, they named the connector street behind the dealership’s original location, “Dodge Street” because Reed Brothers Dodge was located there for so may years (1914-1970). The “now” photo on the right is a google maps image of the same location captured in 2016 … 64 years later.

Both of the “then & now” images above are Google Maps Street views taken 10 years apart. Reed Brothers Dodge in 2007 on the left and on the site of its former location, now the Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments.

The 1917 photo on the left is the original Rockville Garage located at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, 100 years ago. Note the unpaved dirt road on Rockville Pike and trolley tracks running past the Rockville Garage. Both photographs were taken by Lewis Reed on the Rockville Pike side of the dealership.

On the right, is the same location 50 years later of the Reed Brothers Dodge Gulf Gasoline station. Due to changes in the highway, Reed Brothers began an extensive remodeling and rebuilding program. Two-thirds of the original location at the junction of then Route 240 and Veirs Mill Road was razed and a modern Gulf Service Station was erected.

On the left is a mid-1960s view from the corner of Veirs Mill Road and Dodge Street showing the new building for Reed Brothers Service Department. On the right is a Google street view image of the same location today, 50 years later.

The photo on the left is a side view of the Rockville Garage two story addition to the original shop taken .. close to 100 years ago. The first floor housed the Service Department and upper floor was used for parts storage. The chimney was probably to a coal furnace that was used to heat the building. The many windows allowed natural light for working on cars. Signage for Firestone Tires replaced the Fisk brand that was sold at Rockville Garage earlier in 1915.

The photo on the right is a 1968 photo taken at the same location, some 50 years later.  Due to changes in the highway, two-thirds of the original location at the junction of then Route 240 and Veirs Mill Road was razed and a modern Gulf Service Station was erected.

The “beginning and the end” at 15955 Frederick Road: 1970 and 2013. The photo on the left is the new building in 1970 after the move from its original location at the triangle at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. The new building marked the dealership’s 55th year of selling Dodge’s.

On the right, is a photo that I took on May 16, 2013 of the vacant building on the day that demolition began.

The photograph on the left is a line of beige and baby blue cars all lined up in rows on the side lot. Across the road is King Farm with the big barn that said, “MILK FOR THOMPSON’S DAIRY” before it was transformed into a large-scale mixed use community. Lawson King’s dairy cows used to graze in the fields just a few feet from the roadway right across the road. At its peak, King Farm was the largest milk producer in the area and had been in agricultural use for nearly 75 years before it was approved for development in 1996.

On the right is a view from the same perspective taken in 2009… 30 some years later. In the background is the same big barn on the field that is now the new urban development known as King Farm.

Vintage Car Stuffing?

vintage car crammed with men

Photo by Lewis Reed

Ever want to see how sausage is made? Well, okay – maybe not… but this interesting photo taken by Lewis Reed some 100 plus years ago allows you to see how 18 men managed to cram themselves into a 1910-1911 Pierce Arrow Model 48 7-Passenger Touring. Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo, New York, produced some of the finest automobiles made and was one of the most popular high-quality cars of the time.

Unfortunately, no other details about the the photograph or the location is known. If anyone can identify the building in the background, please leave me a comment.


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!

Rockville 1912: Vinson’s Drug Store

Vinson's Drug Store 1912 Rockville

1912 – Vinson’s Drug Store, Rockville, Maryland. Photo by Lewis Reed

This 1912 photograph taken by Lewis Reed depicts Vinson’s Drug Store in downtown Rockville. This post is a part of the blog feature called, “Rockville’s Past Through the Lens of Lewis Reed”. 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. I wanted to share this photograph, because it offers a visual history of a part of Rockville’s past taken more than 100 years ago.

Previous to Edgar Reed’s enlistment in World War I, he had been employed as a clerk by R.W. Vinson Drug Store for eight years. In 1919, Edgar became a partner with his brother, Lewis Reed, in the firm Reed Brothers Dodge.

The drugstore was built in the 1880s and was run by Robert William “Doc” Vinson from 1900 until his death in 1958. A document on the Rockville website says the drugstore was also a popular gathering place for city politicians, and that President Woodrow Wilson once personally traveled there to buy Wolfhound tablets. The building was torn down in 1962, and replaced with an office building during Rockville’s “urban renewal”.

Source: County Seat to Satellite City of the Nations’ Capital: 1931


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