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Category Archives: Gasoline stations

A Van Fleet and Durkee Shell Gasoline Station – Woodlite Headlamps


Van Fleet, former assistant sales manager for the General Petroleum Corporation in Los Angeles, and W. P. Durkee, Jr., who was the district manager for General, organized their own chain of gasoline stations in 1929 in Southern, California. The Van Fleet and Durkee station  seen here was one of them and it was located at West 7th Street and South Park View Street, in Los Angeles, California.

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  • William G. Wood’s Woodlite headlamp patent drawings

The stations handled Shell Gasoline, and it appears that the subject of this set of photos may have been a line of car care products by the Jay Manufacturing Co., which the gentlemen in the photos are holding. In true California PR fashion, the 1929 images used a Chrysler with a set of Woodlite headlamps for a little bit of extra sparkle. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

More information covering William G. Woods attractive Woodlite lamps can be found here, along with his patent application that was granted on February 28, 1928. Dim, Yet Brilliant, Too by David LaChance at HMN will also give you more background information on the popular lamps.


Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Gasoline stations | Tagged , , , , , |

The Reed Brothers – Selling Dodge’s for Ninety-Four Years, Part II

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  • The forth update to the showroom and gas station, during the mid-thirties

In Part I of the Reed Brothers Dodge story, we covered the changes the Rockville, Maryland dealer had gone through from its start in 1915 to 1930. To bring things up-to-date with the manufacturer, the Dodge Brothers name was changed in 1930 to Dodge, and the company started offering both six and eight cylinder cars for the first time.

Even though times were tough during the Great Depression, the Reeds were doing well enough to finance yet another face lift and renovation; the front of the gas station and the canopy was remodeled as shown above during the mid-thirties. You can take look at the earlier photos in Part I here for a comparison.

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  • A new Parts and Service Department facility was built in the mid-thirties

After years of hard work that also helped to establish an excellent reputation, once again the Reed’s needed to expand. At about the same time as the gas station was remodeled, the car dealer split up the sales and parts and service operations by constructing a new building; it was located nearby at the intersection of Dodge Road and the Rockville Pike.

At this point, eight new cars and trucks were being sold each month, along with a number of used car sales. Many purchases at the time, as had been the custom for years in the automobile business, were still initiated at a prospect’s home or job site; as many of the customers were farmers, the Reed’s had an active team of salesman in place who called on prospects right on their property.

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  • 1953 demolition of the gasoline station and showroom

After the war when new car production started back up, and the firm once again had new cars and trucks to sell, it continued to grow. By 1953 both more modern facilites and more room were needed once again. The photo above shows the demolition of the old service station and car salesroom to make room for a new free standing Gulf Service Station and a new showroom.

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  • Lewis Reed and James Gartner, Salesman, 1961

The photo above, and the left and center photos below show the new buildings that were constructed during 1953. The parts and service department seen below right, was also enlarged in the post-war years. Lewis Reed still going strong in 1961 can be seen above in front of the new car showroom. At this point, we are going to end the story here on The Old Motor as it continues on into the modern era beyond the time frame that we cover here.

You can pick up the rest of the story with Reed Brothers Dodge celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1965 and continuing on to its end of selling Dodges in 2009, ninety-four years after it first started in 1915, at Reed Brothers Dodge History.

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Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Auto photos 1946 - 1965, Garages and Dealerships, Gasoline stations | Tagged , , , , , , |

The Reed Brothers – Selling Dodge’s for Ninety-Four Years, Part I

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  • The Rockville Garage at Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike in 1915

This is the first part of a series covering Reed Brothers Dodge, which was located in Rockville, Maryland. It became a franchised agency in 1915, shortly after the Dodge Brothers started producing their own car, late in 1914 after years of producing components and parts for Henry Ford for use in his Model “T” Ford. The dealership continued on to sell the Dodge for ninety-four years until 2009 when Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and eliminated twenty-five percent of their franchised dealers.

The top photo shows the Rockville Garage where Lewis Reed got his start by becoming a partner with Robert L. and Griffith Warfield in 1915. Previously Lee Ricketts and Sons who ran the local Overland Agency, used the building until selling it to the Warfield brothers in July 1915. The Rockville Garage continued to operate under this name until Lewis Reed bought out his partners in 1918, and his brother Edgar Reed joined him at the time. The Oldsmobile and Hudson were also sold out of the Garage for a period of time.

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Two photos above show the building in 1917 after a two-story addition. Texaco gasoline was sold at the time, and a company tanker can be seen in the yard delivering a load. Dodge Brothers signs can now be seen on the original building and the second floor of the new addition, which was used for storing parts. The center photo shows the crew working there at the time posing with a touring car. The right-hand photo shows the new addition and the signage for Firestone Tires that replaced the Fisk brand that was sold there earlier.

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  • The Rockville Garage displaying their 1918 models at the Rockville Fair

The photo below shows the Reed Brothers dealership when a new storefront, signage and a gasoline pump island were added in 1922. It appears that, at the time, the original part of the garage was converted into a new car showroom and the service operation was moved out into the rear portion of the building.

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  • A new storefront and a gasoline pump island added in 1922

The left hand photo below shows Chief Charles Cooley and the members of the first motorcycle unit of the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Force, posing out in front of the showroom on July 4, 1922 with the outfits Harley-Davidson machines. The right hand photo below, taken in the later-twenties shows that a canvas awning has been added to the front of the showroom, and three of the are crew are seen posing with Dodge Commercial Cars.

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More progress and changes can be seen in the photo below taken in the late-twenties. A second story was added to the showroom with a glazed front looking out onto the Rockville Pike on the right. A modern drive-through canopy was also added along with new gasoline pumps and Dodge Car and Truck signage.

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  • New showroom, canopy and gasoline pumps added in the late-twenties

A close-up view can be seen below of the new gasoline pump-island with four pumping units along with the motor oil dispensers used at that time. The old pump island can be seen to the left along with a new Gulf Gasoline sign.


In looking through all of the Reed Brothers photos and reading the details about the dealership’s growth, it puts into perspective how they and many others prospered in the business at the time. After the automobile had become accepted into the daily lives of many by the early teens’, the Motor Trade was a good means of a livelihood until the dark days of the Great Depression set in. We will come back to this story at the beginning of the nineteen-thirties soon.

Posted in Auto photos 1885 - 1920, Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Garages and Dealerships, Gasoline stations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |