Tag Archive | oldest dodge dealer

8 Years, 353 Posts & Thank You

8 Years

This month marks the 8-year anniversary of this blog. It’s been an honor to share the history of Reed Brothers Dodge – whether you’ve read our blog, followed us on Twitter, or “liked” us on Facebook. I would like to thank all of you who have visited, followed, shared, or commented on this blog, and many others, for their kind words and the visibility they have provided.

Here’s a look back at the last year.

What People are Saying Around Facebook:

“Amazing blog and postings. I spent sometime reviewing your site and found it both fascinating and interesting.”
“I am thankful for the documentation this site provides with images of a beloved hometown that can no longer be seen.”
“Love seeing the old photos.”
“This is soooo cool! Someone needs to do one of those historical books of Historical Rockville photos!”
“These photos are absolutely awesome!!!”
“Thank you so much for sharing! This is classic Montgomery County info.”
“That was so cool reading all your memory posts. Best thing I’ve read on FB in a while.”
“I love seeing these old photos and reading the history. Thank you.”
“Thank you for this history. There is so much we take for granted.”

Past Lectures:

2019 Montgomery County History Conference: Each year in January, the Montgomery County Historical Society holds a day-long conference on various aspects of local history. Upwards of 200 people attend this annual event, which has been held since 2007. Last year, I was very honored for the invitation to speak about the history of Reed Brothers Dodge at the Montgomery County History Conference on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

The PowerPoint presentation followed the dealerships 97-year historic timeline and included more than 100 photographs, 70 of them rare, historic images taken by the dealership’s founder, Lewis Reed. The conference was held at the Bioscience Education Center on Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus.

2019 Montgomery History Conference

Montgomery History Speakers Bureau: Officially added to the Montgomery History Speakers Bureau. My topic is, of course, The History of Reed Brothers Dodge“. It is my great honor to join the talented league of speakers at Montgomery History, and I sincerely look forward to sharing our 97-year family business history throughout Montgomery County and the greater Washington D.C. metro area.

Montgomery History Speakers BureauKensington Park Retirement Community Talk: Gave a presentation as part of Montgomery History’s Speakers Bureau at Kensington Park Retirement Community. Approximately 25 residents from the Woodlands Assisted Living facility attended. Such a joy me sharing, their listening, and appreciating the time spent together. Thanks to Activities Director Kate Moeller who invited me to speak.

Woodlands Assisted Living

Kensington Park Woodlands Assisted Living

Montgomery History Tuesday Talks: Montgomery History’s lunchtime lecture series, Tuesday Talks, takes place at noon on the first Tuesday of every month at the historic Beall-Dawson House in Rockville, Maryland. Enjoy presentations covering various aspects of history including local history of Montgomery County and the history of those who once lived here.

Montgomary History Tuesday Talks

Online Exhibit: Montgomery County, 1900-1930: Through the Lens of Lewis Reed Lewis Reed’s photographs are now a part of a series of online exhibitions featured on the Montgomery History website. Montgomery County, 1900-1930: Through the Lens of Lewis Reed displays extraordinary photographs in several themed categories (Transportation, Photo-magic, Recreation, & Daily Life) taken at the beginning of the 20th century by county native and founder of Reed Brothers Dodge, Lewis Reed. It is an absolutely unique window into how the people of Montgomery County lived over a century ago. Working in collaboration with Montgomery History Librarian and Archivist, Sarah Hedlund, I am proud to play a part in the preservation of local history, making these photographs available to all.

Through the Lens of Lewis Reed online exhibitI appreciate all of you for your continued support and making Reed Brothers Dodge History one of the places you visit during the course of your day.

Thank you

Then & Now: Rockville Garage 102 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: This photo is a 1918 view of the original Rockville Garage two-story addition. The first floor housed the Service Department and upper floor was used for parts storage. The chimney was probably to a coal furnace that was used to heat the building. The many windows allowed natural light for working on cars. Signage for Firestone Tires replaced the Fisk brand that was sold at Rockville Garage earlier in 1915.
Rockville Garage 1918

1918 two-story addition to original Rockville Garage. View from side on Rockville Pike.

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.
Veterans Park

Rockville Garage (Reed Brothers Dodge) original location at the triangle today. Google Image Capture, 2019

 

49 Years Ago Today: 55th Anniversary and Grand Opening

Reed Brothers Dodge Grand OpeningToday marks 49 years since the Grand Opening of Reed Brothers Dodge new showroom and service facility. When the state widened the roads in 1970, Lee Gartner purchased 4.37 acres of land from Eugene Casey and relocated Reed Brothers Dodge to a new state-of-the-art showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex on Route 355 at 15955 Frederick Road in Rockville Maryland.

55th Anniversary

Turning out to honor the company were several hundred dignitaries, officials, businessmen and friends. The new building, a complete automotive sales and service facility marked Reed Brothers 55th year of selling Dodge’s. The state-of-the-art dealership contained the newest customer-focused features throughout which combined technology and comfort.

Reed Brothers Dodge 55th Anniversary

The new dealership provided a modern new vehicle showroom, 30 service bays, a comprehensive detail and car wash area, Parts Department, Body Shop, the newest technologies to service customer’s vehicles and provided customers with a convenient location to purchase and service their vehicle needs.

Reed Brothers Dodge New location

Design and construction of the new dealership was managed by the Glen Construction Company.

Reed Brothers Dodge

Happy Birthday to Lewis Reed, Founder of Reed Brothers Dodge

Lewis Reed

This ca. 1965 photo of Lewis Reed was taken in the new car showroom at Reed Brothers Dodge original location at the triangle at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike.

Lewis Reed was born in Darnestown, Maryland on November 25, 1887 and was the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge. When Lewis Reed opened his car dealership in October 1915, he never knew he was starting a family tradition that would be carried out for 97 years and three generations. He founded what would become the oldest Dodge dealership under the same family ownership in the state of Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.

Lewis Reed was just 27 years old when he started selling cars built by brothers Horace and John Dodge in Detroit. Few people jumped onto the Dodge Brothers bandwagon earlier than Lewis Reed, and not many have lasted longer. Reed Brothers was franchised as a Dodge dealership and service facility less than one year after the first Dodge automobile rolled off the assembly line.

Lewis Reed was the first to sell Dodge cars in Montgomery County, Maryland and his company was the first Gulf gas dealer in the Washington, D.C. area. During the early years, Reed Brothers represented several franchise nameplates along with Dodge, including Oldsmobile, Hudson and Essex. The Hudson and Oldsmobile were sold at Reed Brothers from roughly 1917 through 1923.

Before becoming interested in automobiles, Lewis Reed was one of the original employees of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, a Georgetown-based manufacturing firm that eventually became International Business Machines, Inc. He received his automotive training at the Pierce-Arrow factory in Buffalo, New York, the Dodge Hamtramck and Hudson Motor Car factories in Detroit, Michigan and the Washington Auto College.

A Charter Member and Past President of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Lewis Reed was also a member of the advisory board of the Rockville branch of the First National Bank of Maryland, and belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Rockville, the Pentalpha Chapter of the Eastern Star, and the Rockville Rotary Club.

At his death on January 28, 1967 at the age of 79, the Senate of Maryland passed Senate Resolution No. 10, expressing “the deepest regret and sympathy of every member of this body,” describing Reed as “a kindly and loyal person completely devoted to his duties” which he carried out “with fairness and human understanding.” The resolution was sponsored by Senator Thomas M. Anderson, Jr. and Senator Louise Gore.

Dodge StreetWhen you look back and consider what has taken place in the world in the past 100 years or so, you gain a perspective of what Lewis Reed faced. He overcame a lot of obstacles throughout his life. He steered his dealership through World War I, The Great Depression and World War II. When Reed Brothers had no new cars to sell for three and a half years and many dealers went bankrupt, he converted his car showroom into a display room and sold GE washing machines and other appliances. Reed Brothers Dodge occupied two locations, the original at the Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike intersection and the second at 15955 Frederick Road in front of the Shady Grove Metro.

Lewis Reed set an outstanding example through his success, but more importantly through his sacrifices and commitment to the community he served. Today, Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments pays homage to the oldest Dodge dealership in Maryland with commemorative art on the former site of the iconic Reed Brothers dealership.

Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments

Bainbridge Shady Grove Metro Apartments now stands on the former site of the Reed Brothers Dodge dealership at 15955 Frederick Road. But a sculpture now installed on the property pays tribute to the oldest Dodge dealership in Maryland history. More than 20 feet high, and over 6 feet wide, the public art is inspired by 1939 Dodge headlamps, and the fender of a 1957 Dodge pickup truck.

 

The Dodge Brothers First Car

First Dodge car

Horace Dodge (left, rear) and John Dodge (right, rear) take delivery of the first Dodge automobile on Nov. 14, 1914.

One hundred and five years ago on this date –November 14, 1914 — the very first Dodge car, “Old Betsy”, rolled off the assembly line. On that day, the Dodge Brothers (Horace and John) were photographed riding in the rear seat of the first car to bear their last name. It cost $785, had a 110-inch wheelbase, and was powered by an L-head 4-cylinder engine that proved so reliable it was continued until 1920 with very little modification. Total production for 1914 was a mere 249 touring cars. The following year. Dodge offered a two-passenger roadster which also sold for $785 and the plant went into full production.

According to “The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy” by Charles K. Hyde, here’s the full story:

The widely accepted history of the initial production of early Dodge Brothers automobiles in November 1914 is at odds with much of the evidence about the earliest Dodge Brothers cars. Automotive historians have thought that the first production car, later named “Old Betsy,” came off the assembly line at the Hamtramck factory on 14 November 1914. Guy Ameel, superintendent of final assembly for Dodge Brothers since the start of automobile production, served as John and Horace’s chauffeur that day. With the brothers in the back seat, Ameel stopped the first Dodge Brothers car in front of John Dodge’s mansion on Boston Boulevard in Detroit and a photographer recorded this important moment.

“Old Betsy” was more likely an experimental prototype car assembled several months before 14 November 1914 and not a production car at all…

Horace and John Dodge

The Dodge Brothers

The Dodge Brothers began an aggressive advertising campaign to promote their new automobiles and to attract potential dealers to sell their cars. Few people jumped onto the Dodge Brothers bandwagon earlier than Lewis Reed, and not many have lasted longer.

Lewis Reed received his franchise to sell Dodge Brothers Motor Cars from John and Horace Dodge; less than one year after the first Dodge Model-30 rolled off the assembly line for $785. He was just 27 years old. Since then, the business grew and transformed into the oldest Dodge dealership in Maryland history and one of the oldest in the entire nation.

%d bloggers like this: