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.

Reed Brothers Becomes an Original Member of Chrysler

1930s Chrysler radiator "ribbon" emblem

1930s Chrysler radiator “ribbon” emblem

May 28, 1928 marks an important milestone in the history of Chrysler.  It was on this day in 1928 that Dodge Brothers, Horace and John Dodge, became a part of Chrysler. It was on this same date that Lewis Reed, founder of Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland also became an original member of the Chrysler family.

During 1920, the Dodge Brothers company lost its founding fathers. John Dodge died in January, and his younger brother Horace succumbed the following December. A New York investment banking firm paid the brothers’ widows, in a single cash payment, $146 million for the Dodge Brothers firm. Within three years, the bankers initiated negotiations, and on May 28, 1928, Walter P. Chrysler purchased Dodge Brothers, Inc. for $170 million, making it, at the time, the largest business transaction in history. When the transaction was complete, the Chrysler Corporation had grown five-fold overnight to become the third of Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers.

The first Plymouth was built in 1928 and Plymouths were sold at Reed Brothers until 1969, when the Plymouth brand was given to the Chrysler dealers.

Darnestown Presbyterian Church Dedicated On This Day in 1858

Darnestown Presbyterian Church

Darnestown Presbyterian Church Circa early 1900s. Photo by Lewis Reed

This special post doesn’t have anything to do with Reed Brothers Dodge, but it does have a lot to do with it’s founder, Lewis Reed.

In 1855, the Darnestown Presbyterian Church, which is located at the corner of Turkey Foot and Darnestown Roads, was founded by the generous donation of three acres of land by John Dufief. The church was constructed of stone which was hauled from the local quarry by the men of the congregation. The completed church was dedicated on this day, May 22, 1858. The iron fence along the cemetery at the back of the church was taken from the Rockville Courthouse.

Then, in the late 1860s, Andrew Small, a friend of the Church, granted sums of money to be used to building the parsonage (1868) and to establish and build a private academy (1867). The church was renovated in 1897 and then again in 1953.

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.

Sources:
Darnestown Presbyterian
Maryland State Archives

Lewis Reed Photo to Appear in PBS Documentary

Rare peak of the inside of an early 1920’s trolley car taken by Lewis Reed, a well-known photographer in Montgomery County, as well as owner and founder of Reed Brothers Dodge of Rockville, Maryland.

The photo will be featured on PBS “American Experience” documentary, The Great War a three-night event exploring how World War I transformed America starting Monday, April 10 on PBS. The trolley image is in Episode 3, Wednesday night, between 38-40 minutes into the show. From 1900-1935, the trolley cars – or street cars, as they were also known – went past Reed Brothers Dodge as they traveled up Rockville Pike. Major stops along the line included Georgetown, Alta Vista, Bethesda, Montrose, Halpine, the Fairgrounds, Courthouse Square, and Chestnut Lodge. Panels for advertising line the edge of the ceiling on both sides of the trolley. Instead of AC, the interiors were cooled with wooden ceiling fans. (click on image to enlarge)

The print was originally made from a glass negative, an early photographic technique which was in common use between the 1880s and the late 1920s. The early 1900s were considered by many to be the golden era of early photography, because of its new availability to the public and somewhat simplified production methods. Many of Lewis Reed’s early photographs are now part of the Montgomery County Historical Society photo archives.

1920s Trolley interior

Rare peak of the inside of a 1920’s trolley car and passengers featured in PBS documentary “The Great War”. Photo taken by Lewis Reed

PBS The Great War

Screen shot of credits from The American Experience series, “The Great War” on PBS

Reed Brothers Dodge Featured in Montgomery Magazine

Reed Brothers Dodge, Montgomery MagazineReed Brothers is very proud and honored to be featured in the month of April/May 2017 Montgomery Magazine, historic landmarks “Then & Now” section.  The black and white photograph above is Reed Brothers Dodge located at its original location in Old Rockville at the triangle at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike – close to 100 years ago – with “That Good Gulf” gasoline drive-through filling station and Dodge Brothers Motor Car and Graham Brothers Truck signage. The Alemite sign in front indicates that Reed Brothers also sold and used the Alemite lubricating system.

In 1918, the Gulf Refining Co. adopted a brick and tile roof station with canopy supported by four brick columns covering two front driveways. “That Good Gulf” was one of the Company’s marketing slogans for a number of years during the twenties and thirties. The second story was added to the showroom with a glazed front looking out onto Rockville Pike on the right. The photo was taken by Lewis Reed in the late 1920s. Note the unpaved dirt road on Rockville Pike and trolley tracks running past the dealership. (click on images to enlarge)

Reed Brothers Dodge, Montgomery MagazineThe color photograph above, 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.

Montgomery Magazine is a lifestyle magazine, with timely articles on county leaders, entertainment, sports, neighborhood and restaurant profiles, entrepreneurs, historic landmarks then and now, plus seasonal special sections of local interest.

Find the issue online at: http://www.montgomerymag.com/MM_Newsletters.html

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