This blog entry is posted today to commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 94 years ago on July 4, 1922 that the MCPD was first established. In those days, Montgomery County was farm country, sparsely populated, automobiles sharing dirt roads with horse-drawn wagons. But it was changing into a proper suburb, and there needed to be a police department.
Posing in front of Reed Brothers Dodge on July 4, 1922 Chief Charles Cooley, center, and his men of the first mounted unit of the Montgomery County Police Force, were on their first day of duty. (click image to enlarge)
The MCPD consisted of five officers and a Chief. Each of the officers was issued a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun, a black jack, law book and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motorcycle.
Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me. Since I started this blog, I have had the opportunity to look through my grandfather’s extensive collection of photographs from locations all across the country. The majority of his photos are more than 100 years old and, unfortunately, are lacking labels and/or dates, which requires quite a bit of research and a little photo detective work on my part. Adding up the clues can help solve the mystery, date, and help identify the images. Google sometimes surprises me with its capabilities.
The below previously unpublished photos (dated 1909) from Lewis Reed’s album are what appears to be some of the early machines that helped build America. Steam traction engines, or steam rollers and road locomotives as they were sometimes called, were the predecessor to today’s modern farm tractor. They could plow, they could haul, and you could put a big belt on the fly wheel and drive a saw mill; whatever you wanted to do. They were also used as a transportable power source. The engines would normally run on coal, wood, or even straw, or whatever would build a fire. The photos shown here were dated 1909.
As a Michigan farm boy, Henry Ford recorded his first sight of a traction engine: “I remember that engine as though I had seen it only yesterday, for it was the first vehicle other than horse drawn that I had ever seen. It was intended to drive threshing machines and power sawmills and was simply a portable engine and a boiler mounted on wheels.” It was the steam traction engine that inspired Ford to design and manufacture automobiles.
A portable engine is a type of self-contained steam engine and boiler combination that may be moved from site to site. Although bearing a strong family resemblance, in both appearance and (stationary) operation, the portable engine is not classed as a traction engine as it is not self-propelled.
Steam Road Roller: This take-off of the steam traction engine was designed specifically for road building and flattening ground mimicking today’s modern rollers used for compacting road surfaces. A single, heavy roller replaced the front wheels and axle and a smoother rear wheels replaced larger wheels without strakes. (strake – name for the diagonal strips cast into or riveted onto the wheel rims to provide traction on unmade ground).
Photos cannot convey the raw power of a steam tractor: the way its pistons, valves, gears, and wheels are locked in constant motion. You really have to see this machinery in action.
Watch video of a 1916 Case steam engine tractor power a sawmill.
Along with St. Mary’s Church (1813), King Farm (1925), Red Brick Courthouse (1891), and the B&O Railroad Station (1873), Reed Brothers Dodge (1915) has been designated as a “Peerless Place” by Rockville’s Historic Preservation organization.
Today, the former location of Reed Brothers Dodge is occupied by the Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments, and they, like Peerless, remain committed to preserving a part of the city’s automotive heritage by paying homage to a century of history at the new residential complex.
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. Peerless Rockville advances its goals through education, example, advocacy, and community involvement.
Peerless Places have become Rockville’s special places. They provide us all with a flavor and scale that is at once historic, personal, comforting, and viable.
On May 14, 2009, Chrysler left 789 dealerships, about a quarter of its dealer base, out in the cold by rejecting their franchise agreements and giving them about a month to sell all their remaining new cars, factory parts and service equipment. After almost 95 years selling Dodges, Reed Brothers was one of the 15 dealerships in Maryland and 789 dealerships nationwide notified by Chrysler that their franchise agreement would not be renewed.
Here is a timeline on how Chrysler crashed:
Walter P Chrysler purchased the Dodge company and swiftly built a portfolio of auto brands including Plymouth and Chrysler. Within five years he was competing with Ford and General Motors.
After the 1973 energy crisis Chrysler’s range of big gas-guzzling cars and a couple of recalls left it with big problems. The legendary Lee Iacocca was hired in 1978. With the help of government loans, the former Ford executive rescued the firm and rebuilt it during the 1980s, buying Jeep along the way.
Iaccoca retired in 1992. In 1998 Chrysler merges with Daimler-Benz in a $37bn deal to become DaimlerChrysler, based in Germany. It was supposed to be a merger of equals, but Daimler was in the driving seat and Chrysler swiftly fell into losses.
February 13,000 job cuts announced. Daimler says its open to offers for Chrysler.
April Activist investor Kirk Kerkorian tables a bid for Chrysler.
May Daimler sells 80% of Chrysler to private equity group Cerberus for $7.4B. The German group retains a 20% stake.
October General Motors reported to be in merger talks with Chrysler. Nissan considers bidding for 20% of Chrysler to add to its alliance with Renault. Chrysler announces 5,000 job losses. Daimler says its 20% stake is worthless.
November Chrysler boss Bob Nardelli says the firm needs merger or bailout to survive. Sales down 35% in a year. GM asks US treasury department for $10bn so that it and Chrysler can merge. Cerberus demands $7B from Daimler to cover post-acquisition losses. German group says claims are baseless.
December The Senate refuses the bail-out. Chrysler says it is short of cash and likely to file for bankruptcy. All plants to close for a month. President George Bush finally approves a $13B rescue loan for the big three US carmakers.
January US government provides $4B cash. Chrysler reported to be in talks to sell assets, maybe the Jeep brand, to Renault. Fiat proposes taking 35% stake in return for access to technology and overseas distribution networks
March Nardelli backs Fiat plan to save jobs and asks government for another $5B. Obama gives Chrysler 30 days to do a deal with Fiat – or go bankrupt.
April Chrysler’s banks talk to US government about debt for equity swap
This photograph was taken by Lewis Reed on one of his many cross country road trips. The car is a 1935 Dodge Touring Sedan with Maryland Dealer license plates. Note the rear-hinged “Suicide Door” in the photo below. Cars of this era did not have seat belts, so there was nothing to hold a passenger in the car. The term “suicide doors” was therefore placed on vehicles with the rear-hinged door configuration, the theory being that the forward motion of the car could cause the door to fly open, possibly causing the unlucky person sitting next to the door to be pulled out of the car, or the door itself could be ripped from its hinges.