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!
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”.
This special post is a part of the blog feature called, “Rockville’s Past Through the Lens of Lewis Reed”. I wanted to share these photographs, because they offer a visual history of a part of Rockville’s transportation past.
Traveling in snow was sometimes hazardous to trolley cars, as evidenced by this trolley which derailed the train tracks and plowed into a telephone pole at Montrose Road and Rockville Pike. Lewis Reed was there to capture the accident from two different perspectives using a five-by-four box camera which produced images on a glass plate.
In populated areas, street cars kept speeds to 12 mph (6 mph at intersections), but in open country they could get up to 40 mph.
This 1906 photograph taken by Lewis Reed depicts Rockville Maryland’s very first water tower. I wanted to share this photograph, because it offers a visual history for its role in the development of public utilities in the City of Rockville. My grandfather picked up the hobby of photography even before automobiles were around. He 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.
The pipestem tower was an element of the 1897 pumping station known as the “Rockville Electric Lights and Water Works,” located in Rockville Park and the future Croydon Park. In the 1890s, Rockville grew both as a resort and as a town. With substantial residential appeal, the need for services grew. In about 1899, Rockville got its first water tower at a cost of about $20,000. Its construction signaled the dawn of local municipal water service. Prior to the tower’s construction water in the city was primarily drawn from private wells. Concern for water quality in the 1880s led to the decision to develop a municipal system. The stand pipe was a typical shape for a water tower at the turn of the century. From this high point, water could be piped throughout the town. The chimney stack originally extended to a height of 50’, as documented in the Sanborn maps 1908, 1915.
Built in 1879, the Pump House at Croydon Park is a historic building in Rockville and the site of the first municipal water supply. Once known as the “Rockville Electric Lights & Water Works.” the building was the City’s first public water system and supplier of electricity for street lights and private homes.
Rockville High School was established in 1892, when the state Board of Education first allocated funds to local school to educate high school students. In the first State report of school statistics nine years later, the Rockville school was listed as enrolling 47 pupils. The first 12 graduates received their diplomas from “Rockville High School” in 1897.
A new high school was constructed and opened for use in September 1905 on East Montgomery Avenue and Monroe Street. An addition was built in 1917, expanding the school to 19 classrooms. The school was renamed Richard Montgomery High School 1935.
Source: Richard Montgomery HS – MSA