About This Collection:
Since I started this blog, I have had the opportunity to look through my grandfather’s extensive collection of photographs from historical locations not only in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia, but all across the country. It occurred to me that with the vast number of photographs in his albums, that this blog would be a great place to highlight them.
With that in mind, the Reed Photo Collection (1903-1916) spotlights the photographs that I have been able to research and identify. There are 45+ blog posts within this section that gives a snapshot of what life was like more than 100 years ago. Highlights include the Black Rock Mill, Rockville Water Tower, Andrew Small Academy, Montgomery County Police Department, Frederick & Rockville Fairs, Trolley Cars, Wright Brothers Airplane, and Rockville High School. Especially stunning are images of the aftermath of the 1936 Gainesville Georgia tornado, one of the deadliest tornadoes in American history. Many of Lewis Reed’s photos on this blog have never been published and can be viewed here for the first time. I look forward to sharing them with you.
Click here to take a look back in time and explore the lives of those who have gone before us.
Note: All images are scanned from prints made from Lewis Reed’s original glass plate negatives. Glass plate negatives were in common use between the 1880s and the late 1920s. No touch-up or alteration has been done, in order to retain their historical essence.
Have you ever come across a picture that you had to look at twice just to make sure you were not crazy? Well I have… and the photo above is one of them. When I came across this photograph in Lewis Reed’s album, I had to look at it several times to make sure I was not “seeing things”. There is something surprising in this photograph, and when I finally figured out what it was, it put a big smile on my face.
Can you spot the unusual object in this photo?
OK, give up?
One of the many things I admired about my grandfather was his sense of humor.
I was doing some online research and stumbled upon the Kensington (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Department’s web page. Their history is quite amazing, actually. Especially when I realized that their first truck was purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge. It was not a complete truck when purchased, however.
From the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department’s “History” webpage: 1922 was the birth of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department. With little money, a Dodge truck was purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville. A custom fire body was then built and fitted on the truck by Jacobs Brothers in Gaithersburg who ran the Wheelwright Shop on East Diamond Avenue. To raise money, the volunteers held carnivals. The Fire Department incorporated in 1925, and two years later moved into a permanent home in the basement of the National Guard Armory.
Lewis Reed later became a charter member and President (Feb.1933 – Feb 1937) of the Gaithersburg – Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department.
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 special post is a collection of early dirt track race photos that were taken by Lewis Reed at the Rockville Fair in the early 20th century. Held by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society (1846-1932) in Rockville, Maryland, the fair was known simply as the “Rockville Fair.” The fair’s oval dirt track was used for bicycles, harness races and later, cars.
Since the mid-19th century, an annual county fair was held in Montgomery County for four days in the month of August. Families came in wagons and carriages to the Rockville Fairgrounds and stayed for the duration. Like many fairgrounds, the Rockville Fairgrounds included an oval track. Fairground race tracks, typically one-mile or half-mile dirt racing ovals with wide, sweeping curves and grandstands for spectators, were easily adapted for bicycles, harness racing, and the sport of car racing.
Early action shots like these were difficult to take and are fairly rare, however, all of the photographs below were taken by Lewis Reed at the Rockville Fairgrounds in the early 1910-1920s. 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. As always, click the photos to get a better look.
Harness racing was one of the main attractions, but after the introduction of the automobile in the early 20th century, auto races took over…
The photos below depict auto races at the Rockville fairgrounds. The photo of a harness race above was taken from approximately the same vantage point as the auto race below, which you don’t see very often in pictures from that era.
Below is a 1923 Washington Post ad for an auto race at the Rockville Fair.
A football field was designed within the oval of the old Fair racetrack in 1946.