Offutt’s General Store, with a 1919 Dodge Truck Purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge Parked in Front

Offutt's General Store 1919

Offutt’s General Store, with a 1919 Dodge delivery truck purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge parked in front. Photo courtesy of Mary Offutt Stubbs, Edward Offutt’s daughter

Offutt’s General Store and filling station in the building that is now Hank Dietle’s Tavern on Rockville Pike.  Edward Offutt, a landowner, first constructed the building as a general store in 1916 selling groceries, animal feed, penny candy, food and drinks, according to Montgomery County Historical Society records.

The building was constructed in 1916, and first housed a general store, with two gas pumps outside. It was owned and operated by Edward Offutt; he and his family lived in a house next door. The actual bar in the tavern predates the building. In the 1940s, a fire destroyed the original bar. So, the owner at the time — prior to Hank Dietle — traveled to Baltimore to buy a “new” bar. He found one about 100 years old and it was sawed down to fit where it sits today. Tony Huniak, who began going to the tavern in the 1970s, purchased Dietle’s in the 1990s to save the neighborhood bar from closing.

The photo of the original Offutt’s General Store shows a 1919 Dodge Screenside delivery truck purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge parked in front. Notice the screens on the side with roll up canvas covers. Commercial users of these units preferred Dodges because they had an all steel body. Four large visible pumps dispensing That Good Gulf Gasoline can be seen in front. Its Class D beer and wine license, numbered 001, was the first issued in Montgomery County Maryland after the end of Prohibition.

Dodge Brothers did not have a truck line, though Dodge would later be known for their trucks. Horace and John Dodge reluctantly agreed to develop a commercial vehicle in 1917 after their sales associates lobbied for a work truck that could be sold to small businesses that made deliveries of fruit, beer, and other goods. The result was a vehicle based on the first Dodge passenger car. The vehicle eventually became the screen-side Dodge business truck, with a thousand-pound payload, selling for $885.

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006.

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