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Then & Now: Thomas Hardware Store, Gaithersburg

Looking at old photographs is like peering through an open window back into history. Not only do they give you a sense of wonder from traveling back in time, but also a staggering feeling of awe from seeing just how much things have changed. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Google Maps street view image from today for “now”.

Thomas Hardware Store (THEN): This photo was taken by Lewis Reed when the first system of water mains and sewers were installed by the WSSC in Gaithersburg, circa 1926-1928. The store in the background is the Thomas Hardware Store, originally built and operated by Thomas Iraneous Fulks. The water pipes to be laid are resting by the side of the road. The child on the right in the photograph is Lewis Reed’s daughter, Mary Jane (Reed) Gartner.

T. I. Fulks was a businessman and farmer. He worked as a bookkeeper for the Gaithersburg Milling and Manufacturing Company and then opened a hardware store at 219 East Diamond Avenue.

Thomas Hardware Store Gaithersburg

Thomas Hardware Store, originally built and operated by Thomas I. Fulks. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1928

Thomas Hardware Store Location (NOW): The same view 90 years later.  The old hardware store is enclosed in the present brick building (Gaithersburg Rental Center) at 219 East Diamond Avenue.

Thomas Hardware Store

219 East Diamond Avenue today

Source: Gaithersburg: History of a City

 

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Then & Now: Gaithersburg B&O Railroad Station

This post is a continuation of a series of “Then & Now” images that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales from Lewis Reed’s Photo Collection alongside photographs of how they appear today.

Gaithersburg B&O Train Station (THEN): The station was originally built as the Gaithersburg B&O Railroad Station and Freight Shed in 1884, for the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). A freight house, which currently houses the Gaithersburg Community Museum, allowed farmers to easily ship their products. Over the years, the station buildings gradually fell into disrepair and by the 1960’s were slated for demolition. According to the Gaithersburg city website, they were purchased by the city from the Chessie Systems in 1984 and restored. The Station and Freight House have been listed in the National Register of Historical Places since 1978.

Gaithersburg Train Station

Gaithersburg B&O Railroad Station (looking north up the tracks), 1911. Photo by Lewis Reed

Gaithersburg B&O Train Station (NOW): The same view 107 years later. The station has limited hours but still serves as a ticket office for MARC train daily commuters going to and from Washington, DC. Amtrak trains rumble through Gaithersburg but this is no longer a scheduled stop on their routes. As many as 50 freight trains travel through Gaithersburg each day.

Gaithersburg B & O Railroad Station

Gaithersburg B&O Railroad Station today

Source: Maryland Historical Trust

Then & Now: Howard House Hotel, Ellicott City

This post is a continuation of a series of “Then & Now” images that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales from Lewis Reed’s Photo Collection alongside photographs of how they appear today.

Howard House Hotel (THEN): The Howard House Hotel, built in 1840, contained a bar and dining room in addition to 14 bedrooms. The hotel featured fine German cooking and was the first place in town to offer ice cream — which was made on Wednesdays only and was a real draw. The hotel and restaurant was a popular stop for mid-19th-century travelers headed west on the National Road, and a day-trip destination for urban dwellers. In the 1940s, the decorative wrought iron on its second-floor porch was sold for scrap metal for the war effort.

The trolley tracks on main street were originally part of the Catonsville and Ellicott City Electric Railway Company trolley line that shuttled passengers between Ellicott City and Baltimore from the late 1890s to the mid-1950s.

Howard House. Ellicott City, 1914.

Howard House Hotel Ellicott City, Maryland, circa 1914. Note the signs over the entrance read, “ICE CREAM” below it “OYSTERS” Photo by Lewis Reed

Howard House Hotel (NOW): The same view 105 years later, restored to its original grandeur as 10 “luxury” rental apartments which includes panel doors, moldings and much of the original woodwork.

Howard House Ellicott City

Howard House Apartments today

Then & Now: Reed Brothers Dodge 80 Years Ago

Reed Brothers Dodge and the surrounding area sure has changed a lot in its almost century-long history. You might not realize how much things have changed until you look back and see what it looked like in the past. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Google Maps street view image from today for “now”.

THEN: Aerial view showing Reed Brothers Dodge at its original location at the triangle close to 80 years ago. The connector street behind the dealership was later named “Dodge Street” commemorating Reed Brothers’ presence from 1914-1970. Photo taken by Lewis Reed from a Goodyear Blimp that came to the dealership in 1938 to promote tires.

Reed Brothers Dodge Aerial

Aerial view of entire original Reed Brothers dealership at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike, ca. 1940. A two-story house stands behind the dealership. Photo by Lewis Reed.

NOW: The color photograph below, is the dealership’s 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.

Reed Brothers Dodge location 2018

Reed Brothers Dodge original location at the triangle today. Google Image Capture, 2018

New Blog Feature: Then & Now

Then & Now

Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me, and with a newfound interest in history, it occurred to me that with the vast number of historical photographs in Lewis Reed’s Collection, that this blog would be a great place to feature a series of Then & Now photography. I started doing this about a year ago as a research tool, now I mostly do it because of my passion for history and fascination with the subject. With that in mind, I will occasionally be spotlighting some “Then & Now” images from his collection that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales alongside photographs of how they appear today.

Some of the historic locations in this series includes the Smithsonian, Capitol, Union Station, Old Post Office, Library of Congress, Raleigh Hotel, Key Bridge and other important sites in and around the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area. There are also photographs of many non-Maryland locations including the historic landmark “Lucy the Elephant”, Gettysburg Battlefield, Mount Vernon, Pennsylvania Monument and United States Regulars Monuments under construction, and Quebec Bridge (the 8th Wonder of the World).

I have no formal history training, just a general interest in local history where I grew up. I will not try to be an historian; I will post one of Lewis Reed’s photographs matched with a corresponding contemporary shot of the same area, and supply a few sentences of context. All of them will in some way will offer a visual history of how things have changed over the years. I look forward to sharing them with you.

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